RGS Guildford courtyard with students

Reflection: Reading

Nelson Mandela said that if you “Talk to a man in a language that he understands, it goes straight to his head. But talk to a man in his own language, and it goes straight to his heart.” With the theme of Literature without borders, this is a fitting aphorism for World Book Week this year.

Taking place after half term on the week commencing the 27th of February, five departments have chosen texts that represent the language of humour; the language of harmony; the language of anti-racism; and the language of resilience even in the face of genocide. Your job is to choose one of the six books on this year’s list, purchase it, and read it in preparation for World Book Week. I will not go through the chosen texts now, but please do take time to seek out the digital poster that was sent to parents last week. Your English teachers will also share this poster on their Teams and in lessons.

There is a positive smorgasboard of opportunity in the run up to, and during World Book Week. Starting today, with a visiting academic from Oxford University, Dr Stagg, is delivering a series of lectures on Shakespeare to boys in the Fourth Fifth and Sixth Forms. There is the Poetry By Heart competition starting next week across the Lower School, which serves as a dual purpose as House Reading. From the 27th of February, there will be author visits, book fairs, and the selected departments will host reading groups to celebrate the text that you have chosen to read.

We are all immensely busy, and it may feel like a distraction from crucial exam revision, but taking the time to read will be beneficial not just in English, but in subjects across the school and in your adult life. As they say: you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him read.

Mr J Muchmore
Deputy Head English