Here in Berkhamsted we celebrated World Book Day yesterday, Thursday 1st March, by participating in DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). We asked our teaching colleagues to share a favourite or current book with their classes, read an extract perhaps, and talk with students about why they are passionate about reading and what it means to them. We also asked non-teaching staff to share with us what they like to read and, similarly, to tell us why they enjoy it as a pastime. We have had some lovely responses so far and I’m hoping that more will get in touch. Please read what we’ve written and let us know what you think…
Let’s begin with Mrs Ferguson, Head of Art :
“I spoke to Year 11 boys, Year 13 artists and Year 10 boys about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I explained where my own love of reading sprang from – influenced by my mother (an avid reader) and a wonderful A-level English course, leading onto an English degree (I think some were quite surprised by this last fact!). I went on to talk about how I quite often discover new writers through their short stories and then go on to reading novels by the same writer, although with Marquez this was the other way round; the first book I read by him was Love in the Time of Cholera. I gave them a bit of biographical context and then the extract that I read out was from The Third Resignation – an early piece very much in the magical realist style and describing the first-hand experiences of a boy who is a living corpse kept by his family in a coffin. Judging from their faces, all the pupils I read this out to were suitably transfixed by what is a magnificently sensual evocation of a waking nightmare!”
Next we talked with Mrs Bailey, PA to the Head of Girls and Mrs Koulouris, one of our librarians:
“Just finished Me Before You Jojo Moyes! Fantastic book… Heart-wrenching, believable story line. If you don’t cry over this you haven’t got a heart”. Mrs Koulouris says that they didn’t cry over the same parts of the story but nonetheless both equally enjoyed it. She has just started Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers which is another lovely story.
Thirdly, Mr Binnie, a Chemistry teacher, contacted us saying:
“I read my Year 7 science class a small section of Stephen Hawking’s book The Grand Design. The passage included reference to multi universes existing which they found fascinating. They had loads of questions and asked about aliens, evolution and all sorts of stuff. I had an exciting practical prepared for them which they always enjoy so I asked them after 20 minutes of discussion whether they wanted to do the practical. About 75% wanted to continue with the discussion so we did and there were about 5 hands up at all times in the lesson and we talked about all aspects of science.
We did this for the whole hour lesson and they really enjoyed it and I did too.”
I find it so refreshing that teachers and staff from all areas have been in touch to talk about the pleasure gained from reading, whether it be fiction or non-fiction; books, newspapers or magazines, and the fact that staff and pupils alike borrow many books from here, is extremely satisfying!