Pupils aim for a full house in school bingo challenge get

FULL HOUSE! Ashton Razzell and Daniella Burns enjoy the challenge.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121151-1)
FULL HOUSE! Ashton Razzell and Daniella Burns enjoy the challenge. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121151-1)
Pudsey the bear and St Thomas More headteacher Colin Flanagan Picture: Habibur Rahman

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IT’S a game of numbers – but a primary school has managed to turn bingo into a fun reading challenge.

Manor Infants in Portsmouth sets weekly challenges for youngsters such as reading a poem, getting stuck into a non-fiction book, visiting the library or reading to a teacher.

For every one completed, pupils gets a star in their bingo book, with those who fill a line of six being rewarded with a seasonal prize like chocolate eggs at Easter.

And youngsters who complete a line every week of the academic year achieve a ‘full house’ and are given a book.

So far this year, 95 per cent of reception year children have completed every single challenge, and across the entire school about 75 per cent of pupils have scored full marks.

Daniella Burns, five, said: ‘My most recent challenge was reading The Hungry Caterpillar which I loved – it’s definitely one of my favourite books.

‘I’ve always enjoyed reading but now I read every single week and I’ve noticed I’m getting a lot better at it.

‘I look forward to filling out my bingo lines. It makes me happy when I win prizes and it makes me want to read even more.’

Ashton Razzell, five, said: ‘I’ve been reading spring poems and I’ve really enjoyed them.

‘I like history but I prefer fiction to non-fiction, and my favourite book so far has been Jack and the Beanstalk.

‘I read so much more at home now, because I want to complete the challenges.’

The bingo challenge at Manor Infants, which has signed up to our Read All About It campaign to boost reading across the area, is just one example of the school’s drive to improve literacy.

Headteacher Jan Christie, has used the government’s pupil premium funding for disadvantaged pupils to employ a school librarian two days a week, and work has started on an ‘outdoor library’ for everyone to enjoy books in the sun this summer.

Mrs Christie said: ‘We’re trying to instil a love of reading by setting challenges in a range of contexts.

‘We do a lot of reading at school, but the idea of the bingo challenges is that they invite boys and girls to explore books at home, in libraries and in lots of genres to give them a breadth of literature.

‘The biggest achievement of this challenge is the sheer level of enthusiasm from the children, especially the younger ones.

‘They are all so keen to get their next stamp and make up the line, which is terrific.’

She added: ‘Reading is the answer to everything – and this is the age you can get children hooked.’

If you are interested in joining The News’ literacy campaign please email aline.nassif@thenews.co.uk