A school in Berinsfield is celebrating its collaboration with an Oxfordshire reading charity this National Storytelling Week.

Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh) provides a tailored reading and mentoring solution for primary school students in Oxfordshire.

Its representatives have recently provided a selection of new books to Abbey Woods Academy and a team of volunteers is currently engaged in reading these books with the students.

ARCh reading mentors are subjected to professional training, significantly improving the reading experiences of struggling children with their formula that builds on these children's self-esteem and literacy capabilities over a year.

The charity estimates around 20 per cent of children in the county leave primary school with a reading level below expected and they say this has worsened following the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

Reading is encouraged daily at Abbey Woods Academy, with the belief that it greatly enhances the reading success rate of children.

Encouraging parents to partake in this initiative, the school has opened invitations to parents of children in their nursery and reception to a phonics workshop which showcases their teaching methodology and how it could be implemented at home.

Grants have ushered in the advent of an initiative with the Story Museum in Oxford and students are participating in the 'Spellbound Schools' partnership which seeks to instil a enjoyment for reading and storytelling.

The academy was also recently the site of a pop-up bookshop, courtesy of the Children’s Book Project.

This charity, with operations across the UK, redistributes thousands of books, both new and lightly used, to children and their families.

Sophie Charter, headteacher at Abbey Woods Academy, said: "Reading is fundamental to the education of children, but we also want our pupils to enjoy hearing and making up their own stories.

"Working with ARCh is fantastic as they help make sure that every child is where they need to be with their reading, which means they can achieve better in their lessons, and it encourages their imagination to develop too."

National Storytelling Week takes place annually, this year from January 27 to February 4, and is a celebration of telling stories and the varying ways it supports our understanding of the world.

It also encourages people to foster empathy whilst providing a transformative escape through the development of literacy skills.

Abbey Woods caters for approximately 200 pupils, aged 3 to 11 and was rated Good by Ofsted in June 2023.

Inspectors noted that pupils are happy and motivated to try their best because leaders have created a culture in which pupils’ achievements are promoted and celebrated.