This year, St Columba’s College has been taking part in the WellRead Award, a national initiative designed and organised by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It aims to create heightened awareness about the importance of creating a culture of reading in school communities for young people as part of their personal and academic development. The initiative seeks to involve all relevant stakeholders who impact on student learning including pupils, teachers, ancillary staff, parents, board of management and the wider community in a range of reading and associated activities. We hope to achieve ‘WellRead’ status by May 2019 and thus far, we have had a productive first six months.

In February, we had our first ever Book Week. Along with library-based competitions, there were activities such as Book Speed Dating and Drop Everything And Read. There was also a chapel talk in which pupils enthused about books and the doors of classrooms and the walls of the buttery passage were decorated with posters featuring pictures of staff members and their favourite books. More recently, we celebrated World Book Day with free book tokens for all pupils and on Poetry Day, every pupil was given an individual poem as part of the ‘poem in your pocket’ scheme. We have also had author visits from novelists Claire Keegan (for V and VI pupils) and Ruth Frances Long (for junior pupils).

The pupils’ book club and the staff book club have continued to meet regularly throughout the year and it is hoped that we will be able to extend and expand these activities next year. At the moment, we are compiling a list of junior pupils’ favourite books, as well as a list of books read and discussed at both book clubs. We intend to circulate this document among parents.

The WellRead Committee 2017/2018: Ms J. Kent-Sutton (Librarian), Mr E. Jameson, Shannon Dent, Rory Flanagan.