Reading at Meridian
At Meridian, our vision is to develop our students into fluent and effective readers who are challenged and encouraged to read for pleasure. We aim to expose students to a range of texts, from different genres, written by authors from a wide range of backgrounds. We want students to have the knowledge, behaviours and skills to demonstrate a rich cultural awareness which is necessary to be successful at school, further education and the world beyond education. We aim to take every opportunity to enhance the cultural capital of our students and equip them with the knowledge and experiences needed for life in society.
Reading is also beneficial for the following reasons:
1) Improves the functioning of the brain
2) Increases Vocabulary
3) Improves theory of mind
4) Increases Knowledge
5) Sharpens Memory
6) Strengthens Writing Skills
7) Fosters Concentration
With this in mind, we have dedicated two tutor periods a week for the group reading of a key text. Students will read along with their tutors, who will support students and challenge them by asking questions, facilitating discussions and debates, and helping to navigate any difficult or emotional themes.
Year 7 – ‘Boy 87’ by Ele Fountain
What is the book about?
Fourteen-year-old Shif and his best friend Bini are ordinary boys with big ambitions, but their world implodes when they attract the attention of the military "giffa". Wrenched from their families, they’re sent to a remote desert prison, where their cellmates are barely clinging on to life.
However, the boys’ arrival sparks hope in the imprisoned men, and they give everything to ensure their escape. Reaching the nearest town, Shif has only just begun the perilous journey which he hopes will end in safety and freedom.
Set in an unnamed country, this is a timely and important book which illuminates the realities of life as a refugee. The first-person narration simply but powerfully conveys Shif’s terror at the violence and cruelty he encounters, as well as his sense of loss. The horrors he is escaping are all too real, but this is ultimately a story about the power of kindness and the strength of the human spirit.
Why do we read this in Year 7?
This book covers the key emotional ideas of dealing with war, family, friendship, human rights, diversity, fear and loss. It also gives a wonderful perspective into what it is like to be a refugee or an asylum seeker. It is a book that helps to develop kindness, compassion and empathy with others, whether animals, friends or people in very different circumstances and situation.
Year 8 – ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon
What is the book about?
Seen through the eyes of Christopher, a mathematical genius and Sherlock Holmes fan, who also has Asperger's syndrome, this bestselling novel opens with the discovery of a murdered dog on the neighbour's lawn.
In his search to discover the identity of the killer, Christopher uncovers some disturbing information about his own family, which throws his ordered world into chaos, and he embarks on a journey to London to find the mother he thought was dead.
This funny, touching and compelling novel was the winner of the inaugural Booktrust Teenage Prize. A must-read for adults and children alike, it is an adventure story unlike any other.
Why do we read this book in Year 8?
This book shows a fantastic insight into what it’s like to live with autism and what someone with autism’s thought-processes and other talents might be. It also follows the confusing and often scary world of life as a teenager. The book also covers key areas such as grief and parents splitting-up, so may help students to process and cope with these issues.
Year 9 – ‘Thief’ by Malorie Blackman
What is this book about?
You're the new girl in school. You're just trying to fit in - and it's not working. Then someone accuses you of theft, and you think things can't get any worse. Until you get caught in a freak storm . . .
The next thing you know, you're in the future. Being shot at for being out after curfew. You don't even recognise your hometown. And you're heading for a confrontation from your worst nightmare.
What if you could change the past to save the future?
Why do we read this book in Year 9?
This book deals with issues of injustice and shows what life can be like if everything is unfair. It also demonstrates the impacts false allegations can have on the friends and family of the person accused. This book is packed with action and atmosphere.
Year 10 – ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green
What is the book about?
Hazel’s parents want her to be an ordinary teenager. Unfortunately, it’s hard to live a normal life when you’ve got terminal cancer, an oxygen tank to lug around with you and worries about the impact your death will have on those around you to deal with. But when Hazel meets Augustus at the Teen Cancer Support Group her life is completely changed.
Teenage cancer isn’t a subject that is easy to write about and it’s even harder to do it without resorting to clichés. John Green however avoids any sentimentality and creates a vibrant, stimulating mediation on life, death and all the big questions with intelligent, well-drawn characters and compulsive storytelling. Witty and life-affirming, this young adult romance is heart-breaking in the very best sense of the word.
Why do we read this book in Year 10?
This book is not your typical teenage romance novel, it deals with a lot of important issues such as illness, loss, family, inclusivity and coming-of-age. It can help us to see how precious our lives are and that we shouldn't waste them being discriminative over race, sexuality, religion etc.
‘The Kite Runner’ – by Khaled Hosseini
What is the book about?
The unforgettable, heart-breaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
Why do we read this book in Year 11?
This book deals with some strong themes that shouldn't be taken lightly. It addresses friendship, betrayal, guilt and redemption. It shows how these threads can impact your life and that of those around you. It definitely makes you aware of the bigger picture and not simply focusing on what works best for you. It has a culturally rich plot and looks at the ideas of race, wealth and status. It also helps students to consider their identity and what makes them who they are.
‘Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.” - Oprah Winfrey
Why is reading important?
- Reading expands the mind – it gives us more ideas; reading has been proven to keep our minds young, healthy and sharp, with studies showing that reading can even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reading allows for creative thinking – it can inspire you and helps get the creative side of your brain thinking.
- Reading helps improve concentration – it can train our mind how to focus properly, which is invaluable in nearly everything we do on a daily basis.
- Reading helps your vocabulary – having a higher vocabulary can open up doors to better education and career opportunities.
With this in mind, we aim to expose students to a range of texts, from different genres, written by authors from a wide range of backgrounds. We want students to have the knowledge, behaviours and skills to demonstrate a rich cultural awareness which is necessary to be successful at school, further education and the world beyond education. We aim to take every opportunity to enhance the cultural capital of our students and equip them with the knowledge and experiences needed for life in society.
Our weekly Prep articles are carefully selected to supplement the learning in the classroom. As well as enhancing students’ knowledge and skills in specific subject areas, these articles are also designed to demonstrate cross-curricular links and display how the knowledge gleaned from one subject can be applied in others. Students are expected to read these articles set weekly on Google Classroom and to complete an accompanying quiz.