"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Friday, September 14, 2012

Silent Reading

Here at the Knowledge College, the new term moves on apace. I now tutor a Yr. 11 form (aged 15/16) and one of our initiatives is Silent Reading twice a week for 15 minutes during the registration period.

I flagged this up last term.

"Yeah. Right. Silent Reading. As if!"

No, I'm serious. It's something that we're going to do.

"No Sir. Stop messing about."

I'm serious.

"Yeah right."

The Learning Resources Centre (library in plainspeak) has provided me with a very nice box. It contains eight books. There are twenty six students in my tutor group. What with me being psychic and all, I had the wit to cull my extensive selection of charity shop paperbacks and provide my own book box containing in excess of thirty books appropriate for this age group, mainly crime fiction (Peter Robinson), Da-Vinci Code style wannabe writers (David Gibbins) and the like.

I am aware that this disclosure reveals far more about my leisure reading habits than I am entirely comfortable with.

So, we had the first silent reading session this week.

Things did not go well.

The girls mainly brought their own books or magazines from home and were no problem. The boys, on the other hand, all seem to have a reading aversion/allergy.

Right, come and choose a book.

There is no movement as every boy feigns deafness.

Come and choose a book.

I ponder who will break first.

There is general - if very slow movement - towards the boxes which is reminiscent of a scene from a zombie film. The sounds are pretty accurate too.

"Mananananananana?" (Trans: "What do we have to do this for?")

It's good for your literacy skills.

"What are they?"

Look. This is me, resting my case.



Everyone has returned to their seat and I take stock of the situation.

Would anyone be prepared to explain to me what the key concept behind the idea of silent reading is?

There is something which passes for silence for all of ... 5 ... 6 ... seconds.

Which part of silent is that? .... Josh, I can see you've chosen a book. The next stage is to open it .... other way up. Good boy. Aaron, why are you on the last page? ...  Oh, really? You're reading it backwards. Why? .... Of course. Because you can. Jordan, what are you reading?

Jordan holds up his pupil planner.

That's not what we had in mind when we said silent reading.

"I'm reading it in silence."

A) No you're not. B) Your planner isn't a reading book. C) Go and choose a real book.

"There aren't any that I like."

I look at the book boxes. They still contain about fifteen books.

I think you missed out a number of stages. Standing up, moving to the book boxes, browsing, selecting, returning to your seat and reading.

"Do I have to?"

No. You can be an exception.. (Joe, you are allowed to turn the pages.)



I have turned into Joyce Grenfell.


  1. Oh, Sir! Maybe next time will be easier. . .

  2. Oh, the memories. It is great to be able to laugh now that I do not have to face similar scenarios weekly. And for 10 years I was a "Learning Resource Coordinator" ie TEACHER-librarian and I always stressed the teacher.

  3. It is outstanding on the way to be valid inspect and who also determine lessons it he spirit completely achieve quite a few complementary.