In 2016 we were lucky enough to work with a group of incredible Year 10 boys from Eastbury Community School. They took part in a project to challenge their views about reading. Below are their blogs explaining the project.
In February the boys came to QMUL for a visit, to update us on whether they have continued to read. Here is what they had to say:
I carried on reading because it’s fun and the book is interesting. Seeing the play made me want to read it even more. It depends what kind of genres you like. If you like a book an author’s written, you might want to read another book by him/her.
I didn’t read because I didn’t have time and in my opinion books are dying out as entertainment because people look at laptops, iPads etc. However, I do want to make more time to read because I do have the time.
Reading is productive, it helps with your English grades and improves your grammar. However, we should also play more sports.
It all depends on the book: some books inspire you to read more but others don’t. Each person is different, so the book has to be specific to you and your interests. You can learn a lot from them. I find it interesting to learn more about the person who writes the book and whether the book is a reflection of their life, or if it is a true story
I find it important as it could be very useful and is a skill but I don’t personally like reading because it’s too much effort
At the end of the programme Michelle gave me the book Lie kill walk away to me. I have started to read it. I finished Curious incident, but skipped some parts, to get to the good bits, as I knew the ending after watching the play.'
Since the programme finished, I have been reading Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I read about twice a week and so far I have got about 25% of the way through the book. So far I have enjoyed it as the book is interesting. I usually read just before I go to bed as reading at this time helps me to get a clear picture of the story in my head. After finished I stopped reading Curious incident as I got my new book and I found it more enjoyable and more my style of book, therefore it got my attention more and I now read a lot more.
Recently, I have read most of The Book Thief, I tend to read it when I am by myself and when I have free time. As for the Curious incident, I have stopped reading it as it is hard to keep track of more than two books at the same time.
I was motivated by the programme, but the exam stress faded my momentum, causing the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime to be replaced by non-fiction revision guides. When I am more motivated I will start reading again.
Curious Incident at the theatre.. final week
We went to see the Curious Incident at Gielgud theatre in the final week. These are our final thoughts about the project:
I really liked writing the blogs, I haven't done that before, it gave us a chance to explain what we were doing. The theatre was a new and different experience. It will help you with English overall and sum up text in a short period of time. Now I get home and if I have nothing to do I will read. I am sad it is over. Next time there should be more choice of books, maybe including a quiz to find out which book is most suitable for each person. I think the project should be extended to 10 weeks.
Other boys in my year would laugh at this project but when they are here it gives you a new mind-set.
Recipe for a good reader
Reading is not easy for some people whereas for others it is, but we all know that there are positive outcomes from reading. These vary from you getting good grades and improving your grammar to increasing your chances of attending university. This later on can help with employment and your dream career.
If you are not reaching your potential you might be making one simple mistake - not spending precious time on reading. These are the ingredients to change your views on reading:
- One good environment
- Pinch of enthusiasm and courage
- Spoonful of motivation
- Heathy dose of aspiration
- One interesting book (pick n mix)
- Cook for an hour a week for the best results
- Think about what your reading
- Sprinkle of research to explore your book
- Check every other day to watch the rise
- Read your preferred genre
- Teaspoon of teamwork
- (optional)If you prefer, cook longer for a greater rise
A Curious reader
Already week four
It makes me read more
At first I wasn’t sure
But that was before
Made a start at the first week
Felt like a geek
Struggled to speak
Now things are less bleak
Started reading the book
Felt like a crook
There was a hook
That got me shook
People respond differently
And I do it brilliantly
Then I wrote down hectically
How people live differently
What do you think about reading?
Hi my name is Hammad. I recently got involved in a programme called Boys, Book and Blogging where I experimented by reading a book which I don’t often do. The book I am reading is called ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’.
I find it quite compelling and interesting as it has thriller scenes - I am curious about it. I believe it is the perfect category for me and I will be reading this book further as I find it impressive. I only got to read 3 pages as I was busy with other course work.
But so far I’m enjoying this process and I hope I keep up with this and in the future read more pages and manage my time correctly. If Michelle asks me to read a certain amount of pages more I know I can fit in the time for that. This programme is making me realise how reading
can affect your grades.
