Churchie’s culture of reading is nurtured with a long term view.
Recent research from Oxford University has discovered that reading books would appear to be the only leisure activity for 16-year-olds that is linked to the acquisition of a managerial or professional job in later life. Sport, socialising, visits to museums, galleries, the cinema or concerts, were found to have no significant effect on their careers. 'According to our results there is something special about reading for pleasure. The positive associations of reading for pleasure aren't replicated in any other extra-curricular activity, regardless of our expectations.' (Taylor, M. 2011, April 8).
Further benefits of reading are acknowledged too of course. Reading books develops literacy skills and improves focus and concentration. It transports readers to other worlds and grows their cultural capital. It improves imagination, memory, verbal fluency and academic success. It provides entertainment and relaxation. 'Reading for pleasure made a substantial difference [on intellectual progress] – the difference made was around four times greater than the difference made by having a parent with a degree.’ (Sullivan, A. 2014).
At Churchie, a comprehensive wide reading programme is integral to the English curriculum from Years 7 to 10. Each fortnight English is held in the library and the lesson’s focus is on reading. During this lesson a teacher librarian introduces a range of reading material relevant to the boys’ age, interest levels and classroom units of work. Genres, authors and trends are discussed and silent, sustained reading follows. This regular interaction with a quality collection and an expert on young adult literature immerses the boys in a culture of books and reading.
Borrowing is encouraged and reading is integrated into the homework routine. As part of the reading programme, students are encouraged to reflect critically on their reading and respond in reading logs (Years 7 to 9) and portfolios (Year 10). The Accelerated Reader Programme caters for boys in Years 3 to 6.