Hampshire parents playing a big part in reading drive

BOOKWORM Lisa Saveall and her seven-year-old son Stanley.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (120682-652)
BOOKWORM Lisa Saveall and her seven-year-old son Stanley. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120682-652)

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PARENTS are playing an important role in helping children to read at a school that has signed up to our reading campaign.

Stakes Hill Infants in Waterlooville opens its doors twice a week to parents of four to seven-year-olds so they can learn vital tools to help their children read.

The popularity of the sessions is increasing, with two-thirds of Year Two parents turning up regularly to play reading games and teach words by breaking them down into syllables – known as phonics.

Headteacher Sue Aspland, who is backing The News literacy campaign Read All About It to boost reading across the area, said: ‘Parents can make a huge difference, but they often lack the confidence to help their children read at home.

‘That’s what the sessions are all about – and the children love it. They look up to their parents as role models.’

She added: ‘Vocabulary development is the biggest predictor of attainment later on in life, and you get that from reading.’

Lisa Saveall, 32, who comes to the classes each week with son Stanley, seven, said: ‘It’s brilliant. It’s given me the confidence to read with my children because I know I’m doing it the right way.

‘Stanley concentrates better here than at home. I love seeing him improve every week.’

Anita Martin, 38, who accompanies her daughter Heather, said: ‘I read a lot at home but I’ve never stopped to think how – now I have the tools to unpick sentences for Heather.

‘When I was at school systems for learning were very different. You can’t blame parents who struggle.’

Heather, seven, added: ‘I pick up lots of fun facts when I read. It’s fun to read with my mum.’

Stakes Hill has contributed £5,000 towards a lending service – similar to a mobile library – for local schools, which Mrs Aspland is using to make ‘bundles’ of books, puppets and CDs for parents who can’t attend the sessions to enjoy with their children at home.

She said: ‘We have to think of lots of different ways that will engage our parents on this important reading journey.’

The school’s literacy push is perfectly timed with the government’s introduction of phonics tests for all six-year-olds this June.

To join our campaign visit portsmouth.co.uk/news/campaign/read-all-about-it or email aline.nassif@thenews.co.uk.