Wednesday 17 December 2014

My Second Patron of Reading Visit

Last Friday saw me catching stumbling onto a train at the unearthly hour of 7am, clutching a coffee in one hand and a bag full of notebooks, postcards and various other bits and bobs in the other. I was heading up to Shipley in West Yorkshire to visit Titus Salt School. I'm lucky enough to be Titus Salt's current Patron of Reading and this was my second official visit to the school in that capacity.

By the time I arrived at 9am, I was much more awake, thank goodness, and ready for a busy day talking to Titus Salt's Year 7s about how I became a writer and got published. The students were fantastic, and asked some great questions. The students were also given copies of the latest edition of PassWords, my Patron of Reading newsletter, which I write every half term.

In this half term's edition there was a special mention for the winners of Titus Salt's Summer Reading Challenge, and some fantastic writing by the students themselves, including a poem and the first instalment of a horror story called The Bloody Boathouse.

After a busy lunch break signing postcards and talking to a group of budding writers, I helped some Year 11s film a series of podcasts about how to answer the English GCSE exam questions. The exam has changed a lot since I sat my GCSEs, and it was really interesting to find out what students need to do these days to achieve a high mark.

I also chose a book Christmas tree, one of several made by library staff to raise money for charities chosen by Titus Salt's Post-16 students. In exchange for a small donation, I took home this beautiful tree made from pages of a graphic novel. It now has pride of place on my desk.

It was a wonderful day – I'm really proud to be involved with a school which is so passionate about books, reading and words. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next few months will bring!

If you're a school who would like to link up with an author and make them your Patron of Reading, you can find out who's available on the Patron of Reading Website here.