St Ursula’s Library

Staff: Miss Deegan, Library Resources Manager

Quick Resource Links

Library Google Drive

Find the classic literature library, reading lists, book reviews, reading logs, writing resources and much more on the library google drive page! Pupils must be logged into their school google account to access it!

Library Padlet Page

Take a look at STU Library’s Padlet page! Here you’ll find collated links to literacy resources, topical links, free literature content, educational resources, national writing competitions, and much more!

PiXL Unlock Vocabulary Software

All pupils have personal logins to PiXL Unlock Vocabulary software than can be accessed via the internet. This software provides both general and subject specific vocabulary support.

St Ursula’s School Library and Reading Culture

Reading for academic and recreational purposes is an integral part of St Ursula’s school culture and library use is linked into the curriculum. Pupils in KS3 receive a dedicated library reading lesson as part of the curriculum. All pupils are required to carry a personal reading book at all times as they may be asked to read by their form tutor or teacher, there are posters advertising the policy with inspirational quotes in form classrooms.

For older pupils, specific study time is set aside at senior break and lunch time for year 10 and 11 to use the library facilities for work purposes. All pupils can also visit the library before school at 8am and after school until 4pm (under normal circumstances).

Pupils also receive extra-curricular literacy events, in late November we receive the Scholastic Half-Price Book Fair and pupils have the opportunity to purchase discounted books and stationery, 10% of all profit from pupil purchases is gifted to the library as credit to choose free books from Scholastic! Last November we earned £156.58 in credit! In March, we celebrate World Book Day with a fundraising costume and own-clothes day and literature-related events. This year pupil participation raised £882.88, which will be spent on library books and online resources for pupils.

Reading Improves Academic Achievement and Mental Health

Encouraging your daughter to read for pleasure will both bolster her academic achievement and her mental health. Here at St Ursula’s pupils in KS3 are given dedicated library lessons to assist them in developing healthy reading habits and vocabulary skills; however, reading for pleasure outside of school is just as important for your daughter’s development.  

The Oxford Language Report (a research survey of over 1,000 teachers of both primary and secondary age groups about literacy across the nation) has made some significant findings in regards to the effect of the ‘word gap’ – a lack of vocabulary due to poor reading skills – on both academic achievement and mental health. 

In addition to the academic benefits of reading, primary and secondary school teachers found that:

‘Self esteem, behaviour and a child’s ability to make friends were all felt to be negatively affected by low levels of vocabulary. The diagram below illustrates the proportion of teachers surveyed who believe the word gap is impacting on pupils in the following ways’ (Oxford Language Report, p. 7 [OUP: 2019])

If you are interested in more of the report’s findings you can read the whole document here:

The report goes on to cite that:

‘Vocabulary skills at age 13 strongly predict both Maths and English Literature GCSE results more strongly than  socio-economic  background’* *Spencer, S., Clegg, J., Stackhouse, J. and Robert Rush, R. (2017) Contribution of spoken language and socio-economic background to adolescents’ educational achievement at age 16 years. Cited from Oxford Language Report, p. 12, [OUP: 2019]).

How often your daughter is reading, and in fact the quality of what she is reading can have more of an effect on her performance than her socio-economic background.  Encouraging your daughter to read, for at least 20 minutes per day, can increase her academic performance and confidence.

Miss Deegan (the School Librarian) currently has year 7 and 8 writing ‘Reading Logs’ to keep track of the books they read, the genre, and their difficulty. She recommends that 1 out of every 3 books or short stories pupils read should be challenging to build their vocabulary and academic resilience. She has provided an online classic literature library and short story collection on the Library Google Drive (link above).

Miss Deegan has also created reading lists with age recommendations and blurbs by genre and a KS4 reading list. There are a multitude of resources available both on the Library’s dedicated Google Drive (pupils must use their school google account to access it) and the public Library Padlet page (see links above).