At Hebburn Comprehensive School we are committed to developing the literacy skills of our students through a clear, consistent, whole school approach. Reading is a lifelong skill vital for independent learning and is therefore given the highest priority. As a school, we work together to share the responsibility of developing our young people’s ability to communicate, use language and understand that words carry meaning. We strongly believe that success in reading has a direct impact on progress in all other areas of the Curriculum and it is crucial in building an individual’s self-confidence and motivation.
Library and Learning Hub
The library and learning hub offers an extensive range of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels and manga available for pupils to borrow, as well as a variety of magazine subscriptions covering topics from healthy eating recipes to the latest film reviews.
Our library is an inclusive space that all members of our school community can enjoy and this is reflected in our diverse and modern fiction collection, dyslexia-friendly reading range, and audiobook subscription service tailored to our SEN pupils.
In addition to our print resources, we also have thirty laptop computers that pupils can book for online reading and independent study, as well as a printer pupils can use for printing coursework and research materials.
Browsing the Library Online
Pupils can access our library catalogue at home or on any mobile device via the AccessIt web app, which students can sign into using their school accounts.
The web app allows pupils to search for suitable reading materials, share book reviews, create bespoke reading lists and place book reservations. Our library team updates the web app regularly with new arrivals, upcoming events, author interviews and useful learning resources. A helpful guide on how to use the AccessIt web app can be found below:
Pupils can borrow a maximum of two books at any one time. Books are issued for a period of two weeks with the exception of manga and graphic novels, which are issued for one week. If a pupil needs a book for longer, they can renew their loan at the library or online via the AccessIt web app.
Pupils are not fined for lightly damaged books and general wear and tear, though we do ask that parents encourage children to treat their library books with care. Wherever possible, we will try to avoid fees on overdue books and will only collect a replacement fee of £3 (per book) after books have been overdue for 28 days and efforts to retrieve them in line with our Overdue Policy (see below) have been unsuccessful. Replacement fees are collected using ParentPay and are used to offset the costs of purchasing a replacement copy for the library. Alternatively, parents / carers can provide a suitable replacement copy of their own in place of the £3 fee.
To avoid books from becoming overdue, we operate a four-step overdue process:
- Pupils receive a reminder email to their school email address 2 days before their books are due to be returned.
- When a book is overdue by 7 days, pupils receive an overdue email reminder requesting they return their book(s) to the library.
- When a book is overdue by 14 days, pupils receive a second overdue email reminder, which is forwarded to their form tutor who will remind them to return their book(s) to the library.
- When a book is overdue by 21 days, parents / carers will be notified and advised that a £3 replacement fee will be collected using ParentPay if their child’s library book is not returned (or a suitable replacement copy provided) within 7 days.
Senior Fiction and Non-Fiction (Y9+)
Our school library has a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction titles available for students to borrow covering a broad range of subjects and genres. Some of these titles are intended for an older teenage or young adult readership of 14 and above and are labelled as “Y9+”. This categorisation is not based on reading ability, but on content such as language, themes and issues. While our library team will endeavour to guide pupils toward books that are considered age-appropriate, we believe it is important that pupils have the freedom to explore and educate themselves on different subjects, including those that may be considered mature or contentious, and that the safest way to do so is through a collection of carefully considered reading materials. As such, our school library does not automatically restrict access to “Y9+” books for pupils in Years 7 and 8, though parents are free to opt out from their children borrowing these books should they wish to do so.
Teachers can bring the curriculum to life with library research lessons where pupils are placed at the centre of their learning through hands-on, research-based projects. These sessions enhance subject knowledge while providing opportunities to develop confidence and study skills, and are delivered in collaboration with our school librarian, Mr Owens, who can offer pupils guidance on effective research techniques and identifying creditable sources.
In Year 7, pupils also receive bi-weekly library lessons as part of their English curriculum. These lessons are taught in partnership with our school librarian and focus on responsible research, digital citizenship, literacy skills and reading for pleasure. Our library lessons provide pupils with crucial independent reading time and the opportunity to speak with a librarian to receive tailored reading recommendations based on their interests and reading ability.
Opening Times and Extra-curricular Activities
The library and learning hub is open Monday – Friday from 8am – 4pm (3:30pm close on Friday).
At Hebburn Comprehensive we strive to foster a love of reading that will stay with pupils long after they leave our school. We offer a range of after-school activities that cater to pupils of all abilities and interests, including a manga / anime and comic club, creative writing groups, book discussion groups (with biscuits of course!) and a board game club. The library is also open before school from 8am for any pupil who wishes to read or study before the school day begins.
|Library After-School Schedule|
|Monday||Manga / Graphic Novel Club||2:45pm – 4:00pm|
|Tuesday||KS3 Book Club||2:45pm – 4:00pm|
|Wednesday||KS4 Book Club||2:45pm – 4:00pm|
|Thursday||Creative Writing Club||2:45pm – 4:00pm|
|Friday||Board Game Club||2:45pm – 3:30pm|
Library Timetable (Opening Hours, After-school Club Schedule)
Please note: Pupils attending after-school clubs in the library will be asked to keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing pupils who wish to read quietly or study.
This term we are appointing student librarians to our new school library. Our student librarian team will be responsible for checking out books, creating displays, organising and maintaining the library, and providing advice and guidance to library users. Student librarians will play a huge role in the development of our school library, serving as reading role models for the whole school community while providing a student voice to ensure that all decisions made regarding our library reflect the needs and interests of our pupils.
