“Giving students books that literally mirror what they are going through is so impactful for them”

Published on: 23 November 2022

Anieka Caynes, Team Leader for English at Lanfranc Archbishop Academy – who recently hosted a BookTrust Represents author visit describes how motivating students to read is vital for their development and self-expression.

Students at a BookTrust Represents author eventStudents at a BookTrust Represents author event

“For our school, reading is a very high priority. We’re making sure that regardless of whether our students speak multiple languages or whether they are classified as being “disadvantaged” they have access to literature within the school curriculum, and also, literature that’s going to fuel a love of learning and a love of reading.  

“This BookTrust Represents author visit gives our students the opportunity to realise their work could potentially be published one day. It gives them the aspiration and the realisation that they could be an author and they could contribute to how literature is used in our society today.” 

Finding a voice through reading

“We really want to foster a culture where students are having conversations about the books that have inspired them, and about how they potentially want to contribute to the cannon themselves.

“It’s about encouraging them to be part of the conversation. A lot has happened in the past few years if we’re thinking about Covid and the effect it’s had on our students, if we’re thinking about currently the cost-of-living crisis. A lot of these things are happening to our children, and their voices are muted.  

“Giving students an opportunity to read books that talk about their own experiences, that literally mirror what they are going through at the moment is so impactful for them. It gives them the opportunity to feel involved, to feel as though they are being listened to.” 

Seeing the results of a regular reading habit

“Our students who are very avid readers are the ones who are making the most progress in class. They are able to guide a lot of their discussions within class. It helps develop different perspectives to the texts we read. 

“As an English teacher, you teach the same texts year-in and year-out, you sometimes become quite stifled in your own interpretations of the literature that we look at.

Our students come with their own experiences, their own perspectives and are able to shed new light and new meanings as to what relevance these texts still have in our community today.”  

Anieka Caynes, Team Leader for English at Lanfranc Archbishop AcademyAnieka Caynes, Team Leader for English at Lanfranc Archbishop Academy

Reading for pleasure and connection

“A lot of the time, especially when students get to secondary school, reading can be such an isolating activity. I’d love it if I went down to the canteen or to the playground and students were sitting down in small groups reading, and they had the ownership over that themselves. I really want our students to love reading just as much as they love some of their other passions.”

“What we hope students take away from the BookTrust Represents author visit today is to not be afraid of the written word, and to foster a culture of reading together. That I would really love to see.” 

Read the news story

To find out more about the impact school author visits have on student's motivations to read, read our latest schools evaluation report.