Tag Archives: loveforreading

‘Reading Matters’ brings together those passionate about Closing the Literacy Gap

A locally-based charity who work to improve reading skills and life chances for young people held their annual literacy conference last week.

This year’s conference was created to address the issue of ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ and how to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve the same as their more fortunate peers.

Popular children’s authors, Tom Palmer and Andy Seed both presented at the conference speaking about ways to make reading more accessible for all children and the role that authors can play in igniting a love of reading.

The conference keynote speech was delivered by Bradford-born Matt Bromley, a leading education writer and consultant who was able to raise his own aspirations and academic achievement above those expected by his circumstances by becoming an avid reader.

Matt spoke of the importance of reading for pleasure on social mobility and how the “word rich” will inevitably become more affluent and the “word poor” more impoverished. He implored teachers, as those who have the “superpower” of being literate and loving books to pass it on and stressed the value of parents reading to their children at home.

The highlight of the day was when children from two Bradford schools – Dixon’s Kings Academy and Bowling Park Primary School spoke to the enthralled delegates about how their Reading Leaders training had helped them to improve the confidence and reading ability of their younger reading partners.

The Reading Leaders training which prepares older pupils to provide effective one to one reading support to the younger ones is a great way to engage children from disadvantaged backgrounds who often learn better from other young people.

The other expert speakers were Dr Paula Clarke of The University of Leeds who shared strategies for teaching language comprehension to support those that struggle, Deborah Bullivant of the Grimm and Co social enterprise in Rotherham that uses an apothecary shop as the inspiration for creative writing and Rachel Van Riel who shared tips on how to make library spaces for children as attractive and accessible as possible.

Workshops covered topics relevant to ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ including the best support for those with English as an additional language and using comics to enhance learning.

Over 150 people attended the conference, mainly teachers from primary and secondary schools along with librarians, learning mentors and other education professionals with some travelling from as far as London to be part of this motivating event.

Rachel Kelly, Chief Executive of Reading Matters said: “It was a really inspiring and enjoyable day and it’s so great to bring together all these people who are dedicated to doing their best for children and helping them to reach their potential”.

Reading Matters has been helping young people to read with confidence and enthusiasm since 1997 and provides schools with Reading Mentors in South and West Yorkshire. Their accredited training courses are available nationwide for peer mentors, education professionals and parents.

The charity, which specialises in one to one reading support for young struggling and relucatant readers currently helps around 6,800 children each year with an average improvement in reading age of 13 months in just 10 hours.

For more information please see the charity’s website: www.readingmatters.org.uk

Follow Reading Matters on Twitter:  @reading_matters




Children set to celebrate their love of reading books

[Pictured above: Pupils from Dixons Marchbank Primary School celebrating World Book Day]

Children from schools across the District will be celebrating their love of reading and books by taking part in World Book Day today.

Whether you grew up with Charlotte’s Web and the friendship that grows between Wilbur, a runty pig, and Charlotte, a heroic spider,  the Famous Five or Harry Potter; there is nothing quite like delving into a good book.

And for many it blossoms into a love that lasts a lifetime. This is why World Book Day has become the annual celebration of books and reading and the time to encourage children to discover the magic inside the pages.

The event was first marked in the UK in 1997 amid concerns over reading and writing standards in schools.

World Book Day marks its 20th anniversary this year and organisers say the event is ‘a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and, most importantly, reading’. The main aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

Schools and nurseries are sent packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.

Thanks to the generosity of National Book Tokens Ltd some 15 million book tokens will be distributed. Children can take their voucher to a local bookseller and use it to pick one of ten exclusive, new and completely free books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club.

Since the campaign began, around 13 million £1 books have ended up in the hands of eager young readers.

This year’s 10 offerings cater for all ages from pre-school through to young adults in a bid to give as many as possible the chance to join in the fun. The titles for the nation’s youngest book lovers feature beloved characters Peppa Pig and extra-terrestrials from the Aliens Love Underpants series.

For readers at Key Stage 1, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks has contributed a new Princess Mirror-Belle title and Martin Handford has made one of his Where’s Wally? adventures available.

They can also pick up some tips from Horrid Henry or catch up with the Famous Five, whereas Key Stage 2 readers are able to enjoy something new from beloved British authors David Walliams or Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Young Adult titles will come from Michael Grant and David Almond.

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said:

“We hope that World Book Day celebrated in schools creates readers for the future by igniting a love of books and reading in children and young people.  Bradford Council’s

Libraries are hosting a number of events which can be found here:  www.bradford.gov.uk/libraries.”

Tag us on Twitter: @bradfordmdc   

Send your photos to: fiona.binns@bradford.gov.uk

Pupils at Worthinghead Primary School dressed up as their favourite book characters


School looks forward to bright future after Ofsted report success

Staff and pupils at Hothfield Junior School, in Silsden, are celebrating after receiving an Ofsted report praising it for being good in all areas.

The glowing report praises the school’s headteacher, teachers, pupils and governors for Hothfield’s success.

The school’s leadership and management, quality of teaching and learning, pupils’ results and the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils are all rated as good.

Pupils are said to be engaged in lessons and respond well to their teachers. Ofsted said their positive attitude to learning helped pupils to make good progress.

The Ofsted report highlights the teaching of maths as a strength of the school and also praises its use of the Reading Challenge Initiative which is said to have  been hugely successful in motivating pupils to read for pleasure.

Inspectors praise children at Hothfield for their behaviour. The report says they are polite and go out of their way to greet visitors or hold the doors open for others.

The school’s Headteacher James Procter said: “I am proud of the school’s pupils, parents and staff who make this school very special for the Silsden community.

“I am particularly pleased that the teaching of the maths has been highlighted as a strength of the school as we are aiming to become a centre of excellence in teaching the subject.”

Later this year Hothfield Junior School and Aire View Infants School, in Silsden, are to merge to become Silsden Primary School.

Mr Procter said: “Aire View Infants School has been inspected by Ofsted recently and was also found to be good. Later this year, our two good schools can come together to form one great primary school for Silsden.”

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “Hothfield Junior School’s Ofsted report makes great reading. It is positive about the work of the school and the pupils across the board. Huge credit goes to everyone involved in receiving such a good inspection report.”

Premier League Reading Stars boosts pupils’ reading and writing skills at Girlington Primary School

Girlington Primary School and the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford ran the Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) programme during the summer term. Assistant Headteacher, Daniel Walker hoped the programme would help to improve the reading ability and attitudes of pupils in Year 5 and Year 6.

He said: “At the launch of the programme in the school assembly, we told pupils that they must write a letter to apply for a place on the team. Eleven pupils were chosen because we felt that they would benefit the most from taking part.”

An area in the school library was set up as the PLRS team corner, with tasks and a stadium poster on the wall to track their successes in the different challenges.. Throughout the programme, Mr Walker used a range of techniques to create and maintain and sense of inclusion and team spirit:

“The pupils were allowed to wear their football kits on PLRS days and we also let them take penalty shots with me in goal as a reward for completing challenges. We also offered some football coaching and chances to play matches after the sessions.”

At each fixture the boys quizzed each other about the books they’d read and their interpretations and ideas. Mr Walker said the group made significant progress by taking part in PLRS:

“All boys who took part in the programme made more than expected progress in reading. Two boys made two sub levels of progress, which is the equivalent of more than a year’s expected progress in one term. One boy made dramatic progress of a whole level (3 sub-levels) in a term.”

Participating in PLRS also had a huge impact on the attitudes of the boys, who were very enthusiastic about the programme. Each boy was able to name their favourite book and spoke in great detail about the different activities and reading challenges they had taken part in.

When asked why they thought their reading had improved, persistence was identified as a strong reason. Several of the group described how previously they would skip over difficult words but now they would look them up online or ask a teacher or parents to help them. They all agreed that they now wanted to understand what they were reading rather than just doing it because they had too. One boy commented:

“I used to find it hard to have a picture in my head of what was going on and I would give up. Now I keep trying. Sometimes I have to re-read some of the books to get there”.

As well as reading, several members of the group also identified positive effects the programme had had on their writing. One boy said that his handwriting was getting better because he had more that he wanted to say, so he was doing more writing and getting better. They all agreed that their vocabulary had also improved, as they knew and used more descriptive words.

The team aspect of the programme was a clear highlight for many of the boys.