A local school came up with a novel way to promote reading over the summer.
Students at Woodham Academy were invited to join a Reading Club, which granted them the opportunity to win a Kindle electronic reading book, books and book vouchers, if they agreed to keep a reading log over the six-week break.
The school – whose reading efforts were singled-out for praise by Ofsted recently – is keen to endorse reading as a life-time activity, rather than just something which is done during school time.
To do this they have installed a reading area, a library and employed specialist staff; diligent readers can also find themselves in receipt of one of the school’s annual reading awards, or can take part in their annual Book Exchange.
According to statistics from the Department for Education, one in five children in England cannot read effectively by the age of 11; and 16-24-year-olds have lower levels of literacy than almost anywhere else in the developed world.
This is not surprising, perhaps, given that only 26% of 10 year olds in Britain profess to ‘like’ reading, and only 37% of children in England read for pleasure on a daily basis.
Woodham Academy is seeking to redress this imbalance by rewarding those who continue to read for pleasure after their transition to secondary school, and by highlighting the importance of reading in achieving good exam grades and in being able to go on to the college, or the job, of their choice.
The school’s first priority was to ensure its pupils sustain their reading levels over the long summer break, rather than regress by the three months the government estimates, if they do not continue to read regularly.
Upon returning to school, Reading Club members will have continued to have their reading progress monitored and will be granted privileged access to the Reading Rooms during breaks and some evenings, to ensure they keep up their good habits.
In addition, a number of older students have agreed to act as Reading Ambassadors – to ensure the readers have everything they need to succeed.