School Librarian Ros Alcock joins us on the blog today as she tells us about how our Young Editors Scheme empowers the students at Ballakermeen High School to become confident readers (if not fairly discerning editors!). Take it away Ros!
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Here at Ballakermeen High School on the Isle of Man, we are big fans of YES! As School Librarian, I download the manuscript, read it myself, and then pass it on to English teachers who I know might be interested (which is now most of them who teach KS3 as word has spread!)
We use the manuscripts with all of KS3; the reluctant readers are really enthused by the idea that this is a book that no one else has read yet, and that they are going to be able to comment on it before it becomes a ‘real’ book. Most teachers use the manuscript as a class reader with these groups, so the students read it together; the fact that the manuscript is on a yellow background means no one is singled out as needing that if they are dyslexic, and those students like that.
We have also read these manuscripts with Year 7 and 8 top sets; they too love them! They enjoy the reviewing process, and can be very picky about things! The teachers love the fact that the students are using their writing and analysis skills.
Sometimes we make the beginning of a YES manuscript a big event by bringing students to the library where I introduce the scheme and the book, and read them the first chapter. I also show them our dedicated ‘Short and sweet’ shelves, where we shelve our small but perfectly formed Barrington Stoke collection!
Once the book has been published, I purchase a couple of copies for the library and visit the classes who have read it in manuscript form to show them the real thing. There are always students who want to borrow it to read and see if it has changed as a result of their comments!
Comments from just two of our teachers:
“A lovely scheme: allows students to have a voice. The length of the stories makes them accessible, and yet the depth of character and theme allows them to really engage. My students have had their precarious love for reading reborn through this scheme.”
“This is a fabulous scheme! It allows the class to read a relatively short book together. It helps with understanding mainly, but also it helps them to appreciate what makes good writing. They are led through a series of questions evaluating the writing which leads them to transfer this knowledge to their own writing. The students are particularly thrilled when they spot a mistake. This then leads them to improving the writing. They love being ‘me’ and ‘marking’ the story!”
The stories themselves are always really good stories, which really engage students and make them want to keep reading – this is obviously as a result of Barrington Stoke being able to get some fantastic writers on board to write for them. (Of course Barrington Stoke in general is a great way of introducing new authors to students – I have a student this week who has read all the Barrington Stoke books that we have by Kevin Brooks, and now feels confident enough to try one of his longer books).
I cannot praise this scheme highly enough – reluctant readers engage with it in a way that they would not with a ‘normal’ book and it gives them a huge boost to know that someone wants to know what they think of the book. Our more able readers love critiquing the text, and teachers of all students are delighted whenever I send them a new manuscript to look at. Thank you for this amazing scheme!
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Thank you so much for stopping by, Ros!
To find out more about or become part of the Barrington Stoke Young Editor’s Scheme, visit youngeditors.barringtonstoke.co.uk