Bristol’s Reading Recovery teachers celebrate another year of success at national award show

Reading Recovery teachers from Bristol have continued their winning streak at the national Reading Recovery teacher’s awards show.

The UCL Institute of Education’s International Literacy Centre celebrated another year of its Reading Recovery programme at a recent awards ceremony.

Three teachers who work at different schools across Bristol won awards this year for helping to improve literacy in children within their area. This success means that Bristol has maintained its untarnished winning streak at the awards since they started in 2013.

Grace Wakelin, a Reading Recovery Teacher at Fishponds CE Academy, was awarded the title of Teacher of the Year and won her school an award for improving children’s reading ability.

When one of her year two students started the course he felt completely despondent about reading and didn’t believe he would ever be able to read at the same standard as his friends.

After 18 weeks of daily lessons he had caught up with all his peers and was able to read along with the rest of the class.

Grace said:

“It is thrilling and, at times, quite emotional to see the way he responds to text, chuckling at humour and gasping in surprise when reading amazing facts about some animal we are reading about.”

Elsewhere in the city, Reading Recovery teacher, Kirsty Judge from Hannah More Primary, was able to win her school a School of the Year award as was Pippa Jones from St Peter’s CE Primary School.

Claire Hiscott, Cabinet member for Education and Skills said:

“As a Learning City we want to work with partners to create learning opportunities across the city for people of all ages. Initiatives like Reading Recovery are key to using our resources effectively and improving areas where we know there are specific issues, like reading in young children.

“I want to thank all our Reading Recovery teachers across the city for the hard work that they do. Reading is an essential skill for modern day life. It is the crucial tool for learning and is vital to accessing further education and employment opportunities later in life. Your work is helping children to overcome this issue and opening up a whole new world of opportunities to them.”

Awards were given across several categories and presented by special guests including award-winning writer, comedian and actress Katy Brand.

Julia Douetil, Director of the IOE’s Reading Recovery programme, said:

“It’s the joy you notice – these children are reading and writing not just for pleasure, but with pleasure, and that is amazing for children who were, just a few months ago, the lowest attaining in their class for literacy. That’s what makes Reading Recovery teachers so special, they don’t just teach children how to read, they do so in ways that make children feel good about being readers and writers”.

A 20 week Reading Recovery course has been shown to help 85 per cent of six year old children to move from being the lowest achievers in their class to catching up with their peers. At 11 these children maintain their progress and achieve the expected key stage 2 reading test results for their age.