Young bookworms in Daventry District focus on literacy following coronavirus lockdown

Young bookworms in Daventry have been celebrating the joy of reading.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:44 am
Children at Falconer's Hill enjoy reading.
Children at Falconer's Hill enjoy reading.

Four primary schools at the David Ross Education Trust are reflecting on the successes of their renewed focus on literacy following the lockdown.

Abbey CE Academy, Falconer’s Hill Academy, Newnham Primary School and Welton CE Academy have focused on placing reading at the heart of their curriculum, and so raise the profile of literacy for pupils, staff and parents.

School leaders have organised twice-weekly ‘reading for pleasure’ sessions for each class. Pupils are able to choose their preferred book for these sessions from a suggested shortlist, including The Girl Who Spoke Bear by Sophie Anderson, Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, Wonder by RJ Palacio and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Falconer's Hill pupils love a good read.

Pupils also spend time each day listening to their class teacher model reading from their classroom novel, helping them develop their vocabulary and ensuring every pupil has an opportunity to watch an adult read. Pupils are also challenged to read for pleasure at home, using specially generated QR codes to log their reading and track their progress. The DRET10 challenge pushes pupils to read 10 books from an age-appropriate shortlist each term, motivating them with the spirit of competition to push themselves to new levels.

The aim is to ensure every pupil develops the love of literature which will help them unlock the rest of the curriculum. Confident readers are able to bring that ability into their wider learning and will use the skills developed here to better engage with other subjects while at school.

Jane Wade, Principal at Abbey CE Academy, said: “Our pupils really understand why developing their reading is so important, and they’ve responded so well to our efforts to focus on reading across the school."

She said children are encouraged to read for pleasure at school and at home.

Learning made fun at Falconer's Hill.

Angela Rock, Principal at Falconer’s Hill Academy, said: “When you walk around the school you can see how engaged the children are in their reading for pleasure sessions – it’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop! It’s fantastic to see so many pupils really getting an increased appetite for reading and coming to their teachers asking for new recommendations.”

Sol Johnson, Principal at Newnham Primary School and Welton CE Academy, said having this focus on reading has been important for pupil's development - not just for their literacy but to help them reach new levels of understanding across the wider curriculum.

He added: "The pupils have responded to it really enthusiastically and it’s great to see so many children enjoy their reading on a daily basis.”

Simon Rose, Director of Primary at the David Ross Education Trust, said: “Following the return to school after lockdown we wanted reading to be at the heart of our curriculum, and to work with every pupil to develop a love of literature."