In December 2020 Give a Book sent a Christmas book bundle to Nightingale Community Academy. We got some wonderful book reviews from the pupils earlier this year and more recently were incredibly thankful to receive this beautifully written blog from Madeline.
Nightingale Community Academy has been really grateful to be supported by the Give a Book charity during the tricky time of the pandemic. Nightingale is an all through school for boys with social, emotional or mental health difficulties and because of its special school status has been open throughout the pandemic. In response to general low levels of literacy throughout the school, a library space was created, and Give a Book generously donated a huge variety of texts with which to start stocking the shelves. The reading interests of our boys are varied but quite difficult to cater for as their interest age tends to be their own chronological age or older but some have reading abilities of far younger children. Others have high reading ages but because of additional needs such as ADHD, have shorter attention spans than might be expected. Give a Book’s Adeela and Shamima not only were delighted to support our school but also showed a real understanding of the importance of choosing the right texts for reluctant readers.
The Barrington Stoke publishers which the books were largely chosen from are printed on off white paper and have a dyslexia friendly font, making the physical task of reading easier for those with reading difficulties.
The authors chosen were generally well known for writing good books for young people such as Malorie Blackman and Tom Palmer. Some of the texts had been commissioned by Barrington Stokes to provide teen interest but at a lower reading age. This provides access to the good quality literature that is so important in shaping reading habits and developing reading skills.
Much research has been done in regard to the impact of reading for pleasure on mental health. This is now more important than ever with the challenges we have faced during the uncertainties and stresses of the last year.
Our boys have more challenges than most and it has given me great pleasure to see our learners come to the library space, chose a book they are genuinely interested in reading and sit down to escape into a different world for half an hour or so. So many of our learners at Nightingale have had limited access to books, difficulties in learning to read and little experience of the relaxing abandonment that comes from escaping into a good novel.
I would like to thank Give a Book charity for your generous and thoughtful donations. We look forward to working with you in the future as we begin to set up reading groups and breakfast reading clubs. From all of us at Nightingale, a huge thank you.