READING for pleasure is top of the agenda at a Purbrook school which boasts a new state-of-the-art facility.
The colourful reading room at Purbrook Park School features thousands of new titles, newspapers, magazines, and comfortable seating for children to get engrossed in the pages of a book.
The school has split its old library into a reading room, a computer room and a conference room.
Staff and pupils have worked together to revamp the space.
One of the leading lights has been former pupil Daniel Hughes, 16, who juggled his studies with helping to design the new reading room.
He is studying for A-levels at South Downs College but volunteers to work in the reading room.
Daniel volunteered to be a librarian several years ago when he was in Year 8 at Purbrook Park.
He helped to kit out the reading room and is pleased with the results.
‘The old resource centre was a good facility but looked quite tired,’ said Daniel.
‘There was a lot of clutter. It hadn’t been refurbished for about 21 years. Now it’s better use of the space.’
Daniel, who was a late reader in his childhood, said volunteering in the library had been very rewarding.
‘In Year 8, I was shy at school,’ said Daniel, of Applewood Grove, Widley.
‘I thought it would be an opportunity to meet more people and learn new skills.
‘That’s exactly what it was. Now I’m quite happy to stand in front of hundreds of people and give presentations. It’s had a positive impact on me.’
This month the school, in Park Avenue, will be launching an Accelerated Reader programme, beginning with Year 7.
Pupils will regularly visit the reading room during English lessons and be encouraged to find, borrow and read a book they love.
Books will be colour-coded to help pupils find books that suit their ability best.
When they have finished reading the book they will complete an online quiz.
This will provide information to help them find what to read next.
Eighty eight per cent of pupils achieved A* to C in English in 2012.
Daniel added: ‘We’re hoping Accelerated Reading will help increase the number of pupils that choose to read for pleasure, improving essential literacy skills that too many children still leave school without.
‘This should help to increase English results further in the future.’