Library & REading
Our large and vibrant Library, also known as Powell's Learning Centre or the PLC, forms a valued central resource within the school, providing study and research facilities and many additional services for all pupils and staff. With over 10,000 carefully selected resources on a wide variety of subjects, we are sure there is something for everyone. We use Access-it Library Computer lending system which makes selecting and finding books very easy.
Pupils can use the library for quiet reading, studying and doing homework, researching, computer work or looking at magazines and newspapers.
We have a small number of Key Stage 3 Pupil Librarians who help the librarians at break and lunchtime. Pupils can apply to be a pupil librarian in September/ October.
All Year 7 pupils use the Accelerated Reader programme from Renaissance Learning; we have been using this application since 2014 and it continues to be very successful in raising pupil’s achievement in reading.
Accelerated Reader is a computer programme that helps us manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Each child selects a book at their own level, reads it at their own pace and takes a short quiz on the computer: passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what they have read. Feedback based on quiz results helps teachers and librarians to guide a pupil, to set goals and to direct ongoing reading practice. Pupils can be guided in choosing books at an appropriate reading level that is challenging without being frustrating.
Year 7 pupils currently have 30 minutes each week during Additional English lessons in which they can read independently and complete Accelerated Reader quizzes. The most successful pupils commit to read at least 20 minutes per day. Pupils are able to continue their reading during break times, lunchtimes and after school. In addition, we run a very popular AR Club for interested Year 7s during lunchtimes in the PLC - pupils should ask in the PLC for more information.
Since 2015 our Librarians have combined World Book Day with a Readathon, when pupils, generally in Years 7-10, are given the opportunity to spend half a day or whole day in our library, The PLC, reading. No lessons, just reading for the pleasure of reading! Reading and raising money through their Readathon for Read for Good, a local charity who provide books and stories for children in hospital across the country. It's a great opportunity for anyone who loves to read. Did you know that Deer Park is an Outstanding Readathon School? World Book Day in 2021 was during the third lockdown and so there was no Readathon but you can read here about what we organised for pupils.
"Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income."
Reading is breathing for the mind
Making time and space for reading can make SUCH a difference to us all, both mentally and physically.
Reading is a great way to relax. Did you know that reading has been shown to work better and faster to calm frazzled nerves than listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down with a cup of tea? Because the human mind has to concentrate on reading, the distraction eases the tensions in muscles and the heart. And so we feel more relaxed. Perhaps going for a walk and then, when back, sitting down to read, with a cup of tea, is the way to go!
When you read, not only do you reduce your stress levels, you also have the ability to escape from what immediately surrounds you. In addition, you learn more and become more able to understand others' beliefs, feelings and thoughts i.e. you become more empathetic.
We encourage EVERYONE, no matter your age, to read for at least 20 minutes each day.
Headteacher Chiquita Henson comments: 'Reading for 20 minutes or more each evening definitely helps me relax before going to sleep. The power of words never ceases to amaze me. I have been completely drawn into new worlds and experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I enjoy talking about books and delight in sharing recommendations.’
Recommended Reading Lists:
Our English Faculty has helpfully categorised their reading lists e.g. historical, dystopian, thriller, realistic, coming of age, and more. Download the lists by clicking on the images below and look for inspiration. How many of these books have you read or will you read this year?
Pupil and staff recent recommendations:
Facing the Frozen Ocean by Bear Grylls
Recommended read from a pupil who liked how it was full of suspense and adventure.
This is the true story about Bear Grylls, a famous British survival adventurer, and his dream of crossing the treacherous north Atlantic in an open inflatable boat. As you start to read this book you feel like you are one of the men on the mission. Bear Grylls tells his true story with such passion that you feel you are with him in that small little boat as waves keep on hitting your face.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Geography teacher, Miss Bluett says of this book: I picked this up for a quick look after a recommendation from a friend and 2 hours later was still reading! It is a powerful story of coping and letting go and just like Conor in the book I wasn't ready for the Monster's tales to end.
Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo
Many of our younger pupils enjoy books by Michael Morpurgo and ‘Born to Run’ seems to be a particular favourite. This story is about a greyhound who finds himself in difficult situations. However, he is continually rescued and makes new friends on his adventures.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Review by English teacher Mrs Voss.
I thought it was a uniquely told, inspiring tale of the lives of twelve women. Evaristo has weaved their stories together in an honest and original narrative which spans across generations. Winner of the Booker Prize 2019 and a fantastic read!
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Summary by English teacher Mrs Voss.
A heart-breaking story of a man who lived through one of the harrowing periods in living history. Ultimately a tale of survival and love amongst horror and suffering. Definitely worth a read.
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Mrs Voss, English teacher, says: A beautifully written tale of two different women living in two different generations. They share the love of one painting and the history behind it reveals a shocking truth. Moyes cleverly links the lives of these very different characters and uncovers some dark revelations about survival in a war-torn existence.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Review by English teacher Mrs Voss.
This was an excellent read. You are thrown into the world of a truly inspiring heroine who you cannot help but adore. Owens captures the unexpected beauty in the natural setting so beautifully. The mystery element to the novel makes it very difficult to put down - I thoroughly recommend this!
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
Recommendation from Librarian Mrs Burton.
A true story about a middle aged couple who are made homeless through no fault of their own. Raynor's husband Moth is diagnosed with a terrible untreatable illness. What do they decide to do? Pick up a tent , pack their rucksacks and walk the South West Coastal Path, wild camping and living on £48 a week.