The Half Term break gave me the opportunity to spend more time on one of my favourite activities: reading. I am currently half-way through the four-volume work by Elena Ferrante and have been transported into the world of two girls growing up in a poor suburb of Naples. I have decided to read it in Italian and realised just how much I have missed reading literature in another language and how, although as wonderful a translations can be, the choice of words, the flow of the idiom and the turn of phrase will not have the same effect on the reader if not read in the original language.
How lucky our pupils are that they already have access to reading in another language! Our DEAR project (Drop Everything And Read) sees pupils reading in silence three times a week in tutorials with their tutors. It was an initiative I brought over from an International School in Rome, Italy where I taught many years ago. The idea is that everyone in the School reads at the same time for about fifteen minutes and there is beautiful silence when you could literally hear a pin drop. No mobiles, no computers, no talking; just people visiting places and new worlds. As Rebecca Solnit has eloquently written: ‘a book is a heart that beats in the chest of another.’