Wednesday 2nd December 2009 by C. Freeman
Year 7 and 8 students are being encouraged to read by our Sixth Formers, under a new mentoring scheme. The 'reader leaders' all volunteered for the role, which not only boosts younger students' reading skills, but which is also an accredited course, earning them UCAS points.
The Sixth Formers had six hours of training before they could take part in the course, which is supported by Reading Matters and Corby Reads. They learned how to engage the students in a variety of ways with word games and puzzles, and how to keep their interest and progress up.
After training the Reader Leaders from Year 12 are paired up with a 'reading buddy', and they meet up for two half-hour slots per week. The Reader Leaders have to plan and evaluate the session and choose suitable reading material and resources. Tailoring the sessions to the student's interests means that they rapidly grow in confidence and ability, while the reader leaders get valuable mentoring experience which will be especially useful if they want a career in teaching.
The Reader Leaders are overseen by Mrs Childs. She said: 'They try and do reading, games involving words, there's a work-sheet, a bit of grammar and comprehension. They have to plan the session around the needs of the student so it's about building a relationship with them. If their reading buddy is heavily into motorbikes then they go and find something suitable that will appeal to them at a level they can cope with. It's about building confidence and showing them that reading can be fun.'
Deromi Jessiman said: 'We've only had a few sessions and we've already seen them come on in leaps and bounds. My buddy has started to read three chapters a time and he was only reading one at the beginning. I've done Scrabble and Boggle with him as well.'
Rebekah Hadley added: ' At first it's quite hard because they are really wary because we're older students but once you have a few sessions they realise that you're there to help; they get into it and it's more relaxed. It's extra work over and above our normal coursework but it's really rewarding, both for them and us.'