For the love of reading

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A St Helens school has launched an ambitious project to help youngsters learn to love reading for readings.

It can’t be overstated just how important reading is to a young person’s cognitive development.

This is something The District C of E Primary School understands very well – where an ambitious project designed to cultivate a ‘reading for pleasure’ culture is currently on-going.

Named the Year of Reading, the project ran over the course of the last academic year (2014/15), but its successes have ensured a continuing legacy this year.

The exciting initiative involved a variety of fun, outside-the-box activities, including author visits, and special clubs, like the ‘Novels and Nails’ club for mums and daughters. Since the start of the project, the school has installed two new libraries and an outdoors Reading Garden and Story Shack featuring a replica reading window as seen on Cbeebies.

The school also requisitioned their very own Book Bench – inspired by London’s Books About Town sculptures – shaped like a folded paperback, and painted by local artist Tony Bishop.

The Year of Reading was deemed so successful that the school was recently presented with an Innovative and Creative Literacy Award for the project at the prestigious Educate Awards ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral.

Pupils were rewarded for their hard work following the award ceremony with a special assembly and book-related movie day, echoing the red carpet theme of the Liverpool Cathedral event, with children invited to wear paper bow ties and tiaras, made during a crafts session.

Headteacher Diane Bate said: “Research has shown that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, making great progress in mathematics, development of vocabulary and spelling.

“It’s for this reason that we’ve been trying to spark a love of literature in our pupils, and we’ve seen great results so far.

“Most importantly, pupils have given us very positive feedback, and are thoroughly enjoying the Year of Reading activities, thanks to our dedicated staff, including project leader Heather Wright, and parent involvement.”