Mentor Reading Programme
At Scalby School, reading underpins everything we do. We strongly believe in actively promoting a reading culture within our school. One of the many ways we do this is with our Mentor Reading Programme. As part of our mentor time offer, students in Years 7 to 10 will read a wide range of texts with their mentor. The mentor reads aloud, modelling fluency and intonation, while the students follow on with their own copies of the text. Students are then given frequent opportunities to discuss their reading – it might be discussion of the definition of a tricky word or a more in-depth discussion about some of the issues raised in the story.
A study in 2015 concluded that ‘41% of 11-15 year-olds in England do not participate in reading and writing activities that are not required for school in their spare time.’ (Taking Part: Annual Child Report - 2015) Our Mentor Reading programme seeks to challenge that statistic, by introducing our students to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction at mentor time to inspire them to choose further texts of their own. Our school library has a dedicated section for readers who have enjoyed their Mentor Read and would like to experiment with a book by the same author or a book of the same genre. Our digital library, ePlatform, also supports this.
The books we read at mentor time have been specifically chosen to reflect our school’s Culture and Character themes – kindness, working with others, leadership, respect and tolerance, organisation, pride and resilience. The stories contain characters from all different walks of life; there is a good deal of positive representation in our chosen texts. All the books have a strong teenage protagonist for our readers to identify and empathise with. It is our sincere hope that, at some point, our students will ‘meet themselves on the page’ and this will help them to see that reading is for them; all children can be part of our reading community.
Our Mentor Reads include:
- KS3 – ‘Cogheart’ by Peter Bunzl, ‘Ghost Boys’ by Jewell Parker Rhodes, 'Owen And The Soldier' by Lisa Thompson, ‘The Ruby In The Smoke’ by Philip Pullman, ‘The House With Chicken Legs’ by Sophie Anderson, ‘Nowhere on Earth’ by Nick Lake.
- KS4 – ‘The Boy Who Steals Houses’ by C.G Drews, ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai, ‘The Truth of Things’ by Antony McGowan, ‘We Are All Made Of Molecules’ by Susin Nielsin, ‘Anita and Me' by Meera Syal.
Whilst the aim of the Mentor Reading programme is to instil a love of reading within our students, there are also enormous academic benefits too. Reading ages have increased for many of our students who take part, which can only be beneficial to our students as they work towards the rigours of GCSE study and beyond. Reading for pleasure is more than just a hobby; it is an integral life skill, which has tangible impacts on the futures of our young people.