30 November 2022

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The Birkenhead Park School is very proud to celebrate Year 9 Lily Jordan’s achievement in being the first student to complete our Literacy Programme challenge, ’16 Before 16’ – reading 16 classic books before the age of 16.


Introduced in 2021, the challenge encourages our students to add to the wide range of literary classics on offer as part of our English curriculum, as well as the school’s recognised Big Read strategy, by reading sixteen titles from a carefully selected list of classic novels.


Both students and their parents/carers can take a lot out of venturing into classic fiction: they may be stereotyped as old-fashioned at times but a lot of modern, well-loved books, TV and films were written thanks to the inspiration found in some of these iconic reads.


Many hugely popular young adult novels draw inspiration from some of the most well-known classics, from Twilight’s similarities to Gothic romance like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, to The Hunger Games’ dystopian roots in books such as Nineteen Eighty-Four.


No matter who you are and what you’re interested in, reading fiction can be one of the most pleasurable ways to spend any spare time. Books shape the way we see the world: they help us to develop empathy, a sense of history and a questioning mind. These skills are invaluable in preparing for life within and outside of school.


Reading can hugely help with positive mental health too, as fiction promises to transport the reader to another time and place. It can provide peace, intrigue and wonder by inhabiting the perspective of someone else as you read.


Form tutor and organiser of the ’16 Before 16’ classics challenge, Mr Gore, said: “The 16 Before 16 challenge is intended to give students the opportunity to access a broad range of culturally significant works before the end of Year 11. Avid reader Lily has managed to complete the set in just a year-and-a-half. We are extremely proud to recognise her wonderful commitment to reading - well done, Lily!”


Lily, who lists her favourite classics as Richard Adams’ ‘Watership Down’ and ‘Witch Child’ by Celia Rees, is now looking forward to accessing the wide selection of classic and legacy novels in our school library.


Why not have a look at some classic books to read? They can be challenging, so don’t rush, just enjoy them!