Witchford Village College: Reading Initiatives

The extra-curricular offering at Witchford Village College kicked off with a bang this term, with students having the opportunity to try an array of different clubs and activities.

Staff at the school have been working extremely hard and creatively in order to provide the students with a diverse and vibrant programme, ensuring that there is something for everyone and meaning that we are able to offer our students a fulfilling and well-rounded experience so that everyone can reach their full potential.

Something that unites our student community is the love of reading and this year our students have been taking part in the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Carnegie Medal Shadowing Group. A national and international reading for pleasure initiative, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards Shadowing scheme engages thousands of children and young people in reading books on a shortlist. 

Every spring, CILIP invites reading groups from libraries, schools and homes to get involved with the scheme. The young people taking part are known as ‘shadowers’ as they ‘shadow’ the judging process for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards; they read, discuss and review the books on each shortlist, engage in reading related activity which they can share online and vote for their favourites to win the Shadowers’ Choice Awards.

Our excellent group of shadowers were first given the shortlist of books in March and were able to take them away to read and review during lockdown and over the summer holidays. Now that all of the books have been reviewed, our group will meet to discuss and decide which book they think deserves to win the grand prize.

Alongside this reading group, we have also rolled out a form time reading challenge. Every Friday, each form reads their given text together as a group, ranging from Year 7’s much loved classic, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, to Year 11’s dystopian whirlwind Never Let Me Go. Tutors and students clock up pages read, which translate into reading miles, with totals being mapped every fortnight to track where our furthest read is travelling to. Recently, form 8.4 clocked up the most miles, reading 34 pages of The Salt to the Sea, which landed them in Saffron Walden. To celebrate, each form member received a famous Fitzbillies Chelsea Bun, marking their passage through Cambridge on their journey. 

As our community continues to grow and evolve from our connection to The Learning Alliance, as do our extra-curricular opportunities, we are excited to continue to promote an excellent reading culture across our school and engage our students in the love of the written word. 

By Bessie Owen, Head of School

Press release from Witchford Village College

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