New drive to get children reading for pleasure

A programme to get more children in Liverpool reading for pleasure is being launched.

In partnership with the National Literacy Trust, a Liverpool Reading Quality Mark is being developed, with 22 schools initially, focusing on promoting reading for enjoyment.

A recent study conducted by the Institute for Education found that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.

It follows the publication of ‘From Better to Best’ by the Liverpool Education Commission, chaired by former Secretary of State Estelle Morris, Baroness of Yardley. It recommended that no child in the city, if capable, should leave primary school unable to read.

The three infant, 13 primary, one special and five secondary schools taking part in the pilot have been selected for their outstanding work promoting reading for pleasure and involving parents in supporting their child’s learning.

Pupils who are reading champions at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School and Alsop High School helped launch the initiative with Councillor Lana Orr, who was recently appointed by Mayor Joe Anderson as Mayoral Lead for Reading.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said: “We have made tremendous progress over the last few years improving standards of literacy in schools, but we know we can do more.

“The Liverpool Reading Quality Mark will showcase and celebrate the very best work and the success stories, which can be used as an exemplar to support other schools.”

The pilot will feed in to the Year of Reading 2014, spearheaded by the Liverpool Learning Partnership in which schools support and challenge each other.

Councillor Orr said: “All the evidence shows that children who have better literacy skills are more likely to have improved life opportunities and go on to secure a decent job. We owe it to our children to do all we can to make this happen. This is part of our commitment to implementing the excellent recommendations made by the Liverpool Education Commission.”

A second group of 25 further schools will join the pilot project in February 2014 and the first schools are expected to be formally accredited in May 2014.

Andy Parkinson from the National Literacy Trust added: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative. Reading is incredibly important and encouraging children to enjoy literature helps develop a habit that lasts a lifetime.”

In 2012, 86 percent of 11 year old pupils in Liverpool achieved level four or above in reading at Key Stage 2, close to the national average of 87 percent.