(For the love of) Reading
At The Belvedere Academy, we value reading for pleasure and the positive impact it has on wellbeing, as well as its enriching effect on academic achievement. To this end, reading is embedded into everyday school life, with every Lower School English lesson beginning with ten minutes of silent reading, and during every Friday form time.
The library is the heart of the school and from here, a relaxing, social space, a love of reading fans out to all students.
All Year 7 pupils participate in our transition reading programme Accelerated Reader. The girls have library lessons once a fortnight, where they read books within their reading range and take quizzes on them; earning points, certificates and prizes. Where girls fall behind, this is picked up and the librarian will intervene to provide encouragement and support.
Sixth Form volunteers are recruited and trained up in how to be reading buddies. These students help out during our lessons where they are most needed, providing additional support to struggling readers.
Kids’ Lit Quiz
Every year, Belvedere enters two teams - one Year 7 and one Year 8 - into the annual Kids’ Lit Quiz; an exciting international event that celebrates the sport of reading! After an initial Belvedere heat, open to all of Lower School, the top scorers are invited to form teams and take part in the Liverpool regional heat, competing against other local schools for a place in the National Finals. In 2017 our Year 8 team won the regional heat and travelled to London to compete in the finals.
We host visits and take groups out for author events with regularity. The girls enjoy them enormously! As well as hearing how they write, and asking them questions, there is always the opportunity to buy books and have them signed by the author. We have visited events given by Eoin Colfer, Hilary McKay, Cathy Hopkins and Lisa Williamson. We have hosted Kathryn Evans, Holly Smale, best-selling author of the Geek Girl series, Cathy Cassidy, Jon Mayhew, Sophia Bennett and Robin Stevens, best-selling author of the Murder Most Unladylike series.
We have also twice hosted award-winning professional storyteller Ursula Holden Gill, who held her audience spellbound with her tales.
Every year Lower School are encouraged to participate in the Readathon - a national sponsored read which, as well as promoting books and reading for pleasure, raises money for hospital charities and earns free books for our library. Annually we raise between £200-400 for Read For Good.
For our annual Prize Giving, recipients of the Margaret Bryce Smith Award choose two paperback novels as their prize, from a hand-picked selection including classics as well as the latest releases.
Little Free Library
Belvedere has its own Little Free Library - a little wooden house outside, stocked with second-hand books. Anyone can take a book, read it, keep it or pass it on. Pupils are also welcome to donate any unwanted books to the Library. It was officially opened by popular author Cathy Cassidy and attracts interest from pupils all year round.
Sixth Form Classic Crime Book Club
To aid their understanding of the Crime genre, our A Level Literature students participate in a Classic Crime Book Club. We meet every few weeks to discuss our novel; the characters, plot, red herrings and how it fits in with the crime genre. Books discussed have included The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Red House Mystery and Whose Body?
Year 7 Literacy intervention
Pupils selected for extra Literacy support meet weekly in the library for small-group activities based around reading comprehension, punctuation and grammar.
The Inclusion Department also runs a weekly reading club in the library during form time, with Sixth Form reading buddies assisting staff with one-to-one reading with pupils who need support.
Every year, Belvedere hosts a Scholastic book fair. For one week, the library is transformed during break and lunch times, into a pop-up shop selling books, posters and stationery. Always a popular event, we also earn commission on books sold which in turn leads to many, brand new titles added to the library for pupils to enjoy.
World Book Day
Always a big event at Belvedere, activities have included a carefully planned murder mystery party (with teachers getting into character); staff dressed up as book characters; Book Doctor sessions in the library; vlogs of pupils’ favourite books; filming book trailers; the library becoming a ‘book restaurant’; A Hunger Games inspired spa where Sixth Formers painted nails and did hair and henna tattoos for younger pupils - everyone left the library looking more outrageous than when they arrived!
The library hosts many activities centred around books and reading. These have included a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party; a Harry Potter celebration and a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 1920s themed party; book bingo; school menus, circuit training sessions, a Capitol spa, quizzes and craft sessions inspired by The Hunger Games, which was a whole school read; coffee and book mornings and Jolobokaflod (the Icelandic celebration of reading new books at Christmas) to name but a few.
Book of the Term posters
Every term the librarian chooses a different book and this is promoted via posters around school and in form rooms.
The librarian works with the PHSE co-ordinator to deliver one-off lessons based on issues raised in popular books. Year 11 sessions were based on healthy versus toxic relationships using the Holly Bourne novel The Places I’ve Cried in Public and a Year 7 body-positive session based around Tasmin Winters’ book Jemima Small Versus the Universe.