Describing a day as Christopher
Today when I was walking to school I saw a small dog with brown and a bit of yellow fur. When I was nearly at the school a massive brute passed through five people. When I was in my form class one of my class mates was repetitively touching me and I got so angry I swung a punch at him. I don’t like people when they keep touching me. My form tutor shouted at me and sent me to internal exclusion. I thought internal exclusion would be boring but it’s a bit fun. I can catch up of my reading or finish my homework which I haven’t finished yet. The part which I didn’t really like about the internal exclusion is that I’m missing Maths and I love Maths. I love Maths because I like the specific thing such as the equations and what I mostly love about Maths are prime numbers.
Hello everybody I’m reading a book and it’s called the 'Curious Innocent of the Dog in the Night time'. The thing I don’t like about the book is that it’s a mystery and I am more into horror or action. I like books and TV programmes that bring a bit of edge at the end. At first I was very scared of horror but now I’m trying to get something to scare me. My two deepest fears are spiders because I don’t like the way they look at me and my other fear is being lost without anyone next to me.
In my spare time, I like playing action/adventure or horror computer games and hanging out with my friends. I sometimes read.
The one thing I do love about this book is the beginning when the main character saw a dog was dead but it was on its side like it was asleep. I read it while at school when I had spare time. I think I would read more often if I had any spare time at home. I’ve read in total 12 pages so far but I hope I can get a different book soon.
First Week of Boys, Books, Blogging
As soon as Michelle stepped in I knew my school had invited someone from Queen Mary University.
Initially Michelle told us about the problem of working class boys and their reading abilities. She told us about how the government, schools and universities are trying to improve the reading standards of this group.
As soon as I heard this, I knew this project will include ALOT of reading, I heard a few people sigh in disgust because it was clear they do not enjoy opening a book. However, I was extremely excited to get an ‘opportunity’
If you do not read you are less likely to get an A-C in your GCSE, you are less likely to go to university as a result you are more likely to be unemployed. Michelle also told us that Bill Gates got an opportunity that allowed him to use a computer for a thousand hours before people even saw a computer. Queen Mary University wanted to give us an opportunity that would allow us to improve our reading skills.
We got told that the brain is a muscle and just like any other muscle you are able to train it to help it get a lot better than its starting point.
There are 168 hours in a week and in all that time you might be able to fit in at least 20 minutes of reading. This could help you improve a lot in the future and reading could be the thing that increases your grades.
This is my timetable Michelle told us to fill it in and try to find one box that you could change for reading. This wasn’t hard for me as I usually read when I have nothing to do, but some people like my friends have no time at all, this could help them. Most people realised they have enough time.
Hello, I am Neilas Daubaras. I am currently reading ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ the book is like a ‘hook’ once you start reading you are compelled, you are unable to make your way back to reality. Everytime you try the hook will pull you in stronger than the last time until you are finally finished. This is a murder mystery novel. The main character “Christopher Boone “has autism. He likes to ask questions and challenge the reader by giving them mathematical equations. This book is like no other, it is like dead pool it breaks the 3rd wall and communicates with the reader.
Studying: P.E. and cooking for my GCSEs.
Hobbies: Rugby. Support West Ham Utd.
Describe myself as: Very competitive in all sports and a good communicator.
Disappointment to Surprise
In school my Head of Year Mr Wood chose me to join this group called Boys, Books and Blogging. When I went to the group and Michelle said it was a reading group I was disappointed. Then at the end of the session we all had a choice of two books: 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' or 'Tuesdays with Morrie'. I chose the Curious Incident because I have seen the play. Before I started reading this book I hated reading but now I’ve started reading the book I like reading now. The book tittle drags you into reading it.
In the book so far Christopher, who is the main character, is in detective work because his neighbour across the road (Mrs Shears) her dog has died. He is trying to find out who killed her dog and thinks it’s Mr Shears because he didn’t like the dog.
A curious novel
I was meant to read the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, but I forgot to read the book because I was busy over the weekend.
Sometimes I find reading books helps me a lot because if there are words that I don’t know I can look them up on Google and the next time I see the word again I will remember the definition of that word. So this is why it’s good to take a bit of interest in reading books.
I did get a chance to read the first page of the book and so far I kind of find the book interesting because it said “there was a garden fork sticking out of the dog”. That got me curious because I’m wondering who could have killed the dog and why did they think that was a good idea. It creates suspense for me.
