Everyone in Key Stage 3 is now reading – we have students recommending books to each other, using the library in their spare time, and have received many positive comments from parents on the changes they’ve noticed in their children’s reading habits.
We’re situated in one of the poorest regions in Wales, and many of our students’ reading ages on entry are quite low. In 2016 we decided to introduce Renaissance Accelerated Reader as a means to encourage students to read a bit more.
We keep iPads in the library and English classrooms for quizzing, and dedicate the first 20 minutes of each daily English lesson to reading.
“My child hasn’t read so much in years, I only wish it had come about sooner!”
– Parent of a Mountain Ash Student
Since then we’ve seen hugely improved enthusiasm and engagement with reading. They receive immediate feedback on their reading now, which opens up a conversation as soon as they’ve quizzed. It’s brilliant for them and us – as well as giving them confidence it offers us the chance to discuss reading with them and guide their choices to ensure they read widely but maintain their interest.
We’re now placed to celebrate reading accomplishments – reading millionaires, 100% quiz results, and bolster students who aren’t always used to receiving prizes and awards.
The whole ethos of the school has improved, we’re so much happier with reading here. We’ve seen such an improvement in a short space of time, and are now looking forward to seeing what long term impact we can bring about.
Mountain Ash Comprehensive School is a Secondary school with over 800 pupils on roll, based in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales. Lauren Mackie, Assistant Head, and Karen Siminov, Literacy Coach, describe how the school’s reading culture has changed since September 2016.