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Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

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Posted on June 6th 2017

What a Library Means to Our Girls

Reader Leader02Our girls have been coming to special library lessons designed to encourage them to borrow books and inspire reading.

During the lesson, students read extracts by poet Maya Angelou and writer Caitlin Moran about the crucial roles libraries have played in their lives. The girls then used skills they’ve developed in English lessons, such as language analysis, inference and social context, to delve deeper into the texts.

“A rainbow in the clouds”

Angelou writes about how being taken to a library transformed her life after she become a ‘volunteer mute’ – refusing to speak for six years after being abused as a child.

Her love of books gave her the confidence to speak again, she said. "Look at that — look at that! That’s a library — a library is a rainbow in the clouds. And a black lady … knew I wasn’t speaking — I refused to speak — for six years I was a volunteer mute. She took me to the library."

Moran, who was home-schooled as a child, also depended on the local library for her education. "A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival," she writes. "They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination."

Our girls in Year 10 were especially passionate Moran’s quote: "But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary. A satisfying reversal. A balancing of the power."

Encouraging reading

After exploring the work of these fabulous female authors, students took the time to borrow a book/s of their choice.

“The sessions help our girls understand the importance of reading and remind them that the library is here for them to use," says Amy Morris, Head of Learning Innovation. “We hope that the sessions will encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book,” adds Ms Morris. “One girl in Year 9, Amira, now visits the Library on a weekly basis, for example, to get a new book because she has finally found the right series of books for her.”

By the end of this term every student in years 7-10 will have completed the lesson.

"Miss, please save this book for me! I can’t wait to read it!"

After the session, girls in Ms McFadden’s class said they believed that the ability to read and free access to books and information would give them everything they need to achieve in this world. Here's just a selection of other comments from our girls following the lesson.

  • ‘I can’t believe books helped Maya Angelou overcome her problems.’
  • ‘Reading can take you anywhere you want in life.’
  • ‘I wish I could borrow more books.’
  • ‘Miss, please save this book for me! I can’t wait to read it!’