A PORTSMOUTH school is celebrating being the first in the city to have every single one of its pupils signed up to the library.
Charter Academy, in Southsea, encouraged all of its pupils to join the library and they were issued with cards on Monday, giving them access to any Portsmouth City Council library.
The move is part of the school’s ongoing campaign to improve all of its students’ literacy levels and give them wider access to quality books.
Vice principle Naomi Carter said: ‘We want to give the kids access to good quality books because some of them don’t have that at home, and the ones that do get more of a choice.
‘A child’s reading age is so important. It not only determines how much of the school curriculum they can access, but it also determines their future.
‘We want to give them a passport to college, university and a career of their choice and a good reading age is integral to that.’
Children’s author Bali Rai – who wrote, Sold as Seen, What’s Up and Jugglin’ – visited the school as the cards were handed out, in a bid to spark the youngsters’ interest in reading.
He led a variety of workshops aimed at introducing students to the library services and shared his own reading experiences with the children.
Dame Sharon Hollows, principal of Charter Academy, said: ‘We use students’ reading ages to assess how they can best access the curriculum.
‘It’s vital for them to have the highest reading age possible in order for them to achieve all that they can.
‘Ensuring that students have access to the city libraries is so important and we will continue to strive to improve the outcomes of all our students.’
Soon every pupil in the city will be issued with a library card through Portsmouth City Council’s project to increase literacy levels within the city.
Lindy Elliott, the council’s library services manager, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been able to deliver this project with Charter and look forward to welcoming all the young people into our libraries.
‘We believe this is the first time in the UK that all children in a school have been given library cards by their local council.
‘It’s brilliant, because we know that children who use libraries are better readers.
‘We want all children to benefit from the opportunities our libraries offer, and hope to have exciting news about an even bigger project soon.’