“Brilliant” Booked Up scheme helps boosts reading

Every Year 7 boy had the opportunity to receive a free book of his choice as part of a national project aiming to foster a love of reading. Now the Booked Up scheme at QE has been hailed as a great success by English teacher Chloe Orchin.

Launched in 2007 and run by the Booktrust independent charity, Booked Up is supported by children’s publishers and part-funded by the Department for Education.

All QE Year 7 pupils were given the opportunity to view a DVD highlighting a range of new titles aimed at their age group. The film included footage of the author presenting his or her book, as well as reviews by pupils from across the UK.

Each boy was then asked to select the book which appealed to him most, and the eagerly anticipated books were sent a few weeks later.

“The English Department were keen for our youngest pupils to be involved in the scheme, not only because it complements our own lower school ‘private reading’ programme, but also because we recognise the importance of encouraging and promoting a love of reading to a generation in which this essential practice is increasingly and dramatically falling,” said Miss Orchin.

The books chosen ranged from factual texts to graphic novels. The boys were encouraged to read, debate, review and swap their books so as to benefit fully from the shared literary experience which the scheme offered.

Among the beneficiaries was Abhishek Srivastava, who said: “Booked Up was brilliant – I can’t believe that we got to choose a book for ourselves for free! I chose The Invisible City by M G Harris. It’s exciting and mysterious.”

“All in all, Booked Up was a huge success,” Miss Orchin added. “From a teaching perspective, it was so encouraging to see the boys becoming so enthusiastic, entertained and genuinely excited by what they were reading. I certainly look forward to seeing the results of this in their lives and learning as the year progresses.”