Reading Leaders help reading ages to soar at Longsands Academy
Reading Leader and partner working together at Longsands Academy
Reading Matters has trained a cohort of Reading Leaders every year at Longsands Academy since 2014. The programme works brilliantly in the school and the results are inspiring, with reading ages improving, in some cases, by 5 or 6 years!
Mark Seymour, the Assistant Head Teacher with a special responsibility for literacy and interventions, explains how the programme works at Longsands; “We select year 8 pupils who have been through other reading interventions during year 7 but still require additional support” he says. “Reading Leaders is then used as the sole literacy intervention undertaken by these children in year 8”.
The school selects volunteers from year 12 to be the Reading Leaders and pairs them with year 8 pupils who struggle with reading. Due to the school timetable, the reading sessions between the peer mentors and their partners take place once a week for around 45 minutes, from November through to Easter.
Mark is confident leaving the Reading Leaders to organise their mentoring sessions on their own, using their own initiative; “I just leave it to them, they do it all independently”. He believes that the success of the Reading Leaders scheme is due to the ease of communication between peers and the bond which develops through working in a partnership.
“There was one boy, Tom*, who was a very reluctant reader. I put a lot of thought into who might work with him, as I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, and chose Sam*. Sam was obviously a ‘cool’ and well-respected kid who understood the importance of reading. Tom’s reading age improved from 8 years and 8 months to 11 years and 2 months. When I told Sam the results, he had tears in his eyes! He had been the perfect role-model for Tom and was able to totally change Tom’s attitude to reading. Tom even admits to loving reading now!” *Names have been changed.