Reading Project

Church has started a new Reading Project with the High School.

Here are three items about the project:

Christine Utting (Project Lead) describes the project

The head reports on the project

The head writes about the Radio Play activity

Church starts new Literacy Project with Stocksbridge High School

Christine Utting, the Project Leaders for Christ Church, writes…..

As lock-down began to come to an end in July this year, the Leadership team began to consider how we might move forward with our outreach work. There was a lot of media interest at the time in how the education of children had been impacted by the pandemic and in particular literacy levels.

We thought that there may be some way we could help with restorative work for these children by working with local schools.

At the same time, out of the blue, we had an email from Stocksbridge High School to say that they were planning to restock their library to include new titles in order to try and encourage reading and could we help in relation to fund raising. We took the opportunity to make contact and as well as offering some funding from generous donations made by the congregation, we began to work on a plan for a partnership reading scheme.

Volunteers were duly taken through a “Safer Recruiting “ process and some training in what we  were expected to do and in October, a group of volunteers from Christ Church returned to school. On entry into Year 7, all children had their reading assessed and those who were identified as needing additional support were included in the scheme.

The listeners (our volunteers) attend one session a week and  each listens to four children read over the session. We make sure they are reading correctly in terms of words and rhythm and check their comprehension. At the moment we have 2 listeners per session and the children come three times a week for a term.

Over the last 10 weeks we have supported our wonderful group of children with their reading. All our volunteers have thoroughly enjoyed working with them; learning, listening and sharing thoughts on reading, school and life in general.

Children’s books have definitely changed since our group of volunteers learnt to read and the range of topics covered has been an eyeopener. In some cases the life experience and knowledge of our volunteers has meant they have been able to give first hand insight into some of the subjects tackled in the books such as the war(well almost first hand!) and living with those with dementia or they  have been able to discuss topics in more depth, for example slavery.

On the other hand, the children have given their insights into environmental issues and IT. Together we have learnt, amongst other things, about duelling, hecklers at concerts, concentration camps, “fings”, eco dens, friendships, pocket heroes, beast quests and football statistics.What a delight it has been.

It’s interesting how most don’t read outside school for a variety of reasons which means their reading would be slow to improve were they not in the scheme. It’s also sad to think that they’ve never had that pleasure of being totally immersed in a self-read story.

The scheme is being assessed by school to see what the impact is and whether it needs refining. Once we’re sure it helps, we would hope to expand to allow a greater number of children to take part.

Volunteer Readers : Report by the Head

We have been lucky enough to develop a brilliant community partnership with Christchurch, Stocksbridge. Three times a week our lovely community volunteers visit us and spend the morning reading with some of our students. Not only have students been given the opportunity to read aloud, they have also developed understanding of vocabulary and comprehension – as well as getting to know some of the vastly experienced and interesting members of our wider Stocksbridge community. On behalf of SHS we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our positive, courageous and caring volunteers!

This is what they had to say:

‘A gem of an idea as to how we could try to help lessen the impact of COVID on the education of children in the valley coinciding with an email from the High School about their library refurbishment, led to a group of volunteers from Christ Church returning to school in October of this year.

Over the last 10 weeks we have supported our wonderful group of children with their reading. All our volunteers have thoroughly enjoyed working with them; learning, listening and sharing thoughts on reading, school and life in general.

Children’s books have definitely changed since our group of volunteers learnt to read and the range of topics covered has been an eyeopener. In some cases, the life experience and knowledge of our volunteers has meant they have been able to give first hand insight into some of the subjects tackled in the books such as the war (well almost first hand!) and living with those with dementia or they have been able to discuss topics in more depth, for example slavery.

On the other hand, the children have given their insights into environmental issues and IT.

Together we have learnt, amongst other things, about duelling, hecklers at concerts, concentration camps, “fings”, eco dens, friendships, pocket heroes, beast quests and football statistics.

What a delight it has been.’

Radio Play : Report by the Head

School readers also had the opportunity on December 14 to visit Christ Church and use their new-found reading confidence to rehearse and record their very own radio play! We are very much looking forward to hearing it and celebrating your creativity and communication skills back in school.

Play in a Day

To try and widen the reading experience, on Tuesday 14 December, our group of 8 pupils visited us at Christ Church to produce ”a play in a day”

The aim of this was to provide a fun day focussed on timing, expression and rhythm of language whilst increasing confidence and teamwork, all important elements in developing future workplace and presentation skills.

It also gave an insight into how a radio play is produced whilst removing the pressure of learning lines.

The children were cast as characters in the play, rehearsed and then were filmed performing the production. The film produced was passed on to school.

All involved had a great day and our pizza lunch was the icing on the cake!

The picure shows Christine and Simon Utting producing the play, with some of the students

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