Reading with your secondary students

One of the more powerful things you can do to encourage academic success and social growth is to support your sons and daughters to read novels. An easy way to do this is to read what they are reading in English lessons and have conversations about the meaning, plot, and characters with them.

This year classes are studying:


Year 12:

Alistair MacLeod’s evocative collection of short stories Island, composed over thirty years, invites the reader to experience life on Cape Breton Island. MacLeod’s attention to the rugged and unforgiving landscape, the struggle to sustain mining and fishing industries and the conflict within families in the face of modernization and change is the focus of his work.

 Year 12 students are reading and responding to these stories and will become experts in a short selection of stories to complete an analytical text response essay.

 Year 11

Year 11 students focus this term on the early work of esteemed Australian writer Tim Winton. The focus has been on a selection of stories from a collection, Minimum of Two. Students have read and discussed these texts and embark on a written creative response that will draw on the ideas and style of Winton.  

Year 10

Year 10 students are enjoying reading Macbeth this term. We have a number of graphic options for students who may need extra assistance.


Year 9

Year 9 students are considering the notion of story and how we write and tell stories. This term they will develop written responses to the film text, Big Fish.

Year 8:

This term, Year 8 read the amazing Diego Run by Deborah Ellis. This is the story of a very resilient boy living in difficult circumstances. In her usual style, Deborah Ellis has used her investigative skills, her strong social conscience and her gift for storytelling to turn a complex situation into a rip-roaring, heart-wrenching adventure. A great way to learn about different lifestyles and foreign lands.

Year 7:

Another thought-provoking text is being explored by Year 7 this term. Author Andy Mulligan presents the story of three boys living from pickings at their local rubbish tip in an unnamed third world country in Trash. This text explores tough lives and difficult decisions in a very readable manner.

Why not read the relevant books too and join us in a virtual book club? Interested parents or guardians should contact me at or through the form below. In the comment box please indicate your Year level/s of interest.

Thank you.


Knowing what resources are being used

Measuring resource use has always been something that teacher-librarians and Library staff have done to make decisions about new purchases, de-selection, and duplication. In the past, this was simply a case of looking in the back of the book on the date stamp page or in the catalogue (once we computerised the collections). These days, with a range of electronic resources for both reading and research the process is not so simple.

One of the questions that needs to be asked is how resources are being used, as well as who is using them. Sometimes we are surprised by what we see:

Other times it is quite predictable – they see, they read, they borrow!

How do we factor in what they read electronically? Some systems count usage and others do not! Increasingly we are seeing students reading from iPads, phones or laptops, which is great too.

We also have a number of research-based lessons where students use hard copy reference material but do not borrow it. This is where the teacher-librarian and Library staff need to know the collection and how it links to the curriculum.

One thing is for sure, our College community is a reading community and we have a great set of books for students and staff to read on both campuses!

Our new Senior Campus space

This year we have started out in a bigger and revamped space which is working really well for all our users. We are still waiting on some new furniture to arrive but it is looking good with the recycled desks – so it will only be getting better as the term progresses.

Studying hard!

The Reading area has expanded and lessons are working really well, even when there is a class using adjacent space.

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The VCE students are working well in their study lessons, and there is a core group of year 12s who will be excelling in their studies because of their maturity in choosing to come to the Library and get on with their work.



Academic assistance and class reference bookings are still occurring in much the same area, but the spaces are more expansive than they were, and everyone is enjoying the extra breathing room.


Student response has been respectful and enthusiastic at all year levels. We are looking forward to a wonderful year, and to planning the next phase of the building renovation!