This is the first of our monthly posts focusing in on Patron of Reading activity in different Haringey schools.
If reading levels drop off it’s not necessarily because year 8 students don’t want to read; it’s just as likely that they’re naturally losing interest in the kinds of reading they used to enjoy when they were younger but as yet they “don’t know what to try instead.”
A Doctor Writes…
Hi. I’m Sam Enthoven. The main thing I’ve been doing as Patron of Reading at Alexandra Park School is my Book Doctor Sessions – short one-to-one appointments with students during which we talk about what kinds of interests that particular young person has, after which I ‘prescribe’ a book that I think they might enjoy…
For my most recent day of these, APS staff and I made some changes. I brought a stack of books with me from home to give each appointment some extra focus. The appointments were longer, too: twenty minutes, up from fifteen previously. This meant I could see fewer students, but it did make each talk much less rushed and pressured, resulting in some fascinating discussion.
Several of APS’ year 8 students confirmed a theory of mine – that this age is a transition period in reading as much as other things. If reading levels drop off it’s not necessarily because year 8 students don’t want to read; it’s just as likely that they’re naturally losing interest in the kinds of reading they used to enjoy when they were younger but as yet they “don’t know what to try instead.”
I hope I helped.
“We wanted to thank you for such a fabulous session yesterday. One of the students you saw, C., came into the library this morning asking about our books with political and historical themes in. I think your observation that year 8 students’ reading habits/ conventions/ tastes are on the cusp of change was really acute. I’ve noticed in the past that many year 8 students who suddenly stop engaging in reading do pick it up again in later years – presumably, because they have re-evaluated their interests. Your ‘book doctoring’ really has made those selected students think about what they are interested in and would like to read, rather than follow the ‘reading crowd’. Many, many thanks for inspiring our year 8s.” APS Librarian Sonia Constantinou.
We’re planning another Book Doctor visit now. I’m looking forward to it. 😀