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More Ipswich schools sign up for innovative Let’s Talk Reading pledge in improving childrens’ literacy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 January 2018

From left to right: Mrs Julie Long, reading advocate and Mrs Sarah Merchant, English lead from St Helen's Primary School in Ipswich with the Let's Talk Reading pledge. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

From left to right: Mrs Julie Long, reading advocate and Mrs Sarah Merchant, English lead from St Helen's Primary School in Ipswich with the Let's Talk Reading pledge. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

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More Ipswich schools have signed up to an innovative literacy pledge which has been instrumental in improving results over the last 15 months.

Suffolk Libraries said making reading an engaging and enjoyable experience was key. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES Suffolk Libraries said making reading an engaging and enjoyable experience was key. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

The Let’s Talk Reading project was formed last year by Roger Fern and John Helleur in response to research published which suggested that half of students started secondary school two years behind their reading age in some parts of Ipswich.

So far 10 Ipswich schools have been working with partners including Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Libraries, with three more having signed up to the pledge – St Helen’s Primary School, Ipswich Academy and The Oaks Primary School.

John Helleur, one of the project’s founders, said: “We are delighted that schools have really got behind Let’s Talk Reading and shown their commitment to focus on reading with every pupil.

Back row from left to right: Mr Jeremy Pentreath, joint headteacher; Miss Katherine Kimble, English lead; Mrs Rose Palmer, librarian; Mr Philip Palmer, joint headteacher. Front row - Charlotte and Jude, from The Oaks Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: SUFOLK LIBRARIES Back row from left to right: Mr Jeremy Pentreath, joint headteacher; Miss Katherine Kimble, English lead; Mrs Rose Palmer, librarian; Mr Philip Palmer, joint headteacher. Front row - Charlotte and Jude, from The Oaks Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: SUFOLK LIBRARIES

“The aim of the pledge is to help place literacy at the heart of school life, to create a culture where children enjoy and benefit from reading.

“It is vital that each and every child and young person is able to read well enough to enable them to succeed in school and throughout life.”

The scheme’s focus is on making reading enjoyable for youngsters in a bid to help them maintain reading, and promote conversations between youngsters and their parents and peers.

Parents reading to children helps encourage them to become readers themselves. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES Parents reading to children helps encourage them to become readers themselves. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

Data published in November revealed that some schools’ reading SATs results had risen by as much as 28% since being involved.

The pledge focuses on making children confident and enthusiastic readers, giving time and space for youngsters to read, and supporting parents and carers in both their own reading skills and encouraging their children.

Ipswich Academy principal Helen Winn, said: “Ipswich Academy is proud to have signed the reading pledge to confirm its commitment to improving reading skills.

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school (including staff) drop what they are doing and pick up a book for 10 minutes to read. Pictured is David Casuneanu. Picture: GREGG BROWN Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school (including staff) drop what they are doing and pick up a book for 10 minutes to read. Pictured is David Casuneanu. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Ipswich Academy is also working with local partners in primary schools and the community to support the improvement of reading for everyone in the local area. As a member of the Let’s Talk Reading project, we are committed to sharing and supporting good practice in Ipswich to secure a better future for the young people in our town.”

More partners are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

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