Sharples School

Volunteer reading scheme

A volunteer reading scheme at Sharples School was implemented to address a reluctance to read, particularly amongst vulnerable groups; low reading ages in key stage 3 with a number of students requiring catch-up to their chronological age and a need to increase the awareness of reading as a skill for the whole curriculum, not only in English lessons.

The use of Accelerated Reader at key stage 3 was implemented with investment in books across the reading age spectrum in the school library, and the organisation of books into coloured categories which were linked to Accelerated Reader.

Alongside this, local volunteers were recruited to become official reading partners from organisations including the local Rotary Club. Cohorts of students were selected to take part and a timetable was produced of volunteer reader time in school. Volunteers were given termly updates on the progress of students and an annual celebration event took place to thank and celebrate the progress of students.

What was the impact?

In Year 1 (2017-18) all students have made exceptional progress in their reading age against their chronological age with 90% of students in the cohort making more than 1 year reading age progress. Alongside this, all selected students worked positively with their volunteer partner. The influence of a professional, external volunteer was exceptional as previously reluctant readers are now engaged and making progress in their reading.