Portsmouth’s Langstone Infants book club youngsters are the coolest in class

READING The top four readers at Langstone Infants School get together for discussion and writing. From left, Kacey Jolliffe, Jake Kelsey, Aimee Thomas-Scarrott, and Christopher Cole.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121334-1)
READING The top four readers at Langstone Infants School get together for discussion and writing. From left, Kacey Jolliffe, Jake Kelsey, Aimee Thomas-Scarrott, and Christopher Cole. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121334-1)
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THESE seven-year-olds are among the best readers at their primary school – which makes them officially cool.

Kacey Jolliffe, Christopher Cole, Aimee Thomas-Scarrott and Jake Kelsey are members of a book club at Langstone Infants in Portsmouth which is pushing even the best readers to go one step further.

Rather than reading materials for their age group, the boys and girls help themselves to picture books aimed at children two years older which they study and discuss in detail.

They get through a new book every fortnight and even volunteer to do extra homework on the texts – ranging from reviews for the internet to short story writing and comic-style re-interpretations.

This book club is a sign of good things to come for the school under new head Victoria Page who has signed up to The News’ campaign Read All About It to boost literacy across the area.

Caroline Baxter, deputy head and English manager, who launched the book club this year, said she was overwhelmed with the children’s enthusiasm.

She said: ‘We read junior picture books that have complex language and themes as well as amazing illustrations which the children love.

‘The children are all so proud to be a part of something that is a little exclusive – being in the club is considered cool and they are superb reading role models to some of their peers. It’s a big commitment for them, but they turn up every fortnight without fail and the homework is done out of choice – because they love to read.

‘For us, reading is key to everything – it is the children’s future.

‘And we want our good readers to be great readers because we know they can do it.’

Kacey, who chose the group’s current book Horse by Malachy Doyle, for the group, said: ‘I love horses and it’s a very positive book I thought everyone would enjoy.

‘I look forward to the book club so much because of the discussions we have – it makes us read more intelligently.’

Christopher loves the suspense of finding out which new book he will tackle next.

He said: ‘If you go to a library you seek out a specific book – I prefer the element of surprise. I’ve enjoyed every book we’ve read in different ways, but I like story books which are filled with fantasy best of all. If you read about football you know someone will score a goal. Fiction can take you anywhere.’

The youngster is also a fan of the fortnightly tasks, and impressed teachers with his unique take on the Pussycat Pussycat rhyme which he combined with the Great Fire of London – and ended up with the cat saving the king.

Langstone says it invests heavily in supporting less able readers with volunteer and accelerated reading schemes, but felt the book club offered something special to those who already love to read.

She said all four pupils pictured above were expected to leave school with reading ages of up to nine years.