Patron of Reading

I am proud to be the Patron of Reading at Larbert High School near Falkirk. I was the first Patron of Reading in Scotland but there are now lots of us, helping to inspire pupils to love reading.

Thanks to me from them and to them from me

I had a lovely surprise the other day when I discovered that an S2/3 class at Larbert High School had made a wonderful display to thank me for being their Patron of Reading. Awwww! They have been reading and writing about Fleshmarket and Mondays are Red, which are the two books of mine most used in schools. By the way, for schools thinking about using or wanting to use Mondays are Red but not knowing where to get copies, I am happy to tell you that there will soon be a PRINT version again and I should be able to get you a special...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 26 June 2015   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

If you teach Fleshmarket, I have something for you

Lots of schools use Fleshmarket as a class reader in Y7 or 8 / S1 or 2. It’s a suitably gory and gripping historical tale featuring surgery before anaesthetic, conveniently set in the time of Burke and Hare, who play main parts. It’s historically accurate so schools love it for that and the vivid portrayal of life in 1820s Edinburgh, but they also love it because it gets young people reading. “I never knew reading could be so exciting!” said one boy to a teacher when Fleshmarket first came out. Oh, and it was the fact that Larbert High School teach...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 8 May 2015   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

The annual Larbert High School literacy day just got LOUDER!

Last week was my third annual Larbert High School literacy day. My ears have just about stopped ringing from the sheer noise of young people screaming for BOOKS. I admit this was largely my fault but I couldn’t have predicted just how desperately some of those pupils wanted the books I was giving away. I told them they could clamour for any book they wanted, once I’d read out the blurb on the back, as long as they followed three rules: They had to really want the book. They had to really want the book. They had to really REALLY want the...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 March 2015   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

The best writers of their year

Larbert High School is a big school. In one single year group, there are over 300 pupils. So, if you’re chosen as one of the 21 best writers in a year group, you should be very proud. And one day this week, I had the opportunity of working with the best 21 S1 writers all day. They were: Lexie James, Sara Campbell, Clare Cunningham, Iona Allford, Jennifer Shaw, James Young, Zed Kennedy, Sara Hendry, Leah Faulks, Heather McArthur, Madeleine Swinney, Aaron Chilton, Mia Findley, Adam Pascoe, Carly Toland, Antonia Bennett, Jennifer Burnett, Matthew Simpson, Anna Dougan, Hannah Gourley and Sam Batchelor. There was a LOT of talent in there, a MASS of enthusiasm and a huge variety of story ideas. Amongst them were...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 3 February 2015   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Shocking threat to Falkirk School Library Service

Once again, school libraries and librarians are being directly threatened, this time by Falkirk Council’s proposed cuts. And this time it’s personal because I’m the Patron of Reading at Larbert High School. I know some of the people who will be affected by the proposal. I know how hard the professionals in the SLS work and how inspirational they are. I also know about the science of reading, literacy acquisition and the crucial importance of reading for pleasure, especially in young people. The budget consultation suggests that “By reorganising our current provision and resources we could provide a decentralised service within each of our...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 5 January 2015   |   6 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Book recommendations for teenagers

The best people to ask are the readers themselves, so I did 🙂 I’m the Patron of Reading at Larbert High School (as you must know by know!) and I asked some pupils for their recommendations for you, so you can choose presents at Christmas. One of the best ways of encouraging young people’s reading is to listen to their opinions about books and share their enthusiasm for whatever titles they enjoyed. They’ve included not just teenage YA books but adult ones, too, because anyone should read any book they fancy reading, regardless of age, in my view. Two of the...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 10 December 2014   |   3 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Amputating an audience member’s leg

One of my favourite occupations! It’s amazing they let me into schools nowadays, to be honest. This was part of Larbert High School’s S2 trip to Edinburgh for a tour of the Old Town as part of their study of my novel, Fleshmarket. Larbert have studied Fleshmarket in S2 for years and their interest in the book is what lead them to ask me to be their Patron of Reading. And what fun we have! Even when I’m not cutting off legs. Anyway, last Monday I walked up to the Royal Mile to meet 50 pupils, who had just finished their tour of...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 November 2014   |   2 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Poetry for healthy hearts – perfect for schools

What a stupendously gorgeous idea! The Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine is launching the Healthy Heart Poetry Initiative. They are inviting entries from schools – poems and recipes – and selected poems and healthy food ideas will be published as an anthology of Healthy Heart Poetry by the Hippocrates Press. And there are teaching ideas, too. Schools, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain – hearts full of heartsong. I bet Larbert High School would produce some great entries…

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 14 July 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Chance to become a fitness instructor!

No, not me! Can you imagine?! But do you know a young person who would thrive on the chance to train as a fitness instructor? Or one who hasn’t thought of it but who loves the sound of it? A young person who is wondering what on earth to do for a career when academic exams haven’t been a piece of cake? (See, I talk about cake too much to be a fitness instructor.) Well, I’ve been contacted by a company offering a fabulous opportunity for three people to win £4,000’s worth of fitness instructor training as well as an internship with either...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 7 July 2014   |   1 Comment so far   |   Read More.

