Every year the Support for Learning department runs a Paired Reading Programme for a significant number of S.1 pupils. The aim is to encourage a reading habit and enhance fluency and understanding. S.1 pupils on the programme are paired with S.6 partners and they meet weekly to read a book chosen from a wide selection in our department.
We find that, over the course of the year, these sessions increase the confidence of the pupils, which helps them across the whole curriculum. There are also benefits for S.6 pupils. Agreeing to do Paired Reading is a serious commitment and shows that our seniors are willing to give up some of their study time to make a difference to the youngest pupils in our school. The weekly sessions help them to develop their own ‘people skills’ and they often feel that their own confidence has increased through helping someone else.
When the programme ends in April, many of the pupils will have established a strong reading habit which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
The Support for Learning department runs a Literacy programme every year for a small group of S.1 pupils who we feel would benefit from a more structured approach to improving their reading skills. Part of each lesson is spent developing word attack skills through phonics. The main focus is on reading and understanding, so we have a wide range of high interest plays and short novels which engage the pupils’ interest.
The programme usually runs from October through to the Easter holidays. By the time it ends we hope to see an increase in the reading ages of the pupils in the group. We also hope that increased confidence will lead to them being more willing to have a go when they face more challenging texts in class.
The texts we use
We use a lot of Barrington Stoke books in our department. They are designed to be accessible for readers with dyslexic type difficulties, but are good for any child who is a reluctant reader. The books are all written by well-known, established authors, so the stories are high quality. The font has been designed to be easy to read and the cream coloured paper is easier to focus on than white paper. If anyone would like to check out these books you can find the catalogue at www.barringtonstoke.co.uk.