Anyone who has sat down with a good book knows that reading opens up a universe of imagination, pleasure and information: but good reading skills are essential for even more than that. A good career, self-confidence, simply being able to navigate everyday situations in the adult world: literacy is the key to them all.
At Smith’s Wood Academy we have students of all abilities, and it is a high priority to help those students who are less able to read fluently in order to improve their skill and confidence. This year Mrs Meachin, an Accelerated Reader (AR) co-ordinator, has introduced a new intervention strategy with that in mind.
Over the last two years, parents were invited to a number of meetings after school in order to support their children with strategies for reading: perhaps helping with difficult words, explaining meanings, or providing encouragement. This year, Mrs Meachin is setting up something similar called “The Book Buddy Volunteer Programme”, and this time our own students are volunteering to mentor their peers. Each student is paired with their own individual “buddy”; this enables the pair of students to get to know each other and form a relationship. After appropriate training, the buddy will listen to their partner read during lunchtime or other extra sessions, all the time helping them to develop fluency and improve their vocabulary.