English-Speaking Union 1066 (Hastings) Branch

AT our September meeting we were privileged to hear from Josephine Stanley, librarian at Bexhill High.

She has a passion for reading and loves working with students so she has an ideal job.

She has a software system which allows her to monitor the individual reading skills of some 400 students in years seven and eight. Each child takes a test which puts them at the correct level for their vocabulary and comprehension. Then she can give individual and specialised help to those who most need it.

She has a large selection of books, all carefully graded at different levels, which she can offer to the children. One child of 11 came to her with a reading age of six. The girl was withdrawn and lacking in confidence. Within eight months she had reached a reading age of 10. It was most rewarding to see how confident the girl had become.

Josephine also organises sessions where authors address the students on the background to their books. Sometimes the authors come dressed as characters from their books. These sessions are popular and instructive.

In spite of modern electronic devices, Josephine finds there is nothing like an old-fashioned book to excite students and give them the pleasure of reading.

She derives much satisfaction from obtaining books and then finding that they are in constant demand from her students.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 2 when our speaker will be Baroness Stedman-Scott, chief executive, Tomorrow’s People. Details from Michael Plumbe, 01424 713737 or m.plumbe@btinternet.com.