BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
To become a qualified, licensed London taxi driver, a trainee must pass a rigorous assessment after three years of training. This assessment is, of course, to check the trainee knows London’s tens of thousands of streets and their layout like the back of their hand. This is called ‘the knowledge’ and sets the London taxi drivers apart from just about any other taxi driver anywhere in the world. Imagine that, being able to essentially memorise over 60,000 streets and 100,000 places of note. That is certainly going to grow your brain quite considerably, and a study for the Wellcome Trust in 2011 successfully proved that the 50% of trainees who passed ‘the knowledge test’ were found to have greater grey matter in their hippocampus, the area that stores memory., than when they started training.
This demonstrates that it is possible to grow your brain’s capacity and increase long and short term memory. The good news is it doesn’t take memorizing over 100,000 landmarks and 60,000 streets to do this. There is a simpler way: reading.
We all know the benefits of encouraging a love of reading in children from a young age, whatever their perceived reading abilities. To name a few:
Increasing general knowledge
Reducing stress and letting go
Making one laugh and explore emotions
Help one sleep
Improving imagination and creativity
The list is endless. We know the importance of reading, both fiction and non-fiction.
What is interesting, is how reading changes your brain. What actually happens when you read.
Just like the study of the taxi drivers, a study was taken in 2009 in America which showed children who had read for 100 hours developed greater white (communication) and grey (memory) matter in their brains.
Just 15 minutes of reading each night will expand your brains as the ‘Knowledge’ expands the brains of those successful taxi driver trainees.
Reading goes a long way more than simply growing our brains though, and we don’t need research to tell us that reading for pleasure makes us more interesting, empathetic and takes us on a journey of imagination, discovery and curiosity – one of the most magical aspects of childhood and adulthood.
STAFF READING ON THE SOFAS DURING BREAK AND LUNCH
A wonderful feature of 'Book Week' has been members of staff from both the Senior and Junior Schools reading to the children during break times. A mixture of their own childhood favourites and more modern stories, the children have loved seeing (and hearing!) their teachers and other staff in a new light, and it has made for a most relaxing break time on the sofas and beanbags in the main atrium area. This is certainly something we will continue to do throughout the year.
To raise money for our chosen 'Book Week' charity, Book Aid International (more detail below), we held a Roald Dahl themed bake sale on Wednesday after School. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, nor was I certain our children (and of course their ever patient Parents and Guardians) would be able to rise to the challenge. Was I mistaken! I couldn't quite believe my eyes as the most extraordinary, creative, and - for the most part - scrumptious looking baked goods appeared on Wednesday morning. Ranging from Mrs Twit's eyeballs, Bruce Bogtrotter's chocolate cake, Snozcumber cake and James and the Giant Peach themed snowflakes, St Katharine's Hall was filled with the most glorious display of culinary delights. Roald Dahl would have absolutely loved the sheer imagination of the whole event, and we were delighted to raise over £280 for Book Aid International.
Our Book Swap has proved to be incredibly popular amongst adults and children, with many exchanges taking place throughout the week.
In addition to our events, a number of competitions have taken place during the week, and it has been great to see the children testing their knowledge of books and authors and completing so many of the various quizzes.
Winners and prizes will be announced on Wednesday during assembly.
I was told to expect the unexpected and be wowed, and I will never forget Thursday morning, standing outside (as Willy Wonka in case anyone wondered!) observing some incredible characters coming into school. Our costume parade was joyous, and the buzz around the school during the morning told it's own story.
Well done to the entire community - children and staff - for their efforts.
Trips to Toppings
Each class has visited Toppings bookshop, our very own place of magic in St Andrews. Armed with a 'World Book Day' token and some additional money, the children all loved browsing the shelves and spending time in this wonderful reading paradise.
We would like to thank the staff of Toppings for accommodating all our classes this week.
Whilst motivation behind this week's theme has been to promote a continued love of reading amongst our pupils, it has also afforded us the opportunity to consider those for whom reading is out of reach and unaffordable, for many in the world's poorest areas have no access to any form of reading material.
'Book Aid International', a charity who's mission is to supply books to some of the remotest and poorest regions in the world, have given over 24 million people access to books each year. Last year alone they shipped well over 1 million books last year.
Without the support of this magnificent charity, so many people would have no access to something we rely on daily.
It was a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Konig on Wednesday morning to speak to the children about the work of 'Book Aid International', and we are very keen to keep our partnership going.
As a result of the Book Swap, Bake Sale and Costume Day, we have raised in the region of £500 for 'Book Aid International'. Though the final figure is to be calculated, we are hugely grateful to everyone who has supported this.
For more information about the work of 'Book Aid International', please click on the link below:
STORYTELLING WORKSHOP - FAVOURITE STORIES