ENGLISH: Charlotte rises to reading challenge to win bronze

AVID reader Charlotte Oakley is the first Year 7 student to complete an innovative series of tasks set by RGS library and English department staff this year.

The quick-working 11-year-old has won a bronze award as part of an inspirational reading challenge for all lower school students, which was launched last year before being interrupted by lockdown.

It took Charlotte just four weeks to successfully complete her assignments, including giving a talk to class, retelling a short story, writing the opening page of a book and creating a 20-question quiz inspired by her reading.

The best bit, she says, was discovering new stories and articles she would never have looked at otherwise: “It really surprised me how the vast range of books this school has can open new paths and do some terrific things. It shows you a side of reading you would never have thought of.”

With a number of her classmates already hot on her heels, Charlotte will now move on to the silver level, followed by gold and diamond tiers.

Head of English Mr Fearnley explained: “The aim of the challenges is to encourage students to read more regularly and more widely, in order to sustain and improve on the reading culture in school.

“As they progress onto the higher challenges, students will be encouraged to branch out of their comfort zone: to read a play, or a collection of poems, to read a book published before 1900, or to explore a genre or a series of novels.”

Form tutors are also involved, with at least one period every week devoted to reading and working towards the challenges.

Mr Fearnley stressed that, although students produce written and creative responses, the main focus of the challenges is on reading and encouraging students to talk about and share what they’ve read.

“One of the best moments for me last year was watching a student give a presentation about a text she had read and then seeing another student in the class with that book the following week, on the strength of the other student's recommendation,” he added.

Charlotte, looking forward to her next set of challenges, says she enjoys the creative aspect of studying English at RGS: “It really lets you show who you are it brings your personality alive. It shows you the inside of life.”

Find out more about the RGS Reading Challenge, below: