Research has shown that children who have a regular reading routine, reading for pleasure each day are academically stronger than those who don’t. Reading is an essential skill that can boost a child’s achievement in all curriculum areas, not just English and Literacy.
Reading for pleasure can introduce children to new ideas, helping to build their own wider interests, general knowledge and vocabulary.
Reading not only builds academic strengths but allows children to grow socially and emotionally and will enable a child to become successful later in life.
Parents and carers can play an important role in supporting literacy at school and in so doing, help their child achieve their full potential – academically and personally. At Lord Lawson Academy time for reading is built into our academy life. Reading, either privately or as a group, takes place during tutor time and literacy lessons held in our Learning Resource Centre (LRC). Each Key Stage Three group has a literacy lesson once a week, where time is given over to reading and literacy. To supplement reading time in the academy, pupils are expected to complete twenty minutes of reading each day in their own time. The following are some simple strategies to ensure that your child is getting the most out of reading for pleasure at home.
- Ensure that your child has a regular reading routine. This is vital. pupils across Key Stage Three at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy are expected to read for pleasure for at least twenty minutes each day. This will be recorded in their planner and is part of their on-going literacy homework. To support this, give your child space and time to read effectively, away from distractions such as television, music, or games consoles. The pupil reading log is found on page 33 in the academy homework planner and must be completed by pupils and signed by parents or carers once a week.
- Actively encourage your child to choose a book they will enjoy reading. Many boys find engaging with non-fiction far more appealing than reading non-factual based materials. Above all, allow them to choose a book that is relevant and enjoyable to them.
- Become a reading role model. Children are more likely to read if it is familiar and see reading happening at home. Reading doesn’t have to be all about books – newspapers, magazines and comic books count. The key is to be seen to be enjoying reading. Boys especially will respond to reading much more positively if they have a male reading role-model.
- Talk about reading at home. Share ideas about storyline, characters or discuss articles read in magazines or newspapers. This will help build the higher-level thinking skills of understanding and inference. If necessary read aloud together, or share the same book and your experiences of it.
- Join the local library. The academy’s Learning Resource Centre stocks a wide selection of resources available to pupils to borrow on a fortnightly basis, but to complement this and allow your child even further choice, consider joining your local library.
If your child does not engage with reading through lack of motivation for example, disinterest or specific learning difficulty, you may find that they are reluctant to read at all. Once again, book choice is very important. Motivate your child to find books that will suit their own interests. By doing this they will be less likely to abandon the material partway through. For children who struggle to read, high interest / low reading level books, with gripping storylines but simpler vocabulary and sentence structures help to remove the barriers to learning and engage readers at an appropriate level, building on confidence in reading ability. These books are known as Hi/Lo books. Encourage your child to re-read sentences or parts of books to promote understanding. Model using a dictionary as a tool to develop the use of new words.
For children who can read but don’t, T.V. and film tie-ins are a great way to encourage reading. Popular books such as The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner have been made into films. Read the books and watch the films together. Discussion can be raised by comparing the film to the book and may help hook your child into reading the complete series.
Some children want to read, but find that they must overcome barriers to their learning such as dyslexia or confidence in their ability. A good selection of books can be found in the Barrington Stoke range, you can browse titles online and read some first chapters by visiting Barringtonstoke.co.uk.For Dyslexic children, choose books that they have not encountered at Primary School, and are printed on thicker cream or pastel coloured paper using larger fonts with wider line spacing. These books tend to be entertaining shorter stories that engage and challenge the reader without patronising them. Reading together doesn’t have to be sitting over them to correct words. It could include you reading the book after them and discussing what you both liked about it, or before them and recommend it as a good read. If using a book from the library, request two of the same title (as Book Clubs do) and enjoy catching up times comparing ideas. Don’t exclude the possibility of allowing your child to read the latest and most popular books, as many are now printed on off white paper. Depending on your child’s ability, they may be able to cope well enough with these books independently or with a visual aid such as a coloured filter provided by the academy.
Finally, rewarding a positive attitude to reading is a good way to motivate any reader.
The Learning Resource Centre is located in the middle of the top floor of Lord Lawson Academy and comprises an extensive library of reading materials, classroom work area, private study desks and fully up to date ICT suite. The LRC is an ideal place for pupils to complete projects and school work without distraction.
New books and learning materials are consistently added to our library and pupils are encouraged to get involved in LRC activities, as well as helping to build our library by making suggestions for new stock and LRC improvements. Activities to enrich the pupil reading experience and underpin literacy skills run across the year and include year group spelling bees, author visits and writing workshops, Reading Champions Group, ‘Love My Book’ Week, World Book Day, book swaps, featured authors and book promotions.
Over the last couple of years we have benefitted from the experiences of several writers including the poet and comedian John Hegley, authors Joe Kipling and Gabrielle Kent, and author Dan Freedman whose Jamie Johnson series of books have been produced as a children’s television series in 2016. Most recently we have hosted workshops by the author Dan Smith, great-grandson of Lord Lawson after whom the academy is named.
The Learning Resource Centre operates extended hours throughout the academic year. Our opening times are as follows:
Monday-Thursday 8:15am-4:15pm Friday 8:15am-4:00pm
Further information and support is available from the following websites:
THE NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST
The National Literacy Trust is a charity committed to raising literacy levels across the UK. Their website offers support for parents and families as well as providing information on research, current events and useful blogs on literacy issues.
Is a website that offers teen reviews of the latest books, author interviews, competitions and an Ultimate Reading list of 450 books geared toward teenage reading. Teenagers are encouraged to share their ideas and get involved.
Is a website that launched in 2007 aimed at helping readers of all ages find their next book and share their love of reading. Books can be searched for by genre, title, ISBN and author and is used by millions.
Is a website aimed at getting children and families to read. Their children and teens pages offer reviews, advice on the best new books, writing tips, games and activities
BRITISH DYSLEXIA ASSOCIATION
Offers a wide range of information to parents, teachers and dyslexic adults.
Publish reader-friendly books aimed at engaging young readers who may encounter barriers to learning such as dyslexia or visual stress.