A lovely email from the librarian at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh today. She’s taken up my Readaxation idea and has turned the library into a holiday-themed Readaxation Resort for World Book Week, encouraging pupils to come and RELAX with a book. She’s been talking about the power of reading for pleasure as a stress-relieving activity (so important at this time of year as big exams loom) and has various ways of getting the whole school involved, adults and students.
“Lots of interest from the pupils who are really enjoying coming in to chill out with a book and they’re learning about the benefits of reading as a way of reducing stress which is great. To tie in with the “resort” theme, this year’s competition involves guessing the teacher by the “security scan” of their luggage and working out their choice of holiday.”
Pupils at GWC have reading periods and the librarian says: “I have definitely noticed classes […] settling quickly and getting more thoroughly immersed in their books – more so than when sitting at tables.”
There have also been several comments along the lines of, “If the library was like this all the time I’d definitely come in more often.”
Lots of staff – teaching, cleaning and technicians – have been getting involved by putting postcards on their doors, saying, “Wish you were reading…” and recommending something they’ve enjoyed. And it doesn’t have to be a book but could be a blogpost, magazine or whatever.
I love this and am very pleased to know that Readaxation – the idea that reading is a perfect way to beat stress – can find its way into a busy secondary school. A comfortable space and a few minutes to relax and escape whatever stresses are preying on the mind and occupying brain space will bring great benefits. Students will feel better and perform better and teachers will feel the benefit of that.
Apparently, the only downside has been that the inflatable seats keep deflating. Permanent comfy furniture – it’s the only solution!