Reading ages rocket as Reading Leaders take off at Longsands Academy

17 Nov Reading ages rocket as Reading Leaders take off at Longsands Academy

Reading ages rocket as Reading Leaders take off at Longsands Academy

Reading Leader and partner working together at Longsands Academy

Reading Matters has been invited to train a cohort of Reading Leaders each 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.

If you are interested in finding out more about our Reading Leaders training and how it could help reading ages to soar in your school, please contact us on 01274 692219 or

Spotlight on a speaker: Matt Bromley

During the next couple of months we will feature information about each of the speakers at our ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ conference, which takes place on 29 June 2017, to give you an idea of what to expect on the day.

We will begin with Matt Bromley, an experienced school and college leader, and an education writer and consultant. Matt has over eighteen years’ experience in teaching and leadership. He is the author of numerous best-selling books for teachers including ‘The IQ Myth’ and ‘Teach’ and his latest book is called ‘Making Key Stage 3 Count’. He regularly writes for various newspapers and magazines including The Times Educational Supplement and SecEd magazine and his education blog has been voted one of the UK’s most influential, receiving over 50,000 visitors each year.

During Matt’s speech he will share a range of proven strategies for closing the literacy gap so that disadvantaged pupils progress at the same rate as non-disadvantaged pupils. He will explore what literacy across the curriculum looks like in practice, drawing on his firsthand experiences of working with schools and colleges in the UK to promote and improve literacy, as well as his experiences overseas where, for example, he has examined what makes Finland the world’s most literate country.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Matt and our other fantastic speakers sharing their ideas on ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ at our conference at Bradford City Football Club in June. The ‘early bird’ rate is just £85 and available till the 31.03.2017, after this tickets will cost £100. Book here now!

Selwyn College donation

Many thanks to the JCR committee of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge for their recent donation of £1000 in support of a Reading Leaders course in a Cambridge school.

Happy Reading!

From the team at Reading Matters

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