Reading is an integral part of the lessons in all subjects at secondary school and as your daughter gets older, teachers will increasingly want her to be able to read independently. Therefore, every year, the Year 7s complete a Reading Test within the first two weeks of joining Ellen Wilkinson and any girl who is shown to have a reading age of 9 years or below then takes part in the Paired Reading Scheme, run by Miss Martin.
What is Paired Reading?
Every Year 7 pupil who is a member of Paired Reading is allocated a trained reading ‘tutor’ from Year 12. These ‘pairs’ will then attend two, 30 minute sessions at the end of lunchtime and will work on the Year 7 pupil’s reading and comprehension. The sessions take place in AL1 and are always supervised by the Learning Support staff. The girls will work their way through a scheme of books called Wildcats, which are aimed at pupils with lower reading ages. The simple text makes use of high frequency words and introduces new words which are repeated throughout the book. This provides opportunities for practise and revision of learnt words. Wildcats provide texts on a wide range of topics so there is always something to match to pupil's interest. The books are colourful and brightly illustrated capturing pupils’ interest immediately.
One of our Year 12 students who took part last year wrote:
“I am so glad I got involved with Paired Reading. Each week is different for me and my year 7 reader. There are books on all sorts of subjects and I am always learning something new, for example at the moment we are reading about Mazes and Labyrinths. These books have fiction and non-fiction chapters like the story of Theseus and the Minotaur in the maze book. There are also a range of worksheets which my Year 7 has to fill out with me. These activities range from making posters and leaflets to spellings and completing story plans and character spider diagrams.
I think Paired Reading is brilliant as I meet other Year 7 and 8 students who are all really friendly and I have a chance to meet up with other sixth formers who I normally wouldn’t get to see. But mainly I work with my girl who is a great student to support and I leave AL1 with an amazing feeling. I hope that I am making a difference and I think she has grown in her confidence. I sometimes set homework which she does to an excellent standard and I reward her with merits, which she loves getting! I am extremely lucky to have been paired with my pupil and I always look forward to meeting up with her and helping her improve her reading.
A Year 7 student wrote:
“Paired Reading is when you read for up to half an hour at lunch. It is extremely fun because you learn about new things like amazing stories and facts about animals and people and what they like to do. People like to go to Paired Reading because you get merits and stickers and other kinds of stuff. You get a 6th Form Reader to read with you and they help you learn to read like Ms. Sydenham. Paired Reading also helps you to spell in your tests!! I got a chance to go to Paired Reading this year and I found it very fun! I got 13 merits from my 6th former and the teacher Ms. Martin. It is not good to miss a day of Paired Reading or you miss all the fun and exciting facts!
The Paired Reading Scheme has been running for several years and has proven to be a successful way of improving students’ reading and comprehension with pupils’ reading ages steadily increasing throughout the programme.