#70 Specialist Subject: Literature


Most English Departments in most schools will at some point ask pupils to write in some depth about a text of their choice. This may be a novel, a non-fiction text, poetry or short stories.

Several years ago, I set a blog ‘database’ of texts, which contained reviews, plot outline (no spoiler!), author details and links to any film tie-in. The latter was particularly popular partly, I fear, due to a desire to do their SSL project without reading the book.

Learning Teaching Scotland attempted to move this idea forward in 2005/6 by creating the Book Maze, but this seems to have fizzled out, as there is little evidence of recent activity. I had some input into the Book Maze, but was of the opinion that it should be aimed at pupils rather than teachers or librarians, who generally don’t need guidance in this area.

I think this is a great idea to promote literature study, if you can find the time to do it. If not, you could consider getting your pupils to do it for you.


#46 Web Content: Reading

Web Content

Whatever tool you’re using to get your message across on the web, your actual content is, or should be, king. So what to link to? Author and book sites are the most obvious place to start, some starting points listed below.






Google Directory

Jubilee Books

Random House


Strongest Links

Teen Reads

The Wee Web

The Word Pool

UK Children’s Books

Yahoo Directory

Book Reviews


Guardian Children’s Library

Jubilee Books

Penguin Children


Teen Reads

#32 Just Books?


Just Books?

Are books the most important resource in your library? Probably.

However, there are other resources which can foster an interest in books, improve pupils’ attention spans and generally increase their awareness of the power of stories and information.

Audio books are accessible and great fun. They are expensive, but can open the world of the word and the story to pupils who might otherwise stay away. They are also an attractive option for encouraging use by support staff who help pupils with special educational needs.

Magazines are also great fun, and after you’ve looked at the pictures, there’s nothing for it but to read. They can also be very cheap (see magazines page).

Comics and graphic novels. Graphic novels have been used by librarians for decades now, and have become almost mainstream. Comics are a different matter, and are treated with suspicion by many librarians. However, the combination of pictures and text mean that words must be digested to fully understand the story. The added bonus is that many comics (e.g. Marvel) are works of art in themselves.

Podcasts are a good alternative or addition to your audio books store. They are available freely on the web. Fiction, poetry and non-fiction are available in vast quantity and great quality on the web. For free.

Blogs are a great way to encourage pupils to read. They can choose the topic and find the blog. Even better, why not write one? Review that book, blog their school day or write up that great event they attended last weekend.

The Internet is often maligned as a dangerous source of misinformation, but if the sources are appropriate and interesting, pupils will happily sit and read for hours.

i pods are not often associated with libraries, but they are the ideal receptacle for podcasts and even free audio books downloaded from the web.

Ideas and implementation, that’s the ticket. Ask Ingrid.