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Shelfield Virtual Library

During the national school closures, the academy created The Lockdown Library. It provides links to reading resources and useful webpages to help students keep reading. This provides a range of useful links and content for readers at any time and there is something for everyone.

Students and staff have been submitting their Letters from Lockdown. We have compiled an Anthology which documents their thoughts, feelings and musings. Click here to view it.

Welcome to the Virtual School Library, brought you by Oak National Academy in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.


The Importance of Reading 

Escapism and distraction:

Reading is a great way to completely block out any worries or anxieties about the current situation, and a chance to lose yourself in a different time, world, universe or reality


Literature is all about what it means to be human. Books can often teach us things about ourselves, allow us to see that our worries or anxieties are not just ours, and offer us advice about the complex business of our lives.

To keep practising an important skill:

Like anything, the more you practise reading, the better you get at it!

Listen to a free Book Read a comic/graphic novel Make a trailer for a book – an animation, GIF, Powerpoint with voice over, or a clip of you talking about your book. Please share!

Read aloud to a member of your family – in your house or on Facetime!

Write a review of something you have read and send it to…

Read a book set in a different time or place

Read in the garden or on your balcony

Try the top 100 Classics for Children


Make a miniature book

Re-read an old favourite

Have a god at creating a bookspine poem

How to create bookspine poetry


Watch a play


What should I read?

  • Whatever you like. Old favourites, graphic novels, non-fiction, fan fiction online – this is reading for pleasure and to just keep the habit going. If you want to challenge yourself and read something a little bit different, check out the reading lists – and see if it’s going cheap on Kindle or Amazon! If you read something over 100 years old, it is often available on the internet as it will be out of copy-write.
  • Look at the different reading lists on this page


I haven’t got much choice at home – where can I get books from?

There are many free books out there:

  • Audible Books –listen to books for free


Sometimes I find it hard to concentrate and get into a book!

  • You don’t have to read it all at once. Start with 10 minutes, and give yourself a reward after! Forming a habit involves having a cue and a reward. The cue might be finding somewhere comfortable and quiet and going there specifically to read, or making yourself a drink or a snack to have while you’re reading. You could set a challenge for yourself to read a certain number of pages – it’s really good to feel like you’ve achieved a goal and it’ll make you more likely to want to do it again!
  • You could have a look at the reading challenges for your year group –remember you get rewards from Mrs Dunn and your English teachers!
  • How about not reading at all, and choosing an audio book instead?


I find it hard to finish a long book! 

Try these shorter reads:

A Fable

A Problem with no Solution

Lots of short stories

Welcome to the Virtual School Library, brought you by Oak National Academy in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Most of you have had some opportunity to take part on lessons delivered by Oak Academy. The good news is that they also have a fantastic virtual library!

Every week a popular children's author or illustrator will provide you with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads.

Having access to a school library is really important. Oak Academy Virtual School Library complements our school library and ensures that you have access to the magical world of stories all year round.


Parents - Welcome to the Virtual Library


We want to make sure your children are reading  – as we know how much reading abilities and regular reading habits can positively impact on children’s attainment in school. The Shelfield Virtual Library aims to try and continue to promote reading, and offer support to parents to help their children with their reading.

Reading is a crucial and important skill to help boost children’s attainment. Education research consistently tells us that children who read outside of school have an increased chance of achieving and succeeding in school.

We are under no illusions about how hard it is to get reluctant children and teenagers to read when a phone screen, or tablet, or games console offers easy and instant gratification. If your child has never really enjoyed reading, and sees it as something they consider as ‘work’ getting them to start can be a challenge.

We Are a Reading Community

Our challenge is to create a culture where reading is seen as not only something that we all do for pleasure, but also something which we understand can help us to improve and succeed in all subjects.

How can you help?

