Comic books have them hooked at Eyemouth

Eyemouth High School has been targeting reluctant readers with a new scheme designed to get them reading for fun, by investing in an increased range of graphic novels.

By John A. MacInnes
Friday, 24th May 2019, 8:55 am
Ayton Primary School Graphic Novel Visit
Ayton Primary School Graphic Novel Visit

Staff underwent training to understand how to use graphic novels in a classroom setting and how they can increase literacy among young people. This has opened exciting new avenues of development for the English department who are looking into ways to increase interest in reading through this new medium.

The librarian, Anne Renstead, and a member of the English department, Ruth Alder-Bateman, have been visiting feeder primary schools, getting the P6 and P7s invested in the idea of reading comic books. Ayton, Reston, Coldingham, Cockburnspath and Eyemouth primary schools have all received a bundle of exciting titles including some DC comic books, as well as a lesson delivered to help them access the books. This has been hugely successful with the pupils showing a lot of enthusiasm for the books brought to them through the scheme.

The scheme is intended to create a culture of reading from a younger age, which will hopefully enthuse pupils with stories which will increase their literacy, vocabulary and understanding of story-telling structure.

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“Increased interest in comic book superheroes, thanks to films like Avengers Endgame, has made this an easy sell,” said Ruth, “and there is such a wide range of topics covered by graphic novels, that there’s no knowing where this interest could lead. Hopefully the pupils will be hooked in by one book and then want more!”

Anne Renstead, the school’s librarian, applied for funding through the School Library Improvement Fund and has been advocating for access to a greater range of graphic novels within the library as they have been steadfastly popular with pupils who are usually not keen readers. Through this funding she is in the process of purchasing a brand new range of graphic novels for pupils to take out, as well as stocking the ones already shared with the primary schools.

Anne is also looking into workshops for the pupils which will increase their understanding of graphic novels, and give them an opportunity to create their own.

“Pupils can’t get enough of these graphic novels. The idea originally came from our ‘Books and Banter’ group, who meet every week in the library to discuss books,” commented Mrs Renstead on the popularity of the books.