Mr Bishop, KS3 Lead in English, writes:
This year, we are making a real effort to create a reading culture here at Stanborough school. Reading on a regular basis – for as little as 15 minutes per day – has been shown to have significant benefits, as well as improving skills that are used not just in school but later life as well. Reading improves emotional intelligence, as we empathise with the characters and understand their different perspectives. It has also been shown to help fight a range of health conditions, from dementia to depression – and the earlier you start the reading habit, the better. Reading regularly also boosts confidence and self-esteem; and it’s enjoyable! How else can you so easily visit places you’ve never been, and meet people you have never met – and possibly wouldn’t want to?
Students in Year 7 and Year 8 now have a fortnightly reading lesson as part of their English at Stanborough. This is not just about reading in silence: these lessons also give students a space in which they can share what they are reading, what they enjoy about it, and what they are planning on reading next. Students have been given a choice of books in these lessons; they are also able to bring in their own books to read. For those that struggle with reading, after half-term we will be starting a Reading Buddies scheme, where some of the older students in Year 9 and 10 listen to the younger ones read. This will take place once a week during tutor times, when the rest of the tutor group is also reading. Reading out loud to someone is a great way of building confidence, and hearing the words can also aid understanding and comprehension.
More exciting plans are currently being developed to further encourage reading at Stanborough, which we will be sharing later this year. In the meantime, what can parents and carers do to help outside the classroom? Firstly, encourage your children to read about subjects they enjoy and read widely around them. This reading could be not just books but also newspapers, magazines and online sources, both fiction and non-fiction. Secondly, if you like to read, share what you are reading with your children and talk about it. What is your book about? What are you enjoying about it? Why do you like those kinds of books? Who is your favourite author? The more opportunities we can give our children to engage with reading, the more engaged and enthusiastic readers they will become.
Please see our list of KS3 reading recommendations.