  1. Encourage your child to switch off devices half an hour before they go to bed, and read instead. It’s a habit, and they only need 20-30 minutes a night regularly. Start with shorter times if needed. Taking away the blue light will also ensure that your child gets better quality sleep, allowing the brain to process the day’s learning and ensure what they have learned is remembered.
  2. Use rewards to help motivate your child to read if they are reluctant, and praise and encourage them as they read
  3. Talk to your child about your reading habits, or books you enjoyed at their age
  4. Take advantage of all the amazing free reading resources online during the lockdown – see below.
  5. Read to your child – you’d be surprised how much even grumpy pre-teenagers actually like being read to – even if you think they are too old for it
  6. Let them listen to audio books as an alternative
  7. Encourage them to read non-fictiongraphic novels , comics or magazines – everything helps. Similarly, don’t comment on their choice of book even if you think it is too easy – get them reading first, and they are more likely to move onto more challenging reads later.
  8. Ask them about their reading. Get them to read their favourite bit to you. Ask them questions about what they think will happen next. Borrow their books and read them and then discuss them.

What if my child is a reluctant reader?

A useful blog if your child struggles to read. Although aimed at younger children, it has some very reassuring advice for those parents struggling to get their boys reading!

What is out there for free?

Audible books for free

Other reading themes resources:


If you have younger children, there are also lots of interesting reading activities online for them:


Our Shelfield Librarian Mrs Dunn recommends..... 

Developing and Extending that passion for their Subjects


1984 – George Orwell
A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Anita and Me – Meera Syal
Atonement – Ian McEwen
Beowulf – trans. Seamus Heany
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Enigma – Robert Harris
Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerlad
Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Illiad – Homer
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Junk – Melvin Burgess
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde 3
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
Refugee Boy – Benjamin Zephania
The Road – Cormac McArthy
Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Lewis Stevenson
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Touching the Void – Joe Simpson
The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
Ulysses – James Joyce
The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells
The Wasp Factory – Ian Banks
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
Woman in Black – Susan Hill
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

History KS3

Malorie Blackman , ‘ Noughts and Crosses’ series
H M Castor, ‘VIII’
Laurie Halse Anderson, ‘Chains’
Lois Lowry, ‘Number the Stars’
Libby Bray, ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’
Harper Lee,’ To Kill a Mockingbird’
John Boyne, ’The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’
Sally Nicholls, ‘All Fall Down’
John F Hanley, ‘Against the Tide’
Catherine Johnson, ’Sawbones’
Celia Rees, ‘Witch Child’ and ‘The Fool’s Girl’
Elizabeth Wein, ‘Code Name Verity’
Berlie Doherty, ‘Children of Winter’
Terry Deary, ‘Horrible Histories’ series
Various authors, ‘My Story’ series

History KS4 and KS5

Harper Lee, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Go Set a Watchman’
Kathryn Stockett, ‘The Help’
Deborah Wiles, ‘Revolution’
C J Sansome, The ‘Shardlake’ Series
Hilary Mantel (A Level), ‘Wolf Hall’, ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, ‘The Mirror and the Light’
Alison Weir, ‘The Lady Elizabeth’
Jennifer A Nielsen, ‘A Night Divided’
S E Hinton, ‘The Outsiders’
Ellen Emerson White, The ’Echo Company’ series
Arthur Miller (A Level), ‘Death of a Salesman’
Sharon M Draper, ‘Stella by Starlight’
Richard Wright, ’Native Son’
F Scott Fitzgerald, ‘The Great Gatsby’

Psychology KS5

Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre : How pharmaceutical companies employ sneaky techniques to make their drugs look better than they are.

Forever Today – Deborah Wearing : True story of a famous amnesiac patient, Clive Wearing.

Man (Dis)connected – Philip Zimbardo : Why men are failing in modern society.

Opening Skinner’s Box – Lauren Slater : A collection of short summaries of famous Psychological studies

Patient H.M – Like Dittrich : The most famous case study in Psychology, H.M.

Shrinks – Jeffrey A.Lierberman : The history of mental health treatment

Tell Me I’m Here – Anne Deveson : True story of a mother whose son has Schizophrenia

The Bigamist – Mary Turner Thomson : A true story of a woman’s life with a Psychopath

The Brian that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge, MD : How our brains are plastic and can physically change throughout our lives

The Brain: The Story of You – David Eagleman : How the brain influences our behaviour.

