Read Aloud week highlights progress made by Bristol school children

Children in Bristol are being encouraged to showcase their reading skills in support of the national Reading Recovery Read Aloud campaign. Led by the International Literacy Centre (ICL), based at the UCL Institute of Education, the campaign is designed to raise awareness about literacy issues facing young readers across the country.

A week of events in Bristol will be kicking off today (22nd Feb) with high profile figures visiting schools to hear children read and see the progress they have made.

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.

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 – and the programme has enjoyed great success in Bristol with over 1,500 children already having benefitted.

Councillor Brenda Massey, Assistant Mayor for People with responsibility for education, said:

“Bristol is now a Learning City, which means that organisations have committed to promoting learning opportunities for all – and reducing inequality is a big part of this. Being able to read is absolutely critical to being able to progress and acquire new skills and the Reading Recovery programme helps children to get off to a better start in life. I’m delighted to see so many people getting involved in this year’s campaign.”

To encourage children across the city to get involved and excited about reading, high profile local figures and organisations have joined together. Avon Fire and Rescue Service will be sending a crew, along with their fire truck, to read at Greenfield School; Bristol Lord Mayor, Councillor Clare Campion Smith will be reading at Whitehall school; players from Bristol Rugby will be heading to Barton Hill Academy; and Shaun the Sheep will be listening to children read at Glenfrome Primary School. Local MPs Kerry McCarty and Charlotte Leslie – who’s a Reading Recovery Champion – will also be getting involved.

Children at Oasis Academy Bank Leaze will be sending a special video to England goalkeeper and Reading Recovery Supporter, Jack Butland.

Each year approximately 20% of children leave primary school not being able to adequately read, many of these children come from the poorest sectors of society. 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 eleven year olds enter secondary education without having reached their expected average reading age.

Debbie Mills, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, said:

“If a child is not able to read well at the end of primary education this can have consequences for their future. Children who struggle with reading may find secondary school more difficult and obtain fewer qualifications than those who can read well. This is why programmes such as Reading Recovery are vital to ensure all children leave primary school as an able reader.

Reading volunteers work in many schools across the city, often alongside Reading Recovery teachers, and are always wanted in Bristol schools. Anyone interested can join the Bristol Reading Partners scheme, part of the council’s Cities of Service initiative. More information can be found here: