Reading Leaders at Beckfoot Thornton

Who are we?

We are an amazing group of Year 9, 12 and 13 pupils who have given some of our time to help other pupils improve their reading skills. We believe the ability to read is a basic right for everyone – not a privilege for the few. We want to give pupils in our school the encouragement and confidence to read everything that they need to enjoy their learning and succeed.

Y13 pupils work towards their Level 2 leadership qualification with Mrs Thomas.

What do we do?

We give between one and two hours of our time every week to help pupils in Year 7 and 8 develop and improve their reading skills. We do this by sitting with them for up to 15 minutes at a time and reading with them, encouraging them to explore and enjoy new books. This is important because we know that, the more often we read, the better we get at it and the more we learn.

Why is it so important that we help people to learn to read?

Did you know that over 15% (or over 5.1 million) adults in England are functionally illiterate? This means that their reading age is no more than that of an eleven year old. They can read simple adverts, surveys, social media posts and articles about things that they know. However, they would not be able to read about things that they don’t know about in more complex articles, brochures, text books, revision guides or fiction books.

Did you also know that pupils who read for an average of 20 minutes a day will encounter about 2 million words a year. A pupil who doesn’t read very often will encounter just 8000, meaning that they won’t learn or understand enough words to understand their GCSE courses.

As a group of leaders, we decided that we do not want this for any of the pupils who come to our school. We decided to work with pupils who have been diagnosed as having very low reading ages, in order to:

  • Help them to develop the reading skills to access their full curriculum as they head towards their GCSE courses
  • Develop their confidence and engagement with written texts and new words, so that they do not fall into functional illiteracy in adult life

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries, Mrs V Thomas. vpt@beckfoothornton.org