The Lucifer Effect – Philip Zimbardo : The Stanford Prison study


Alex’s Adventures in Number Land – Alex Bellos

Alex Through The Looking Glass – Alex Bellos

The Code Book – Simon Singh

 Fermat’s Last Theorem – Simon Singh

1089 and all that – David Acheson

The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus: The Mathematics of Christmas – Dr Thomas Oléron Evans, Hannah Fry

The GCHQ Puzzle Books


A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

The Blind Watchmaker – Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

The Gene  – Siddhartha Mukherjee

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World – Rachel Ignotofsky

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba

The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond – Christophe Galfard

Fun Science: A Guide to Life, The Universe & Why Science Is So Awesome – Charlie McDonnell



Horrible Geography book collection – Anita Ganeri

Endangered – Eliot Schrefer

Disaster Dossiers series e.g. Earthquakes – Anne Rooney

Graphic Expeditions series e.g. Getting to the Bottom of Global Warming – Terry Collins

Red Rock – Kate Kelly

Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thunberg

How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time – Will McCallum

Our Planet – Alastair Fothergill, Fred Pearce, and Keith Scholey

Where on earth? Geography without all the boring bits –Jim Doyle

The Man who Cycled the World –Mark Beaumont

The Accidental Adventurer –Ben Fogle

Factfulness – Hans Rosling

The Scramble for Africa–Thomas Pakenham

Geography – Danny Dorling and Carl Lee

Around the World in 80 Days

There is no Planet B – Mike Berners-Lee

World Development – Barry Baker

Adventures in the Anthropocene

This is Planet earth – New scientist instant expert

Beyond the Map – Alastair Bonnet

Canoeing in the Congo – Phil Harwood

Prisoners of Geography – Tim Marshall

The Bottom Billion – Paul Collier



Mary Glasgow Magazines                            

Toro, Toro by Michael Morpurgo (in English)

Spanish children’s stories

¿Qué Tal?        Any title in the Coleccion Mini Larousse series

Ahora  Any title in the DK series Teen Reader -Spanish for example Amigos Virtuales

Ahora / El sol  Crónicas de una muerte anunciada – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

El sol    Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseño a volar – Luis Sepulveda

La Sombra del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruis Zafón

Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamis) by Javier Cercas



Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance – Alex Hutchinson

The Sports Gene: Talent, Practice and the Truth About Success – David Epstein

Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance: The Surprising Truth About Success – Matthew Syed

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice – Matthew Syed

Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcom Gladwell

Luck: A Fresh Look At Fortune – Ed Smith

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs – Damiel Coyle

Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar – David millar

Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen – Christopher McDougall



  • She Means Business by Carrie Green – Carrie started her first online business at the age of 20—she knows what it’s like to be an ambitious and creative woman with big dreams and huge determination . . . but she also knows the challenges of starting and running a business, including the fears, overwhelm, confusion, and blocks that entrepreneurs face.
  • The Economist offers authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology and the connections between them.
  • BBC – The latest BBC Business News: breaking personal finance, company, financial and economic news, plus insight and analysis
  • tutor2u – Partners with teachers & schools to help students maximise their performance in important exams & fulfil their potential
  • Free download as Powerpoint Presentation (.ppt), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or view presentation slides online.
  • A student and teacher business studies resource center including case studies, theory, teaching materials and lesson plans
  • Business Review – Philip Allan
  • What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography by Lord Alan Sugar
  • Anyone Can Do It: My Story by Duncan Bannatyne



  • Power Of Computational Thinking, The: Games, Magic And Puzzles To Help You Become A Computational Thinker by Prof Paul Curzon
  • Problem Solving with Flowcharts & a little flavour of Programming with Python by Achla Agarwal, Krishna Agarwal, Laura Gladrich, Mark Gladrich
  • com/courses/learn-sql Online tutorials to read and practise SQL database programming
  • My Revision Notes OCR Computing for GCSE Computer Systems and Programming By Sean O’Byrne & George Rouse


When you have enjoyed some of your reading why not write a book review of no more than 150 words and submit it to or see Mrs Dunn for more opportunities