At Colonel Frank Seely Academy, we recognise that the development of student’s fluency, confidence and enjoyment of reading is a key ingredient in their future success, both academically and emotionally.
Why encourage reading?
Of the many benefits, here are a few examples: Research by the National Literacy Trust (2017) has found that young people who enjoy reading are more likely to do better than their peers who do not enjoy it. ‘Children who read books often at 10 and more than once a week at 16 gain higher results in exams in maths and English than those who do not read regularly’. One of the reasons for this is the high average reading age of examination papers that students will all have to be able to access in their GCSE examinations.
In addition, children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than those who do not. There is also a range of research that has proven links to future economic wellbeing with those who have a solid foundation in regular reading and access to books in early life.
How do we help?
Here at CFSA we run a range of strategies to help students. Our school library is very well resourced and has recently been reorganised in an exciting way with books categorised into genres. This enables our young people to find the type of books that appeal to them and can inspire them to borrow more books. The library is open at break and lunchtimes and a number of clubs are on offer to encourage students to spend more time in the library. Homework club runs every day in the library until 4.15pm and students are welcome to come in and read and choose books to borrow at that time. Our librarian Ms Tinney is very friendly and happy to make recommendations to students. She is currently inviting a number of Year 9 and 10 students in pairs to meet with her to discuss the types of books they might like to borrow and encourage them to read more.
All students in years 7, 8 and 9 visit the library fortnightly with their English teacher to choose books and have some dedicated reading time. We also run the Accelerated Reader programme, which has quizzes for every book read and students are able to earn house point and win prizes to read reward regular reading.
Each day we run Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) for 15 minutes where everyone in years 7 to 9 and their teachers have some quality reading time. There is also dedicated tutor time for DEAR on a weekly basis, and this will sometimes involve group reading in of an interesting article or extract from fiction linked to the weekly assembly theme. This not only develops fluency and skills, but also sparks interesting collaborative debate.
Encouraging boys to read is one of our core priorities as data has shown us that boys are falling below girls in terms of average reading ages. We have adopted a number of strategies to further engage boys’ enjoyment with reading, for example, we recently welcomed best-selling author and former SAS hero Chris Ryan to speak to year 9 students.
How can you help at home?
- Please take an interest in what your son or daughter is reading.
- Ask them to talk to you about what they have read each day.
- Check that they have their reading book ready to bring to school.
- If you see that they have been reading the same book for a long time, check with them if they need to change it.
- If your child is in year 7 or 8, check their reading record. It is an expectation that students bring these to school every day as part of their daily equipment.
- Try to ensure that there is plenty of reading material available in the home, including newspapers and other non-fiction. Your local library is free to use, well resourced and will have some extended opening hours to fit in with busy working lives.
Please also bear in mind that reading a paper book or using a Kindle encourages relaxation far more than a television screen or other technology intense activity e.g. using social media or playing computer games. Therefore, switching off the screens in the hours before bedtime and reading instead each day will really help your child’s mental and emotional well-being.
If you have any further questions about reading and how you can best support your child, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mrs Callingham, our Reading and Literacy Co-ordinator.
Mrs R Graves