Reading at the heart of children’s lives

Louise Crook (centre) and her daughter Katelyn Crook, 9, (left) with Megan Johnsen, 8, (right) and Kaden Johnsen, 4
Louise Crook (centre) and her daughter Katelyn Crook, 9, (left) with Megan Johnsen, 8, (right) and Kaden Johnsen, 4

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A primary school library is taking centre stage after a major £30,000 revamp that will open it up to parents to take books home.

Warren Park Primary in Leigh Park has set up the pioneering scheme to complement a revamped ‘rainbow’ curriculum that will centre all lessons around reading books.

Headteacher Colin Harris says: ‘Our library is now at the end of the rainbow – it is our pot of gold because we recognise there is nothing more important to a child’s education than a love of books and strong reading skills.

‘The national curriculum is too busy to give schools the time to address the fundamental core skills properly, and I have a genuine concern we are losing sight of the traditional art of reading.

‘Our outstanding Ofsted report has given me the freedom to take a step away from the curriculum. Our library will complement a new reading strategy that will focus on full texts instead of passages, as well as making reading books a core aspect of all our subject lessons.

‘All it takes is that one book to give a child a love of reading, and that’s what I hope to do for all our pupils.’

A recent survey at Warren Park revealed 19 per cent of pupils do not have any books at home.

With an average of 60 per cent of pupils achieving the target levels of English in their Key Stage Two exams for 11-year-olds, Mr Harris believes even more can achieve good grades if books follow them into their homes.

The library, which will be open to parents three days a week after school, has already made a strong impression.

Louise Crook, mum of nine-year-old pupil Katelyn, says: ‘It’s a great idea and I’ll be making lots of trips to the library which looks fantastic.

‘It is so important for children to read not just at school but at home, and opening it up to the parents to get involved will really encourage that habit.

‘I read lots to my children – I even read touch and feel books to with my 11-month-old Frankie which he loves.

‘It’s incredibly important for children to read for pleasure, because it not only helps their English skills but also their confidence levels and gives them a huge advantage in life.’