CHILDREN have been acting as reading mentors by running storytime sessions with younger pupils.
Eight peer reading champions from Year Six at Beacon View Primary School in Paulsgrove were chosen to take part in the Patron of Reading programme.
They visited Paulsgrove library and took part in reading sessions with children in Year 1, including those from nearby St Paul’s Primary School.
Fiona Freeman is a Year 1 teacher at St Paul’s and said she supported the initiative.
She said: ‘It’s really exciting for them to have somebody different reading.
‘The children love coming here. It’s really nice.
‘They are reading to a different audience so they have got to use their expressions and intonations.
‘I think our Year 6 children would probably like to do it. They have got to make sure their voices are clear and loud enough.
‘They enjoy being read to at school. It’s quite exciting to have something different for them.’
After the children had read to younger pupils, they discussed the book, and then helped them to choose a new book to borrow.
Denyse Kirkby is a patron of reading at Beacon View and works for the city library service.
She said: ‘It’s about exploring the fun of reading rather than reading for school which they already do quite well.
‘We thought it would be nice to be able to reward them with a bit of a treat to come to Paulsgrove library and to read with groups of children and help them choose books.’
David Percival, Portsmouth city libraries’ learning and engagement manager, said: ‘We want to support schools and families to make sure that children have access to the best possible opportunities in life.
‘We know that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be better readers than those who don’t and this gives them the opportunity to take control of the library.
‘We are delighted to support this really exciting initiative.’
The Patron of Reading work in Beacon View Primary Academy has shown measurable improvements in students’ activity related to reading for pleasure.
The number of students now reading at home three times a week or more has doubled in the first two terms, and eight times the amount of books are being borrowed from the school library.
One of the peer readers, Gypsie Palmer, 11, said: ‘It’s quite exciting because you get to meet all the other kids in schools. You are helping other children and teaching them to read.’
Jamie Hawkins, 11, added: ‘I’m excited because you are helping the kids and showing them what books can do to you.
‘With reading you can explore your imagination.’