22 Feb 2018

Education, Learning and Skills

Bristol pupils get reading boost during Read Aloud month

Pupils from Bristol primary schools are getting a chance to read their favourite books to a series of high profile people this February as part of a month long celebration of reading.

Local sports stars, authors, and even Britain’s second strongest woman will be visiting the schools and spending time with pupils to hear them read during a week’s worth of visits in Bristol.

The month long programme is part of Read Aloud, a month long celebration of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Reading Recovery initiatives.

The children reading during the month will include those who have 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.

Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for education and skills, said: “Reading is a fundamental skill which we all rely upon in our everyday lives. Not being able to read at a certain level means children can fall behind at an early stage. Reading aloud with children is a tried and tested method for improving children’s abilities and motivating them to learn the basic skills needed. With such a wide range of people taking part this year I am confident that we will see many children being inspired to carry on trying with reading and greatly increasing their chance of excelling throughout education and beyond.”

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 were 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.

The Strategic Leadership Team at City of Bristol College have shown their commitment to supporting the campaign by visiting Brunel Field Primary School.

Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive at the college said: “Effective reading and correct use of English language are life-long skills, enabling confidence, self-esteem and ultimately successful learning. Almost 50% of our entire student population continues to develop their English and literacy skills during their time at the college, in order to better prepare for the world of work, further study or independent living.

“At the same time we recognise that good reading and literacy habits start at an early age. We are pleased that the City of Bristol has collectively embraced this challenge and we at the college are delighted to support and encourage pupils at our neighbour primary school in their 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 Two reading tests for 11 year olds showed that Reading Recovery children had maintained progress and achieved average reading test results for their age.