Families are part of drive to boost reading at school

SUPPORT Kevin Borrett helps son Toby to read.   Picture: Steve Reid (120915-210)
SUPPORT Kevin Borrett helps son Toby to read. Picture: Steve Reid (120915-210)
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THE baffling world of school jargon and government-set targets is being made simple at a school that is arming parents with the tools to support their children’s reading.

Literacy at Wimborne Infants in Southsea is a family affair – as mums and dads are encouraged to read with their children every day and assess what level they are at.

A specially-designed reading report with a set of ‘I can’ statements, such as ‘I can use a dictionary’ or ‘I can tell fact from fiction’, allows parents to measure the reading age of their child.

And every time a youngster improves by one level – for example from Level 2C to 2B which is the expected grade for infant school leavers – they celebrate by moving up a colourful reading rocket on display.

Amy Thomas, literacy leader at the school, which has signed up to The News’ campaign Read All About It to boost reading across the area, said: ‘Working with our parents is making a huge impact.

‘Because they understand what their child needs to be able to do for each level, they’re giving us a lot more quality feedback.’

Dad Kevin Borrett, 40, who reads with six-year-old Toby every day, agrees.

He said: ‘It’s good to know what the levels stand for so you have that link between what the teachers are trying to achieve in the classroom and what you’re doing at home.

‘If we know what’s expected of our children we can make a better contribution.’

Toby added: ‘I love reading and it makes me very happy when I move up a level, as I get to read different books.’

This initiative forms part of a new reading pack which also gives parents tips on how to decode tricky words, play word games and encourage unwilling readers through a variety of reading materials like comics and magazines.

These techniques are already making a difference at Wimborne where children on free school meals are exceeding expected reading ages when they leave school, and boys – known to be reluctant readers – are also better readers than the national average.

Christopher Pearson, six, said: ‘I don’t like books much but I love the Moshi Monsters and Star Wars comics.

‘They’re more fun because you can see the action in front of you and it’s easier to understand what’s what – pictures bring words to life.’

To join our Read All About It campaign visit portsmouth.co.uk/news/campaigns/read-all-about-it or email aline.nassif@thenews.co.uk