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Watton students rack up their word counts thanks to school reading project

PUBLISHED: 14:09 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 15 March 2017

From left to right, Wayland Academy pupils Josh Gore, Freddy Strange, Bridie Stratton, Jude Poole and James Gavin, who have been taking part in its Accelerated Reader programme. Picture: TEN Group

From left to right, Wayland Academy pupils Josh Gore, Freddy Strange, Bridie Stratton, Jude Poole and James Gavin, who have been taking part in its Accelerated Reader programme. Picture: TEN Group

Archant

Pupils in Watton are seeing their word counts spiral into the millions thanks to a new school scheme to encourage reading.

TEN group CEO, Dick Palmer, opens the launch of Get Norfolk Reading initiative. 
PHOTO: Nick ButcherTEN group CEO, Dick Palmer, opens the launch of Get Norfolk Reading initiative. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Wayland Academy Norfolk, in Watton, introduced its Accelerated Reader programme in September, which sees students take online quizzes about books they’ve read and given an ongoing record of how many words and books they’ve finished.

So far, pupils have read 42 million between them, with five students - Freddy Strange, Bridie Stratton, Jude Poole, James Gavin and Josh Gore - having passed a million words each.

The school says the drive has upped the overall amount of reading at the school, with book loans from the school library having jumped from 490 last November to 1,778 this year.

It comes weeks after the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group, which sponsors Wayland Academy, launched its Get Norfolk Reading campaign, which, supported by this newspaper, hopes to encourage more pupils to love books.

Josh, one of the million word pupils, said: “[Reading] has helped me a lot in my writing, because it’s helped me to understand more about different words you could use, how you can phrase things, I’ve learned different ways to put things.

It’s also helped me to be more creative, it gives me ideas. I write a lot of stories. After I’d done a bit of writing in English, and then I’d done a bit more reading, I thought I might write my own book.”

Accelerated Reader data shows that students are also improving their reading age - year eight students have, on average, improved their reading age by 10 months in the seven months from September.

Glen Allott, principal at the academy, said: “You only have to look at how busy our school library is, every day of the week, to see the increase in students’ reading. The students love the challenge of the quizzes and reaching their individual reading targets, whilst from a teaching perspective we can see how the accelerated improvement in reading ages is really helping our students.”

• Has your life been changed by reading? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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