It hasn’t changed my opinion of reading. I don’t pick up books, only if I’m bored. Homework and revision for tests takes takes up the majority of my time.
What is your opinion of the book “Tuesdays with Morrie”?
As I read this book I felt it was really impressive because it is a “true story that shines and leaves an afterglow”. Part one of this book we find out about a teacher called Morrie. In his class at school, it says, “no books were required, yet many topics were covered, including love, work and death.”
I think the person who wrote this book Mitch Albom has a very good mind. When I started reading this book it didn’t make sense to me but as I read more it starts to make more and more sense. I think we should be showing this book to young adults. As a young adult myself, I now see books from a bigger perspective. I think we should show this book in more schools. I totally understand that the book isn’t about the afterlife, there is no discussion about life after death, it is about a dying man and his distilled wisdom about life.
So far with Morrie
As the story develops Morrie is getting closer to death. Doctors said that Morrie has two years left till he dies. Morrie needs people to go with him to the toilet.
He cannot do that many things because he is disabled and relies on other people to do stuff for him which may make people assume that he is like a baby. Morrie is joined in his home by a small group of friends and family for a living funeral.
The student promised to keep in touch but did not. The story is interesting because I want to know if he is ever going to get in touch. The students dream was to be a musician but after several years of “dark, empty nightclubs and broken promises.” he gave up.
Is reading for you?
My name is Auon Shah and I make YouTube videos. My channel is mostly based around reaction videos, I just hit 110 subscribers.
Tuesday with Morrie: hearing the name of this book you probably most likely won’t want to read it. But after reading the first page of this book you would be compelled to read more. I have read some parts of the book and it has captured my attention so far.
The book I am currently reading is called ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time’
I like to play video games a lot and that’s what I would do most of my time because its very entertaining for me. This book is more interesting than the books I have read in the past but I don’t know if I could sit and read a whole book.
I wouldn't say reading is a girl thing, lots of guys read books too, its just reading isn't the thing for me. I don’t really find books that interesting because there are not that many books I enjoy reading. Maybe in the future I will read more books.
Diary Entry #1
Today’s the 14th of November 2016 and this is my first diary entry, I’ve been reading this book called ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’. At the moment I’m at my house and I’m sitting in my bedroom with my PlayStation turned on. I decided that I was getting bored of most of the things I was doing so I luckily remembered that I have my book to read and so I started escalating through the story.
So far throughout the story I have been reading about how this great minded super-human named “Christopher Boone”. He has autism and he only has a limited amount of emotions. This boy is involved in a dog murder that occurred the previous night, the minute the boy saw the dog with his bare eyes he feels deep devastation that the poor dog has passed away on the streets. The whole mystery part of this book is what I love the most. This is because I am very interested in mysteries of crimes, solving murders or theft or even just tracking down someone. I think this is because our emotions show our-selves, this is very similar to the way the main character in our story acts towards different people.
After I finished reading about 10 pages I decided to eat. The food was delicious and showed me how grateful I should be that the things I have and can get are more than 30% of the world’s population. I read that up on the internet the other day. I sometimes imagine or make a sort of simulation in my head about possible outcomes that could happen if I were to do something or if I had a different life. One of which I did was that I lived in a shack and I wasn’t very rich, in fact I had hardly any money. I realise how lucky I am to be in this life. In conclusion I wanted to write this blog to mainly focus everyone’s attention on being grateful and for showing everyone that people like Christopher struggle.
The Start of A New Beginning
If your reading this, then ask yourself what are you truly aiming for in life? Have you thought of it yet? Good.
Now think about how you will achieve this, how will this dream and goal of yours be accomplished and how will you meet the requirements you need to get into this type of job. There is one requirement that I believe will be the most important thing that everyone needs to be able to get into their dream job. Well if I’m going to be honest, I would like to be an engineer and the only way this dream of mine will be embraced is if I read. Reading is a very important part of life but when I was a reasonably young age I felt like reading was just something that isn’t a part of life. It was just something that wouldn’t help that much but now I realise how much knowledge you can gain just by reading a single book.
I am mind blown.
Half of my thoughts came whizzing out as if the knowledge was once locked up in a cage and now the key to it was now in my grasp. The title ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time’ I love due to the fact that it is very long and because of the mystery aspects of it. It showed me a new way of thinking about things, a whole new other life.