Telephone 01728 860213
E-Mail office@debenhamhigh.co.uk
Postcode IP14 6BL

Debenham High School

Debenham High School

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Encouraging Reading for All

The Learning Resource Centre leads on a number of key methods to encourage all members of our community to develop and further a love of reading.

We like to think of our Learning Resource Centre (Library) as a very welcoming place.  It is bright, light and very colourful, with lots of posters and informational signs, which help students to find the different kinds of books they may be looking for.

The Library is predominantly divided into two sections.  One side houses our fictional books, with individual shelves for graphic novels, poetry, plays, classic literature, fast/easy read (including dyslexic) books as well as a designated Upper School reading section.  The other side of the Library houses factual books, which are grouped by subject, with clearly displayed signs.  There is also an oversized book section with many art and geographic books, as well as a reference and encyclopaedia section. This simplified and clearly defined system helps students to access books easily.

In addition we have revolving book units where students can find new books recently added to the Library catalogue. Our new larger factual books are often displayed on shelving ends or on book stands to catch the pupil’s eye.  We also have a magazine and newspaper rack in front of a comfortable seating area to encourage students to sit and read. 

We try to make borrowing as simple as possible.  Students can come into the Library to browse and borrow books.  Alternatively they can e-mail Mrs Johnson (the Learning Resource Coordinator) through the school e-mail system or via TEAMS to request a book from the Library catalogue.  These books can be delivered directly to the student in their form room.  If we don’t have a particular book that a pupil is looking for we encourage students to put forward a request for the school to purchase a copy. Teachers will also ask for particular books to be added to the Library catalogue, which they will then reference in their lessons. As a result we have a continuous stream of new books coming in to the Library.  Once a month we put out a poster which is displayed around school and sent to form tutors detailing the new books in the Library during the previous month.

At least once every half term we update our book display table to spark the students’ interest.  The display may focus on a particular author, genre or subject and features interesting information, book summaries, illustrations and photographs.  We will try to link in a film or programme relating to the display that we show in the Library over successive lunchtimes.  Often watching something will prompt a pupil to borrow one of the books from the display.

Each September our new Year 7 students come in to the Library for an induction lesson.  They learn how the Library works, how to find, borrow and request books, and what activities and events we have on throughout the year to encourage them to read.  These include:

  • The BookBuzz Programme – We collaborate with the National Book Trust to give each of our Year 7 students the opportunity to choose a free book to take home and keep, picked from a selection of about 14 different books.  This is our welcome gift to new students.
  • Book Mastermind Competition - students choose their favourite book to answer questions on.  They compete against fellow students in an in-school competition, similar to the Mastermind programme on television. Prizes are awarded and the winner goes on to represent Debenham High in the County Final against other schools.
  • Author Visits – we arrange for a teen/children’s author to come in to school to give talks on their books, what inspired them to write, tips on story telling etc.  We arrange a pre-sale of copies of their books and we have a lunchtime book signing event by the author.
  • Scholastic Book Fairs – usually around Christmas we arrange a half price Book Fair, where students come in to the Library on a rota basis and at lunch time to browse and buy books.
  • World Book Day – a day dedicated to the celebration of books.  We usually have several different activities going on, from reading challenges in an extended registration, to book swap parties at break, to our annual World Book Day Team Quiz at lunchtime (now in its 9th Year) and our ‘come dressed as your favourite book character’ event which raises money for charities like Book Aid International.

In an effort to make the Library a welcoming and accessible space, we offer students the opportunity to come in at break and lunchtime to play board games and give them access to computers for homework and research.  This results in quite a vibrant Library atmosphere, a far cry from the traditional ‘quiet’ libraries of the past. 

Our Library is often used by teachers, who will send in their students to do research or use it for quiet study or revision.  The Library is also used for student interventions in the morning. 

Finally at the end of the summer term we produce a Summer Reading List for all students.  This is often based on a particular theme.  For example, in the summer of 2020, the theme was escapism, in all its many forms, and focused on books that took us to another world, whether that be in space, in our minds or into other dimensions.

We are keen to show to students the new books and magazines which are regularly updated in the library and we advertise these around school regularly so that students know what is new for them to engage in.

We work on the notion that by offering a vibrant Library space with interesting activities and access to different reading material, we can spark the imagination of our pupils and encourage them to read.  It doesn’t particularly matter whether it is the latest teen novel, an absorbing classic, a colourful travel journal or even the daily newspaper, the act of reading increases vocabulary, raises self-esteem, builds good communication skills and boosts school performance. 

Ultimately, we see our Library as an incredibly useful space to capture a child’s imagination and hopefully instil a lifelong love of reading.