Enterprise in Education

A lovely thing happened the other day. I heard that I’d been named an Enterprise in Education Champion. Larbert High School didn’t tell me they had nominated me so it was a huge surprise! Entrepreneurship is incredibly important to me – I don’t remember a time when I didn’t dream up crazy ideas and usually make the mistake of acting on them – and I can’t think of anything I’d rather get an award for. The award recognizes “that you have, through your support, demonstrated an attitude that is enthusiastic and motivating and that you have inspired and encouraged young people to develop...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 26 May 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Great young writers of Larbert High School

Once again I’ve had the task of judging the creative writing competition for senior pupils at Larbert High School. I did this willingly, even though it was VERY difficult last year and I knew it would be again, and the main reason I do it is because it gives me stops me falling into the trap of believing the doom-mongers who rabbit on about poor quality of writing amongst young people. Honestly, those doom-mongers, many of whom doubtless read one of a range of three right-wing newspapers, need to see the passion, the skills and the talent of young writers...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 25 April 2014   |   2 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Wellies? Me? At a school event? Srsly?

As many of you know, good footwear is important to me. I have been told that it is even part of my “brand”. In fact, it is the literal truth that my husband did once encourage me to buy new boots “because it’s part of your brand”. This was while he was studying the marketing module in his MBA, but still. There aren’t many women who can say this. So, it was with great reluctance, as you can imagine, that I spent a whole day in muddy wellies when I went to visit Larbert High School for their annual Literacy...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 March 2014   |   No Comments so far   |   Read More.

Are you ready, Larbert High School?

Because I’m coming to see LHS on Friday and I may not want to leave. It’s their annual booky day and I have these things on my list to remember to take: Green body paint that won’t wash off easily (I will be wearing this so I hope I’m not arrested on the way) A spare brain 300 signed postcards A poster that I’ve made using my own very special untalents A pile of books I wrote A pile of books I didn’t £1 What I’m hoping for during the day: Sandwiches (I have strong memories of sandwiches last time)...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 11 March 2014   |   4 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Books for young people, recommended by young people

Who are the best people to recommend books for young readers? Young readers, without a doubt! After all, we write the books for them so why would we care so much what adults think? (OK, we do care, a lot, but we should care more what the intended readers think.) How do we find out what they really think? Ask them! So I did! Specifically, I asked the S1 pupils of “my” school, Larbert High School in Falkirk, where I’m the Patron Saint of Reading. These pupils are 12 years old and I love the variety of their views. I asked...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 17 December 2013   |   22 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Fleshmarket and Larbert High School

We hear too many negative things about teenagers. So I’m setting the record straight by telling you about my encounter with S2 pupils from Larbert High School the other day. They were in Edinburgh doing a tour of the Royal Mile, focusing on the gruesome bits, because they are studying Fleshmarket in school and studying Fleshmarket does lead people to seek out gruesome history. *rubs hands* So, they invited me to come and meet them at Fleshmarket Close, which seemed apt. As I walked towards them, they gave a huge cheer, and I covered up my blushes by pretending it...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 11 December 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School and Woodlands Primary, South Africa

I’ve just spent some time reading the blogposts of the pupils of Larbert High School from their trip to Cape Town to work with and share experiences with Woodlands Primary School. What an amazing experience the LHS pupils are having, being able to see and help pupils from another culture. The post where they arrive one morning to discover that part of the school has been destroyed gives you a sense of what this trip means to them and the level of empathy they have. I think there’s a load of wisdom revealed in these sentences: “We recently found out...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 24 October 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Larbert High School publish a book of their creative writing!

The clever pupils and enterprising staff at Larbert High School have written and published an ebook of their creative writing! As their Patron of Reading, I’m very proud of them and have to admit I had nothing to do with it! Esto Perpetua (Last Forever) is a collection of writing from first year pupils “where they share their experience of The Carron Dams, a nature reserve which perimeters the school grounds.” Thanks to Live Literature funding through Scottish Book Trust, they worked with Chris Powici, an environmental poet and creative writing tutor at the University of Stirling. The ebook is...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 28 June 2013   |   4 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Creative writing prize – Larbert High School

As part of my work as Patron of Reading for the wonderful Larbert High School, I recently judged the best creative writing examples from the Higher English class. DIFFICULT??? OMG, yes. They were all amazing, all sinister and/or sad, all with impressive structure and control, all really knowing what they wanted to do and doing it, and all displaying real power in terms of tugging our emotions. They all also need to rein it in a bit and be more selective with their adjectives – but that’s something I could say of every single young writer who will go on...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 17 May 2013   |   8 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Can we find a book they’d love?

As part of my work as Patron of Reading at Larbert High School, I said I’d help readers who are trying to find a book they’d love find a book they’d love. You see, I believe wholeheartedly that there is a book out there for everyone, even those who think they don’t like reading. So, keen readers among you, can you help me? Can we help these young people become and remain keen and confident readers? This is about reading for pleasure, nothing else. And nothing is more important, reading-wise, tbh. All these readers are 12 and you can assume...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 14 May 2013   |   19 Comments so far   |   Read More.

Feed your brain during exams

Continuing my posts to help teenagers during exams, I want to tell you about the right foods to keep your brain going well. Especially important for several reasons: Your brain absolutely will work better with the right food and liquid inside it. You may lose your appetite if you are nervous, so it’s helpful to select in advance some foods that you’ll actually want to eat. The brain is a very hungry organ and uses a lot of energy. You may have some wrong ideas about what are the right foods to fuel your brain. Oh, and by the way:...

Posted by Nicola Morgan on 5 April 2013   |   2 Comments so far   |   Read More.
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