Case Studies

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.

Find out how Reading Leaders could improve reading ages and confidence in your school.

15 years dedicated to improving young people’s life chances

corpus-christi-presentation-photoSteve Mort – Headteacher, Freda Pollard – Reading Mentor, Gillian Batcup – Reading Mentor, Nicky Busby – School Librarian

Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds has two of our longest serving Reading Mentors in their school. Each one of them has worked with over ninety children during 15 years as a Reading Mentor, bringing about a big chance is reading skills and attitudes and enabling children to do better in all subjects at school.

Steve Mort, the Headteacher said ” The work of the Reading Mentors is important and invaluable, it helps reading across the whole of the curriculum.”

Gillian Batcup, a Reading Mentor, explains in her own words; “At Corpus Christi I found out why Reading Matters really makes a difference. It goes without saying that the ability to read is essential for the 11-13 year olds I work with otherwise they cannot keep up with their schoolwork and get depressed as they see their friends progressing but also so that they don’t miss out on the stories which fascinate their friends. All the pupils who come to us have different personalities and interests, and the special advantage of Reading Matters is that we can see the children on a one to one basis and design our sessions to suit them. It gives me particular pleasure to see their confidence grow over time and how their faces light up with interest and enthusiasm when the right topic has been chosen. We have lots of fun during the sessions too and play Scrabble frequently. In addition, instruction, I have learnt, works both ways. Where else would I have learnt about skydiving, formula one or the rules of football?!

Nicola Busby, the Librarian at Corpus Christi and the Reading Matters coordinator in school, added, “I see the amazing results the reading mentors achieve and I see the children flourish well in their later school life, with all subjects not just reading.”

Click here to find out how our Reading Mentors can help raise reading ages in your school.