The Watkinson Library: Enabling reading to thrive
December 5, 2022

The Watkinson Library is a core area for learning at Rydal Penrhos and is enabling reading to thrive within Years 7-11.

Our incredible staff are constantly exploring avenues to enhance the provision of Rydal Penrhos pupils. This is done in accordance with the school’s long-term strategic development plan and is bringing outstanding development across all year groups in addition to exceptional examination results consistently.

One prominent feature that became a priority during recent upgrades across the site is The Watkinson Library, which bears the name of the much-loved Peter Watkinson, Rydal School’s Headmaster from 1968-1991 who sadly passed away in August 2020.

Originally a library, the room was later used as a teaching space, it returned to its roots and is now the library for those pupils in Years 7-11.

The Watkinson Library is the hub of the school’s new accelerated reading scheme, Renaissance Accelerated Reader, which aims both to improve ability and to encourage pupils to engage in independent reading.

A key principle of the scheme is that reading ability is most effectively improved when the difficulty of the material falls in a happy medium between too challenging and not challenging enough.

Renaissance Accelerated Reader calls this happy medium the “Zone of Proximal Development” and the scheme’s whitepaper describes it as the range of difficulty in which pupils “are challenged and presented with new vocabulary, but are also given enough context to construct meaning without being frustrated”.

The scheme is part of a wider strategy at Rydal Penrhos that builds reading into pupils’ daily routines. There are also specified library sessions, and the Watkinson Library now has a dedicated reading room – a calm and cosy space where pupils can sit and read comfortably.

Mr Steve Williams, who is Language, Literacy and Communications faculty leader at Rydal Penrhos, said: “The Watkinson Library is a significant asset to our pupils. One that promotes reading and its importance during an ever-increasing digital age.

“We were thrilled to receive a donation from the Watkinson family to assist the next generation of pupils with their development. Something that will become an integral part of the wide-ranging academic provision throughout our wonderful senior school site.”


Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos School can do so by calling 01492 530155, emailing admissions@rydalpenrhos.com or registering your interest online.

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