We are taking part in the BBC School News Report.

Statistics from 2014 show that one in five children in England cannot read by the age of 11; and 50{28a855aaf7ec3c2f8e6de878e39a01de7dfe63d87133dfa1f923b8b101e37c66} of British prisoners are functionally illiterate. In order to address this, City Academy has decided to introduce a new approach to reading and literacy called, D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read).


-Firstly can you tell us what D.E.A.R is?

D.E.A.R is an idea when you literally drop everything and pick up a book – you then spend twenty minutes reading and we do this every single day.

-And what is Accelerated Reading?

Accelerated Reader is a programme that is designed to help students increase their reading age quite rapidly. So, they read a book and take a quiz on the book and it tells us whether they understood it or not. Then over time their reading age will improve and then they can get prizes and certificates for getting the quizzes right and for the amount of time they spend reading.

-Why has City Academy decided to give a big push to improve literacy?

We have done this because we recognise that literacy is very important for all curriculum areas and any subjects. Additionally you need literacy in life to help you through university, colleges and jobs. We know that many of the students, when they come to the Academy their reading ages are lower than their chronological age; we really wanted their Chronological age to match their reading age.

-Personally, when did you discover your love for reading?

I have always loved reading. My mum used to read to me before school and it was always my treat to get ready on time so that we then had that time reading. I didn’t just sit there putting my socks on slowly, I would get ready quickly so there was enough time to read.

-Finally, can you tell us what book are you reading?

Yeah, I am reading Small Great Things and it is really interesting because it’s about an African American nurse who’s taken off a case of looking after a new born baby and then she’s accused of killing the baby by a white supremacist. And it’s about a court case and how race is looked at.

Thank you Miss Rodgers and keep up the good work. We’ll go and have a look for Small Great Things in the library now.

Research shows that reading for pleasure can reduce the symptoms of depression, build empathy and help us build relationships with others. We decided to do some research and ask a range of students about the impact that this project has had on their learning. We found out that 75{28a855aaf7ec3c2f8e6de878e39a01de7dfe63d87133dfa1f923b8b101e37c66} of students at City Academy agreed that the changes have got them reading more. Furthermore, 60{28a855aaf7ec3c2f8e6de878e39a01de7dfe63d87133dfa1f923b8b101e37c66} of students felt that having a dedicated reading time gave them greater pleasure in reading.

The Academy has also gathered data from KS3 that shows that a group of 10 students have already read over a million words. While the top reader, a Year 8 girl has read 4.8 million words in the 7 months that the programme has been running.

‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Words by Jady Sow Thior

Graph by Saima Akthar