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It’s National Non-Fiction November!

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National Non-Fiction November is the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ annual celebration of all things factual.

We have two in-school competitions celebrating National Non-Fiction November:

The first one is aimed at Year 7/8’s where they have to create a poster which reflects this year’s National Non-fiction theme ‘The World Around Us’. The posters can celebrate the beauty of the world around us, whether near to home or abroad, or they can convey a message about our need to take care of and protect our world. They have two weeks to get their entries in to Mr Joseph in the English planning office or email Prizes up for grabs include a LCD writing tablet and their work displayed in the Learning Plaza.

The 2nd competition is aimed at Year 9’s and above where they have to create a piece of text or book on anything non-fiction be it a cookery book, a travel guide or even a joke book! They have two weeks to get their entries in to Mr Joseph in the English planning office or email Prizes up for grabs include gift cards/book vouchers and their work displayed in the Library.

Each week I will be recommending books to read and sharing tips and advice on the benefits of making reading a daily habit. Also I will be sharing what I do as a Reading coordinator/Reading Champion within St Paul’s Catholic School to promote reading for pleasure.


A lovely article I found on about the benefits of reading non-fiction is below:

Enjoyment and empowerment for all: Why we need to seek out and celebrate non-fiction

Even if you can’t remember back to when you were 3 or 4, you may have experienced (perhaps with tinge of exasperation) a small child asking you, “But why? Why is it like that? Why does it do that? Why, why, why?”

We start out life immensely hungry for understanding. We want to work out how things work; we’re full of questions and insatiably curious about the world. And when we discover an answer to our questioning, the world seems to make a little more sense and we feel braver and bolder than before. To be curious is not only natural, it helps us lead rich and wonderful lives. This is why I’m a passionate advocate for doing whatever possible to enable children and young people to keep asking “Why?”

Non-fiction books are my tools of choice for this; once opened, not only do they feed enthusiasm, foster wonder, and put wind beneath wings, they enable readers by delivering knowledge and feeding passion.

Like me, you probably want the children and young people you know to fall in love with books – perhaps because you know that all the research points to frequent readers being more successful in life, or perhaps simply because you know how enjoyable reading is, and want others to experience that warmth, delight, and pleasure.

But to fall in love with reading, children have to find books they love. Making their own choices about what they read is an important aspect of this.

In this light, these facts that give us food for thought:

  • One recent study for #CoverKidsBooks found that a mere 12.5% of children’s book reviews in a given period were for non-fiction.
  • Just 15% of the shelving in the children’s section of my local bookshop is given over to non-fiction.
  • For the first 6 months of 2016, children’s non-fiction (excluding school text books) accounted for 11% of sales by value.

Yet, when children are asked about what books they like to read for pleasure, the gap between fiction and non fiction is much smaller: 48.2% of 7-11 year olds say they enjoy reading fiction for pleasure, 42% say they enjoy reading non-fiction. If this were reflected in shelf space, we might expect just under half of a children’s book shop to be dedicated to non-fiction (not unlike it actually is in most adult sections of a bookshop).

Given the general lack of coverage and shelf space devoted to non-fiction, how can we find fantastic examples to offer up to young readers?


Seek out award-winners
This month sees the announcements of not only the winners of the School Library Association Information Book Award but also the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. More information on other non-fiction book awards can be found via this link.


Feast on booklists
As a starting point, The Federation of Children’s Book Groups has put together a list of 100 brilliant non-fiction books for children and young people. And what’s more you could win them all! Another terrific resource is Booktrust’s Bookfinder, where you can search for non-fiction by age (including for teens).


Max out in libraries
Libraries are especially strong on non-fiction, generally giving over a far greater number of shelves to information books than you’ll find in a bookshop. Challenge your family or class to find books on topics that excite them (Justin Bieber! Kittens! Making slime!) and then test your library card to the limit – all risk free!

Let’s encourage wonder, adventuring and questioning in the children and young people we know. Non-fiction isn’t just enjoyable, it’s empowering!


Zoe Toft is the National Non-Fiction Co-ordinator for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups ( She has a passion for bringing books to life outside of their pages, and documents the play and experiences her family share as a result of their love of books on her blog Playing by the book ( You can find her on Twitter @playbythebook, where she will only be too happy to talk about books – especially non-fiction books for children and young people.


Marcus Joseph

Creative Arts Mentor / Reading Coordinator




Christmas Book Giving Campaign

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The Christmas season is fast approaching, with the inevitable flurry of preparations and gifts.  This year, as members of the St Paul’s Parent Forum, we are again asking that one of the gifts that you choose is the lasting legacy of a book for our library collection.

Please see the attached letter for more information.

Christmas giving letter

Year 7 Christmas Disco

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Monday 18 December, 6.30-8.30pm

Tickets cost £3 each.  Please pay on Parentpay.

Christmas Jumpers day – 19 December

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jumper 8

Students may wear Christmas jumpers to school on 19 December, instead of their blazer, but with school trousers or skirt, for a £1 donation to Team Ghana.

Remembrance Day

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A few of our students are involved in the Cadet forces outside of school and, as such, expressed the wish the wear their Cadet uniform to school in order to commemorate all of our fallen soldiers as we remember them today.

army 2



Team Ghana 2018

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Team Ghana 2018

Please click here for all information on Team Ghana 2018.

Our fundraising efforts are to pay for toilet facilities at two Catholic Primary schools.

The Reading Zone

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We will be launching The Reading Zone on the 24th October in Room 120. This is a place where anyone, Students or Staff, can come at Lunchtimes to just read undisturbed, sitting in peace and quiet for 20 minutes or so.

So if it’s hard to for you to find a calm place to just read and relax, see Ms Wilson, the Librarian, to get your Reading Zone Passport.

  • The room opens at 1.20pm and you can come in to read for 20 minutes or so before going for Lunch.
  • There is a strict “No Eating” policy in the Zone.
  • If you are in Year 7 or 8 you can do your ‘reading homework’…
  • You don’t have to come every day, just when you want to.
  • Every time you come and read your passport will be stamped and you will start to earn Praise points after 5 visits.