World Book Day 2012: Celebrations in School, part 4

This is our last post today covering our World Book Day celebrations.  Our final contributors have informed us of more fascinating books which they have read.  I have learned a lot, in reading our submissions, about books that have now joined many others on my to-read list…

We start with Mr Pett’s choice:

” I discussed my book The Etymologicon, [by Mark Forsyth] which bemused my groups, I think. A worthwhile activity, I think.”  This sounds extremely interesting. As I delved a little deeper, I discovered that the book originates from Mark Forsyth’s Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words.  Must check this out further…

Continuing with the Classical Civilisation Department, Miss Bradley told me:

“I have taught Years 11, 9, 10 and 8 today and we spent at least 20 minutes talking about books. The girls shared their favourite title or a book that was special to them and why. I explained why I love [Tolkien’s] The Lord of the Rings. I read aloud to them an extract from The Return of the King and then showed them the equivalent scene from the film – we discussed which we preferred and whether the film was a good representation of the book. We also touched on how heavily influenced J K Rowling’s work is by Lord of the Rings and how the trilogy also has resonances of the historical time period in which it was written, between 1939 – 1947.

I then read aloud an extract from Book 9 of the Odyssey by Homer to some classes to show how words that were written nearly 3000 years ago can still resonate today.”  Wonderful stuff!  I wonder whether the girls preferred the book or the film and if they did think the film was a good representation?  I love the idea that Homer’s ancient words are still relevant, more recommended reading…

Mrs Instone concludes this series with her reflections:

Read my classes a bit from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome about children having sailing adventures on the Norfolk Broads in the days of innocence when four children aged between 7 and 12 were allowed to camp on an island in the middle of the Broads without direct parental supervision for three days at a time.  They did have to report in to a local farmer to collect provisions and to leave a message for their mother that they were all right!  Oh for those days of innocence and freedom!

To the boys I also read a short extract from the latest Lee Child. All of his books have Jack Reacher , a Major in the American Military police,  as the central character. He gets into all manner of scrapes to right various wrongs in a singularly direct manner.  A good holiday read.”

I would like to thank all members of staff who have been in touch, sending in their experiences, it is a lovely thing to be able to do and to receive such positive comments.  They have shared their passion and it is very much appreciated.  I should also like to thank the children, whose responses have made the exercise worthwhile.


World Book Day 2012: Celebrations in School, part 1

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!