School’s theatre company inspires young readers

BEHIND YOU! From left Ugly Sister Rhian Carter, 11, Cinderella Bobbie Garland, nine, Buttons Nathan Deane, nine, and Ugly Sister Tayla Carrington, 11, in Newton Primary School's production of Cinderella.  Picture: Steve Reid (120430-621)
BEHIND YOU! From left Ugly Sister Rhian Carter, 11, Cinderella Bobbie Garland, nine, Buttons Nathan Deane, nine, and Ugly Sister Tayla Carrington, 11, in Newton Primary School's production of Cinderella. Picture: Steve Reid (120430-621)
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DRAMA is inspiring generations of children at a primary school in Gosport to read – as they are getting absorbed in rehearsing scripts.

Boys and girls at Newtown CoE Primary, where 85 per cent of school leavers achieved the government’s target reading levels last year, are enjoying a different route to reading which they say is boosting their vocabulary as well as their confidence.

Members of the Newtown Players, who are currently putting on a rock-star version of Cinderella, are not all keen on books – but they can’t get enough of scripts which they read day and night.

Freddy Cairns, 10, who plays Prince Charming’s manager, said: ‘I find scripts much more interesting than books, because the characters come to life more easily.

‘Being involved in the Newtown Players productions has really boosted my confidence as a performer, and I’m a better reader.’

Abbie Philp, 10, who warms up the audience with jokes, said: ‘I don’t enjoy reading books but I love reading scripts, because you get to pretend you are one of the characters.

‘As soon as I got my script I took it home and read it over and over again.

‘I’ve picked up lots of new words from the scripts which I use when I speak.’

Bobbie Garland, nine, who plays Cinderella, said: ‘I love reading – I read every night – but reading scripts has improved my vocabulary.

‘And now when I read books I see them like a play in my head.’

Newtown is one of several schools that has signed up to The News’ campaign Read All About It to boost literacy across the area.

As well as encouraging drama, head Matt Prince has signed up year five pupils to a World War Two film-making course in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence and the Ashcroft Arts Centre which sees them writing, acting and filming scripts.

Mr Prince said: ‘Literacy is key to everything – but it’s not just about learning your ABCs.

‘The arts are a fantastic way to getting creative children reading, because they are having so much fun.’

For more details on our campaign visit portsmouth.co.uk/news/campaigns/read-all-about-it or email aline.nassif@thenews.co.uk.