From setting up book clubs to asking pupils to act as reading mentors, schools are full of ideas about how to inspire young readers.
But now a Manchester secondary school has come up with an original campaign to promote a reading culture among its students.
Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe has launched a programme called Catch Me Reading.
One of the key initiatives of the campaign is that teachers visit classrooms to “catch” students reading. When they spot pupils engrossed in a book – before a class, in the corridor or even in the gym – they award small prizes.
Saint Paul’s has also launched an accelerated reading programme to improve student reading ages. It has introduced reading clubs for all age groups, formed a reading hub in the chapel, and created dedicated reading areas around the school where pupils can relax and read.
Andrea Williams, who is leading the Catch Me Reading campaign, said that the idea is to encourage reading for pleasure and inspire a life-long love of reading.
“Obviously we would love students to read books, but we just want them reading – so we are raising awareness of reading, be it Manga comics, magazines and online articles too,” she said. “We know it will take time to encourage non-readers and weaker readers, but the more we push hopefully the more enthused students will be.
“At the moment it is still in its infancy but we are hoping that in time students will become more receptive and automatically bring books into school.
“The hope is that carrying a book and reading becomes second nature to our students.”
Headteacher Fiona Minshall is full of praise for the programme: “At Saint Paul’s we encourage all of our students to read, not just in lessons but also for pleasure,” she said.
“We have put together a number of initiatives to help our students not only understand the importance of reading but also to help them gain an interest and passion for reading.
“We are working with parents to encourage reading at home and we are positive we will have many happy, keen readers.” CAPTION: Good catch: Pupils at Saint Paul’s are ‘caught’ reading (Photos: Saint Paul’s Catholic High School)