Today I introduced the first of the 2nd year classes to Challenge X, an initiative created by school librarians, including myself, a while back as a grown up version of the summer reading scheme.

Our English department has an incredibly busy term ahead so we’re introducing Challenge X as a little downtime with a little encouraging reading time, with library visits once a fortnight to review challenges completed and change books over.

Reading the faces of 2nd year this morning, they are not impressed. I explain that it’s a way to learn about the local area or beyond as they choose, that it’s a way to practise existing skills or learn new ones, that it will stand them in good stead whenever research is required and that above all else, we want it to be FUN!

Nope, not impressed.

However, I remain confident: the wee pilot session we ran a year ago was very popular, so I stop talking and let them go explore the website.

Except that exploring the website isn’t helping, mainly because they’re not listening to what I’m saying – which of course also suggests I’m not saying it in a way that they’ll listen. There are endless girns of

Do we have to?
Can I not just make something up?
Why do we have to do this?
This isn’t working!

And then suddenly, they stop complaining and start asking proper questions about what they are allowed to do. And then they cheer up, and start getting stuck in, and then the best question of all.

Can we do some of this at home?

Looks like it might work out after all. Most of them saw the book as an additional element rather than being an integral part of the process, but we can work on that.