The Independent is reporting an innovative pilot scheme to use visits to major attractions to inspire reading ‘catch up’ amongst inner-city pupils before they start secondary school…
For many children, visiting Buckingham Palace, the natural History Museum, picturesque Greenwich Naval College or Wembley Stadium during the summer holidays would just be a fun day out.
For a group of inner-city schoolchildren, this summer it will be a bit more than that – a chance to improve their reading skills before they start secondary school.
The scheme is the brainchild of Teach First Ambassadors, Nick Ovendon and Jill Krishnan, who felt that the sites visited during their “ReadLondon” initiative – as they have dubbed it – would open up the imaginations of the children and inspire them to read. Visits to each of the sites during the two-week summer-school “catch-up” will be accompanied by paired reading initiatives with sixth-form mentors, who will be accompanying them on their visits.
Nick is hopeful that this summer’s pilot scheme will be accompanied by an expansion of the initiative in the months to come. Schools involved in the pilot are London Fields Primary School in Hackney and neighbouring St Paul’s Trust School and St Thomas More in Wood Green, who provide the mentors.
The idea stems from a scheme in Harlem, New York, where regular and intensive reading sessions with struggling pupils enabled many “doomed” youngsters to reach or exceed the reading levels of some of their middle-class peers.
Is this kind of initiative the way forward to find ways to improve reading skills of those who might be falling through the net? Has anyone experience of getting sixth-form mentors to undertake paired reading with younger children? Do tell us about you experiences.