Boost in literacy after Gosport pupils teach each other to read

HELPING HAND Brune Park pupils, from left, Beth Smith, Leon Underwood, Drew Arkley and Alice Shaw. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131136-1)
HELPING HAND Brune Park pupils, from left, Beth Smith, Leon Underwood, Drew Arkley and Alice Shaw. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131136-1)

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READING skills have shot through the roof at a school in Gosport after the introduction of a new literacy programme.

But Brune Park School in Military Road has not employed specialists or invested in expensive IT equipment.

Instead, 30 Year 7 and Year 11 pupils have teamed up, with the older students teaching the younger ones from a book called Yes We Can Read.

As previously reported in The News, the book uses a photo alphabet to teach learners and is championed by local group, Read and Grow.

Lessons in the book are split across two pages, one used by the older pupils at Brune Park, and the other page by the younger students.

They work through the exercises, using at first the photo alphabet, which is formed of letters made from pictures shaped like the letter.

The success of the scheme was marked by headteacher Richard Kelly who yesterday gave certificates to the pupils.

Even mums and dads took the time out of work to attend and see how well their children had progressed.

Leon Underwood, 11, has shot from having the reading age of a six-year-old when he started in September to now being off the chart after help from Beth Smith, 16.

Leon said: ‘It’s quite good, Beth is a great coach.

‘It has helped me out and I’m quite confident now.

‘I keep on raising my hand in other classes to read out questions. I wouldn’t have been able to do that before.’

He said he now enjoys readingother books.

Beth added: ‘The experience of helping teach a little Year 7 to read was good.’

The Year 11 pupils are volunteers from third set classes, with noticeable improvements in their own performance, attendance and behaviour.

Alice Shaw, 16, has helped bring Drew Arkley, 11, from a reading age of five to seven.

She said: ‘I wanted to help people to read because I know I used to struggle in class when I was little.

‘It’s been a great opportunity – I found it quite easy. Drew has improved so much.’

And Drew said it has helped her complete her homework for different classes much easier now.

Teacher Karen Thomas supervises the tutor period as the pupils teach each other and said the pupils love it.

She said: ‘It started off where I was telling them what to do. Then after a while because it’s so self explanatory, the first one in the class would be getting the books out.’