A recent study carried out by the Australian OECD showed that Australia has one of the lowest percentages of young people who read for pleasure with only 52% of boys and 73% of girls aged fifteen read because they want to.
Motivated to ‘get students excited about reading,’ Librarian, Miss Mileto, took the initiative to review the Boarding House collection creating an updated and inspiring range of fiction books for the boarding students to access and enjoy from the comfort of the house.
The Trinity Grammar School Boarding House Book Club was established in 2016 to promote the newly acquired fiction collection and encourage student develop positive reading for pleasure habits. In the early weeks of each term a ‘book teaser’ promotional email is sent out to all Boarding students and regular announcements about the chosen title are made over dinner and during first prep study sessions. Multiple copies are purchased for both the Boarding House and Library collections to ensure equitable access. At the end of each term meetings are held in the Arthur Holt Library with student participation and attendance a voluntary activity.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift” Kate DiCamillo
Utilizing her passion for young adult fiction and librarianship intuition Mis Mileto purposely selects extraordinary books for the Boarding House Book Club. The first meeting saw over half a dozen students read Erebos by Ursula Poznanski and since then the boys have taken a journey through a range of genres and forms including science-fiction, time-travel, graphic novels and eAudio books.
“At the Arthur Holt Library we aim to cultivate curiosity and celebrate all types of text. The intention is to host a Book Club that goes above and beyond the stereotypical ‘sit down and discuss themes’ style gathering” saysMiss Mileto. “The boys really enjoy the opportunity to have an open discussion and I prefer an informal meeting style as it allows the conversation to flow without any pressure of a set structure (and without boys realising almost an hour has passed and they’ve been talking about reading the whole time!)”.
There is one catch.Miss Mileto confesses she credits part of the book club’s success to baked goods, “I baked sweets for the first meeting and the students have since declared ‘book club is not book club if cookies have not been made’, fortunately my baking skills are on par with my fervour for reading”.
Having held six successful meetings to date, Miss Mileto happily reports that all original members of the Boarding House Book Club are still attending meetings, with additional students choosing to participate each term.
Aside from achieving her vision to ‘get boys excited about reading’,Miss Mileto shared one of the highlights of hosting the Boarding House Book Club to date was having a German exchange student email asking if he could still continue to participate in book club now that he has returned home. “We will arrange to Skype with him during our next meeting” says Miss Mileto.
Going into next term the group will get lyrical and attempt some haiku, sonnets and sestinas of their own as they explore poetry in a move suggested by the club members themselves. Truly the literary spirit has been retained in these fine young gentlemen.