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NEWS > Academic > How Reading Empowers Students to Find Their Voice: LN Girls Making Their Mark on the World

How Reading Empowers Students to Find Their Voice: LN Girls Making Their Mark on the World

This Book Week, one leading Sydney girls' school showcases how reading serves as a catalyst for students to find their voice and speak out on issues they are passionate about.
22 Aug 2022
Australia
Academic
Primary Students in the Teresa Ball Library
Primary Students in the Teresa Ball Library

Loreto Normanhurst advocates for the benefits of reading as an enabler to empower students to find their voices and advocate for the voiceless.

  • Research indicates that schools that support and encourage students to utilise their voice experience positive outcomes for relationships, leadership, and decision-making.
  • Embedded programs within the Loreto Normanhurst English Curriculum include the Year 9 Women Speak Up Unit and speech competition, where students learn that their words and voices are powerful tools to exercise the defence of others and to speak out against injustices.
  • These programs prepare students to compose and articulate a position, craft writing effectively and communicate with clarity in their educational journey and as they enter the professional workforce.
  • Loreto’s student voices are showcased extensively in the student-led school publication, The Mary Word.

As Book Week 2022 (20th - 26th August) continues, Loreto Normanhurst provides timely insight into the benefits of reading, including how it empowers students to find their voices and serves as advocates for the voiceless.

With an understanding of the sense of positive self-worth that comes from feeling your voice is being heard, Loreto Normanhurst encourages students to find their voice and make their mark on the world through an innovative English curriculum and robust extra-curricular opportunities – advocating that reading remains at the heart of students finding this voice.

“At Loreto Normanhurst, we place emphasis on the holistic education of our girls and young women to prepare them to find their voice and speak it, within our community and beyond.”

“We advocate passionately for the educational and academic benefits of regular reading and how this firm grasp of the English language enables our girls to better understand the complexities of our world and to express opinions and emotional reactions with confidence and clarity,” said Principal, Ms Marina Ugonotti.

This view is supported by research indicating that schools that support and encourage students to find and utilise their voice experience positive outcomes for relationships, leadership, and decision-making.

Ms Ugonotti continues, “words and voices are powerful tools to exercise in the defence of others and to speak out against injustices. We empower our girls to find a voice that is gentle and strong, a voice that speaks for those without a voice, and a voice that needs to be heard in all places where decisions are being made.”

Supported through a dedicated Year 9 English curriculum unit, Women Speak Up, Loreto Normanhurst students learn that their words and voices are powerful tools to exercise the defence of others and to speak out against injustices. As a collective, these programs contribute to the holistic educational focus that prepares students to compose and articulate a position, craft writing effectively and communicate with clarity in their educational journey and as they enter the professional workforce.

“In our contemporary world, we must prepare students to navigate the challenges that face them outside of the classroom. By encouraging our girls to read for pleasure and engage in class and discussions with critical thinking and curiosity, we know they are better prepared to find their voices and speak passionately about the issues they personally care about,” said Ms Ugonotti.

Loreto Normanhurst students are supported to find their voice confidently and in a considered way through the student-led school publication, The Mary Word. Founded in 2015 as a way of giving students more of a voice, the legacy of The Mary Word continues to encourage students to voice their thoughts on topical issues such as feminism, diversity, and social justice.

The Mary Word student-led initiative exemplifies how students can not only find their voices but use them to design learning experiences through participation in extra-curricular activities. As part of the initiative, students from Years 5 to 12 meet each week to produce content for the newspaper and digital site.

A united approach to the benefits and enjoyment of reading also sees both students and staff at Loreto Normanhurst given an opportunity to participate in Literature Clubs, including the Chapter Chicks Student Book Club and Staff Book Club. ​

Loreto Normanhurst also proudly participates in the Write a Book in a Day competition. The initiative sees students in the primary and secondary school gather in the library to be writers, illustrators, and editors for the day and create a book in just twelve hours.

Loreto Normanhurst will celebrate Book Week 2022 with an array of exciting in-school events, including a visit from children’s author Ellie Laing. Laing will address the senior school assembly to share stories of her work and words of wisdom with budding student writers. The week will also include interactive library displays and a book parade for Primary students.

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