Our student librarian scheme features a full training programme, with bronze, silver and gold certifications awarded to pupils as they develop their knowledge and progress in their role as a student librarian. Pupils who participate in the programme will develop a number of skills and qualities such as improved self-esteem, an increased sense of responsibility and ownership, communication and problem-solving skills, and the ability to work as part of a team. Our student librarian team also get to enjoy perks such as out-of-school visits to bookshops and public libraries, first look at new books in the library, workshops with authors and guest speakers, and celebratory library parties and award ceremonies.
As often as is possible we invite authors to visit Hebburn Comprehensive School to speak with our pupils about their writing careers and the inspiration behind their work. Our Year 7 pupils recently received a virtual visit from Carnegie-shortlisted author, Sophie Anderson who answered questions from pupils and discussed the writing process and inspiration behind her debut novel, The House with Chicken Legs. These sessions always prove immensely popular with our pupils and, as many studies have shown, are one of the most effective ways of engaging young people with reading.
HCS Library And Learning Hub Policy
Our Reading Buddy programme (Inspiring Readers) offers a chance for Year 7 students to catch-up on their reading skills.
Our reading buddies from years 10 and 11 listen to the younger students read, discuss their books with them and help them choose new texts. The scheme provides a selection of appropriate fiction and non-fiction, specially chosen to interest this age group but at the same time build and consolidate reading skills.
Our friendly, responsible Year 10s and 11s provide excellent role models and the programme fosters good relationships between the year groups.
Paired reading takes place during the form time reading session once a week. The program is designed to raise confidence and encourage reading for pleasure. School staff also support the with their time, when they are available.
This is a new programme which we are hoping to develop and enhance.
Reading for Pleasure
Research shows that reading for pleasure can have a major impact on children’s academic success. Pupils who enjoy reading are more likely to perform better across all subjects (compared to their peers who don’t read for pleasure), have a greater mastery of grammar and vocabulary, and have a better understanding and awareness of other cultures.
We run a number of initiatives that encourage our pupils to read for pleasure, such as book groups and book award shadowing, after-school manga and comic clubs and creative writing workshops. We also show “Bookflix” screenings of films based on books as a way of introducing pupils to new novels, and run reading challenges throughout the year such as our “Taste Breakers” bingo bookmarks which encourage pupils to try new genres and authors.
For pupils to become life-long readers it is important they have access to books that match their needs and interests. Our library collection has been curated with our pupils in mind and includes:
- an extensive range of manga and graphic novels
- dyslexia-friendly titles and Hi-Lo short stories for EAL learners
- an audiobook catalogue subscription specifically for our SEN pupils
- a diverse and inclusive fiction collection with LGBTQ+, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) and disability representation
Pupils are invited to recommend new books for our school library using our library suggestion box and can share their thoughts on the books they read by leaving reviews on our AccessIt web app.
We run competitions throughout the year to promote reading for pleasure and reward reading progress. Year 7 and Year 8 are enrolled in our Accelerated Reading programme, where pupils can earn points for reading books and completing online comprehension quizzes. Pupils are set individual reading goals that match their ability, with certificates and prizes awarded to pupils who reach reading milestones.
This term we are running a BOOKOPOLY reading challenge where pupils can collect raffle tickets for the end-of-term prize by reading books and completing reading-themed tasks. The challenge encourages pupils not only to read more books, but to diversify their reading and move out of their comfort zone by trying new authors and genres.
Bookopoly Reading Log
We are also launching a Form Class Reading League where form classes in each year group compete to read the most books and be crowned reading champions, with the winning form group receiving an end-of-year party in the library. The Form Class Reading League uses teamwork as a motivator to inspire pupils to read more books and encourages conversations about literature within the classroom and with staff across school.
How does Accelerated Reader work?
Accelerated Reader is an online software package that assesses pupils’ reading abilities and matches them to appropriately challenging books. The AR system categorises books based on reading complexity and interest level, which English teachers and library staff match to pupils’ reading levels to ensure they make the greatest progress with their reading. When a pupil finishes a book, they take a short quiz which assesses reading comprehension and allows staff to monitor independent reading progress. Pupils earn points for quizzing, with certificates and prizes awarded when pupils reach individualised goals and reading milestones.
Pupils are assessed on entry in year 7 and their reading levels recorded. Pupils with low reading ages will be identified and additional support will be provided.
Examples of reading intervention:
- Small group work with the school librarian and/or a member of the teaching staff. Pupils will be reassessed after a set period of time and groups refreshed
- Small group work with a designated intervention teacher who delivers sessions on writing, reading and phonics
- Small group work with LSAs using the Lexia Software programme
- Reading Buddy programme, also known as Inspiring Readers
- All KS3 pupils have access to Literacy Planet, a software which supports literacy progress through games and activities
Time to Read
Reading for pleasure is a life-enhancing habit which also helps students improve their literacy skills. We encourage students to select books they’ll enjoy, but which also offer an appropriate level of challenge.
Regular English lessons in the school library in year 7 ensure students choose from the excellent range of fiction and non-fiction available, with support from our library staff. Students keep a log of their reading and respond to tasks which ensure they’re engaging with the books they’ve chosen.
Students also read during morning registration at least once a week and are expected to carry a book with them throughout the week. In addition, each Tutor Group is offered a registration session in the library on a regular basis to encourage students to choose new books.
Click here to find out more about our school library.