Bristol pupils get reading boost during Read Aloud month

Pupils from Bristol schools will get a chance to read their favourite books to a series of high profile people this week as part of Read Aloud, a month long celebration of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Reading Recovery initiatives.

Local sports stars, authors, and even one of Britain’s strongest women are visiting the schools and spending time with pupils to hear them read during a week’s worth of visits in Bristol. The children reading during the week will include those who’ve benefitted from the Reading Recovery programme which works with the lowest achieving children aged five or six, enabling them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks.

Councillor Claire Hiscott, Cabinet Member for education and skills, said:

“We know how important it is to give children the best possible start in life and good reading skills help to lay the foundations of future success, in education and beyond. As England’s first UNESCO Learning City, Bristol is championing the benefits of lifelong learning and being able to read well opens up a whole world of learning opportunities to students.”

Bristol City Football player, Mark Little, visited E-Act Greenfield Academy earlier this week. He said:

“I think they brought the elite reading squad out today, because they were excellent with us. To be honest, I wasn’t very good at reading; I spent my teenage years learning to read. I wasn’t very good at school but I would have loved to have someone come around and do what we have done for the kids today – I could definitely have done with that because I would have been more interested then.”

Reading Recovery runs in schools and involves a short series of one-to-one, tailored lessons for 30 minutes every day with a specially trained teacher. The programme has enjoyed great success in Bristol with thousands of local children already having benefitted. Eight out of ten children, who take part in Reading Recovery, catch up with their classmates within six months. Forty-five per cent of the children who have benefitted from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and the programme has also resulted in 32% of children being removed from the Special Education Needs register following support and progress through the Reading Recovery programme.

Each year approximately 20% of children leave primary school not being able to read adequately, many of these children come from the poorest sectors of society and this figure rises to 33% among children from the most deprived backgrounds, with literacy problems being linked to social issues including crime, poverty, depression and poor health. Research has shown that up to 120,000 11 year olds enter secondary education without having reached their expected average reading age.

Research has shown that more than 80% of six year old children who completed a 20 week Reading Recovery programme progressed from being the lowest achievers in their class to catching up with their peers. Key Stage 2 reading tests for 11 year olds showed that Reading Recovery children had maintained progress and achieved average reading test results for their age.

Other people taking part in the Read Aloud activity in Bristol include: MP Kerry McCarthy, Authors Cavan Scott, Mark Lemon, CJ Busby and Jack Challoner, Lord Mayor Cllr Jeff Lovell, England Goalkeeper Jack Butland, Bristol Rugby and Bristol City Football Club players, Bristol Met and Bristol Flyers Basketball teams, Firefighters from Avon Fire and Rescue Service and well as well as Zoe Thompson (one of Britain’s strongest woman), and Katrina Hart (Paralympic Athlete, Gold Medal Winning 100 sprinter).