The VCE Book Club Story

VCE English text comprehension is vital, but it’s something most students struggle with.

As a teacher, tutor, parent and book lover, it’s something I’ve seen over and again.

VCE Book Club is an idea that’s been a long time coming. It was a flash of inspiration in a lightbulb moment that’s been over 40 years in the making.

Allow me to explain… and in order to do so, please indulge me a moment with a snippet of my CV.

I’m Amanda Kendall:

  • I’m a qualified VCE teacher specialising in English and Media
  • As VCE Coordinator, I led staff teams and developed programs to support students’ study success
  • I’ve tutored high school students for over a decade
  • I ran my own business Punctuate Writing & Editing for eight years
  • I received high distinctions for my university studies of classic and modern literature…
  • and accolades for my work in both secondary school and tertiary educational settings
  • I invested my own time and resources to mentor English teachers in our neighbouring developing nation of Vanuatu.

VCE English text comprehension is vital, but it’s something most students struggle with.

As a teacher, tutor, parent and book lover, it’s something I’ve seen over and again.

amanda-kendall

VCE Book Club is an idea that’s been a long time coming. It was a flash of inspiration in a lightbulb moment that’s been over 40 years in the making.

Allow me to explain… and in order to do so, please indulge me a moment with a snippet of my CV.

I’m Amanda Kendall:

  • I’m a qualified VCE teacher specialising in English and Media
  • As VCE Coordinator, I led staff teams and developed programs to support students’ study success
  • I’ve tutored high school students for over a decade
  • I ran my own business Punctuate Writing & Editing for eight years
  • I received high distinctions for my university studies of classic and modern literature…
  • and accolades for my work in both secondary school and tertiary educational settings
  • I invested my own time and resources to mentor English teachers in our neighbouring developing nation of Vanuatu.

You can see I’ve been blessed to share my love of words and learning. And you’re no doubt beginning to form a picture of the origins of VCE Book Club.

But this is only part of the story.

Early chapters

Apparently before I could even talk, I would cry in my cot for another bedtime story. Mum and dad read voraciously, loved words and our home was drenched in them. I was fed on poetry and puns and nurtured with English humour. Spike Milligan, Fawlty Towers, A. A. Milne and The Goon Show were frequent guests.

I fondly recall eagerly awaiting the arrival of the library van as it lumbered into our small country town each month; the three of us girls (mum, me and my little sister Juliet) would arm ourselves with as many books as we were allowed to borrow.

One primary school year I kept a list of the number of books I read; it surpassed 300 novels. I read everything from Enid Blyton to Jane Austen and couldn’t get enough.

I’m so grateful for my upbringing. We weren’t wealthy, and my friends thought my parents were strange in listening to symphonies and only allowing us to watch the ABC.

In fact, for much of my childhood we didn’t even own a television set. But I have the best memories of sitting around the fire after dinner as my mother read chapters of intriguing adventures to the family.

Of course we live in different times and the world has changed.

Not everyone has the opportunity to discover the joy of reading, and I know that not everyone wants to take it up even when it is presented.

Enter the chapter called Mum. I’ve had my own teenagers – a son and a daughter – go through the education system.

They’re inspiring, grounded, talented kids with big hearts. Strangely neither shared my passion for books and words, and English was never a favourite subject.

And this story is not unique; I’ve taught hundreds of high school students who for whatever reason just didn’t connect with English study, or lost that childhood spark for reading as they moved through the school system.

I know firsthand the struggles of the reluctant reader… and the frustrations of their parents!

This is why I say VCE Book Club was a lightbulb moment 40 years in the making.

It’s a culmination of my love of learning, love of reading, love of helping students to enjoy a story and love of supporting teachers in the amazing work they do.

I’m passionate about this unique approach to English tutoring… of providing text-focused personalised 1+1 sessions for Year 7-12 high school students that allow readers to take the time to explore their text together, and concentrated VCE text explorations through our summer VCE Deep Dive series.

It’s not just about improving grades.

If I can help a student understand a story, they just might enjoy it.

And if they find themselves lost in its pages, they may reach for another.

amanda-kendall

Apparently before I could even talk, I would cry in my cot for another bedtime story. Mum and dad read voraciously, loved words and our home was drenched in them. I was fed on poetry and puns and nurtured with English humour. Spike Milligan, Fawlty Towers, A. A. Milne and The Goon Show were frequent guests.

I fondly recall eagerly awaiting the arrival of the library van as it lumbered into our small country town each month; the three of us girls (mum, me and my little sister Juliet) would arm ourselves with as many books as we were allowed to borrow.

early-reader

One primary school year I kept a list of the number of books I read; it surpassed 300 novels. I read everything from Enid Blyton to Jane Austen and couldn’t get enough.

I’m so grateful for my upbringing. We weren’t wealthy, and my friends thought my parents were strange in listening to symphonies and only allowing us to watch the ABC.

In fact, for much of my childhood we didn’t even own a television set. But I have the best memories of sitting around the fire after dinner as my mother read chapters of intriguing adventures to the family.

Of course we live in different times and the world has changed.

Not everyone has the opportunity to discover the joy of reading, and I know that not everyone wants to take it up even when it is presented.

Enter the chapter called Mum. I’ve had my own teenagers – a son and a daughter – go through the education system.

kids

They’re inspiring, grounded, talented kids with big hearts. Strangely neither shared my passion for books and words, and English was never a favourite subject.

And this story is not unique; I’ve taught hundreds of high school students who for whatever reason just didn’t connect with English study, or lost that childhood spark for reading as they moved through the school system.

I know firsthand the struggles of the reluctant reader… and the frustrations of their parents!

This is why I say VCE Book Club was a lightbulb moment 40 years in the making.

It’s a culmination of my love of learning, love of reading, love of helping students to enjoy a story and love of supporting teachers in the amazing work they do.

I’m passionate about this unique approach to English tutoring… of providing text-focused personalised 1+1 sessions for Year 7-12 high school students that allow readers to take the time to explore their text together, and concentrated VCE text explorations through our summer VCE Deep Dive series.

It’s not just about improving grades.

If I can help a student understand a story, they just might enjoy it.

And if they find themselves lost in its pages, they may reach for another.

amanda-kendall