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Pupils are inspired by 'extreme reading'
‘EXTREME reading’ is being used to help youngsters become bookworms.
St Joseph’s Primary School in Carterton is among the schools which has signed up to take part in the Oxford Mail-backed Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.
The school hopes to work with 20 youngsters on the project, increasing both the number achieving Level 2b and those getting a Level 3 at Key Stage 1.
This year 86 per cent of pupils achieved a Level 2 or above and 57 per cent a 2b or higher, but none reached Level 3.
Literacy co-ordinator Cheryl MacLennan said: “The hardest thing as a teacher is if somebody brings something new in and it is one more thing to add to the workload.
“But this project doesn’t feel like that, it feels like something we are going to be able to integrate naturally.”
Enya Malarky, five, said: “I like the pictures and the writing. I like scary stories. My favourite books are farming books.
“I like to read on my own but sometimes I read with mummy and daddy. I like to read at home in bed.”
The school is working on phonics across the entire school, and is already carrying out a range of activities to get youngsters enthused about books.
That includes an ‘extreme reading’ competition, where youngsters are encouraged to be photographed reading in unusual places, such as on the beach on holiday.
Staff read a class book with their children, which is often more challenging than one they would be able to read on their own.
This week a new boys’ reading club will launch.
The school has three volunteers from the Assisted Reading for Children project who work with Key Stage 2 children each week, and in the younger years, children are given an opportunity to read one to one at least four times a week, ideally every day.
Due to its location near RAF Brize Norton, the school has a high proportion of children from services families, around one in four, and 24 per cent of youngsters speak English as an additional language.
The vast majority of those are from Polish families.
The services link means the school regularly has children leaving or joining the school at different points in their education, which posse challenges in terms of continuity and gaps in knowledge.
Miss MacLennan said she wanted to bring as many children up to a Level 3 as possible.
She said; “When children have to sound out every single word, what happens in the story gets lost. We want children to become more fluent and develop a love of reading.”
She said it was crucial for teachers to act as role models for their budding readers.
She said: “It’s important for them to see us as readers and to make mistakes in words and to have to sound things out and to be able to talk about books with them.”
School governor Trish Davies will act as volunteer co-ordinator, while a teaching assistant to lead the intervention is still being identified.
The Oxfordshire Reading Campaign was launched by Oxfordshire County Council, backed by the Oxford Mail, to improve reading standards in the youngest children. The goals are to:
Improve the proportion of children who reach Level 2B at Key Stage 1 to 86 per cent – a rise of 12 percentage points.
Increase enjoyment of and confidence in reading.
Eighty-one schools across the county, chosen based on Key Stage 1 results over the past three years, are being invited to take part.
The campaign is being run by the National Literacy Trust and will involve:
A reading intervention programme called Project X Code working with Year 2 children in up to 81 county primaries.
Volunteers coming in to schools to read one-to-one with the children involved in the Project X Code programme.
Training and professional development for teachers, teaching assistants, literacy co-ordinators and headteachers.