Shadowing Group Reports

Durham High School Shadowers, Durham

This independent girls' school has been shadowing both the Carnegie Medal and the Greenaway medal, for several years, and Group leader Jacqui Durcan says that the scheme "goes down a storm" with students. She feels that this is a good scheme that the library profession "needs to hang onto".

The Carnegie medal is shadowed by students from years 8 and 9. The group leader begins the year's scheme with a promotional exercise. She takes some of the shortlisted books into English classes, talks a bit about them, and gauges interest in the shadowing process. She then leaves postcards behind, asking students to fill them in saying why they should be a judge. The shadowing group is ten to twelve students strong, and meets weekly. The leader checks reading progress, and encourages members to upload reviews to the website. Some students manage to read all the books, while most manage two or three. Displays are mounted in the library and around the school during the shadowing period. One week before the official winner is announced, a special lunchtime meeting is held, at which food is provided. Members are issued with ballot papers on which they rank the shortlisted books in order of preference. The group leader then counts the ballots, and a school winner is announced at an envelope ceremony, at which the official winner is also revealed. The group leader also takes a group of eight students to the North East Book Award.

The Greenaway Medal is shadowed by the whole of year 7, amounting to three or four classes. A double English lesson is taken, and students are organised into a "carousel", in which different groups take turns to take part in different activities in turn. The group leader uses the website at least weekly. One group will write comments, one upload their comments to the website, another group play a reading game, etc. A vote is taken at the end to decide the school's choice as winner.

The scheme meets expected outcomes, and impact is measured through an evaluation at the end of shadowing, where members relay their opinions of the scheme. Feedback is also gathered from English department meetings, where information is shared about how the reading habits of students have been affected by the scheme.

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