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Literacy Week Gets Parents’ Support As Academy Puts The Spotlight On Reading

The brand new Library at Louth Academy Lower School is driving up interest in literacy and reading. Pictured enjoying some quiet reading time during Literacy Week are Year 8 students (l-r) Mya Hudson (13), Ellis Edmonds (13), Louie Overy-King (12) and Johnny Robertson (13).

A brand new Lower School Library, stocked with books by some of the world’s best authors, and a unique Book Vending Machine have been unveiled at Louth Academy as part of its drive to boost literacy and enjoyment of reading among students.

More than 50 parents joined students and staff during the Academy’s Literacy Week to hear their views on ways to encourage their children to read more. 

Philip Dickinson, Principal at the Academy, said: “Research has shown that children’s ability to read has a huge impact on their capacity to access the curriculum whilst at school. We actively engage with local primary schools to aid the transition into secondary school reading and encourage that engagement journey. As part of this commitment, Louth Academy is launching a new Literacy initiative to encourage reading for pleasure, to develop an aspirational outlook amongst the students and to support progress across the curriculum.”

During a coffee afternoon at the school, Michelle Hammond and Catherine Brett (joint Heads of the English Department) told parents that they want to encourage reading in every way possible and are very supportive of ideas to promote literacy within the local community.

“The whole purpose of Literacy Week is to promote the importance of reading and its impact on learning as a whole,” said Mrs Brett. “It is fantastic to be able to invite parents into the Academy at last and talk to them face-to-face about strategies for improving reading and ask for their views on ways we can help with reading in the community.

“Literacy Week has been amazing for the students. We have incorporated ‘drop everything and read week,’ which means that every student in Years 7-10 has to stop what they are doing and read for 10 minutes each time the bell goes off in lessons. All students have had to carry a book with them at all times as part of their uniform. Staff have been doing the same.”

Michelle Hammond said: “In addition to the Lower School Library, we have purchased a whole range of new books for the Upper Site. The Scholastic Book Fair has also been taking place in the Library and students are able to identify books they wish to purchase from that. The new Library is proving so popular that we have had to restock the books twice to keep up with demand for taking them out. The Library is open every lunchtime for reading.”

The Academy has also purchased Reading Plus software for selected students to increase reading levels and fluency. Form reading sessions are also delivered twice weekly for students in Years 7-10.

Two lucky students were the first recipients of free books from the Academy’s brand new Book Vending Machine. The students earn Star Student awards throughout the term for excellence in school, and the top students are rewarded with a token which they can choose to use on a number of rewards, including a free book.

Year 7 and 8 students, Nancy Baker (12) and Nicole Bigley (13), were thrilled with their wins. “It is really good to be able to choose a book for free. I really like reading,” said Nicole.

Visiting parents Paul and Claire Madden, whose daughter Isobella (11) is in Year 7 at Louth Academy, said they were very happy to support the literacy initiative.

Claire said: “I think it is a brilliant idea. When your children are at primary school they cannot wait to show you the books they are reading and read with you. At secondary school that tails off and it is harder to find something that interests them. We try to explore what Isobella is interested in and to find something to read that she might enjoy.”

Paul added: “Isobella plays football for the Under-12 girls’ team at Louth Old Boys and is a Man Utd fan so we have our eye on the Marcus Rashford book in the library here, which we think she might like.”

Claire added: “Reading runs through every part of learning and it is so important to encourage it. Unfortunately young people are not so interested in going to community libraries now, but this new library in school is very attractive and we are really pleased to support the school’s drive for improvement in literacy.”

Self-published author Alan Mitchell and his daughter Laura (12) moved from Essex to Louth specifically so that Laura could attend the hugely successful Academy.

“Laura has complex needs and we thought Louth Academy was exactly what she needed. She started here in Year in September and it is going really well,” said Alan.

“As an author who loves reading I will do anything I can to support this reading initiative. I am totally committed to literacy and the way it is taught in schools and I am really pleased to be able to come into school with Laura and see all of the ways in which reading is being promoted.”

Nancy Baker (12) and Nicole Bigley (13) are the first two recipients of free books of their choice from the brand new Book Vending Machine, which has been installed to boost interest in reading at Louth Academy.

Paul and Claire Madden with their daughter Isobella (11) in the new Louth Academy Library with Joint Head of English, Mrs Catherine Brett (right).

Alan Mitchell and daughter Laura (12) enjoy choosing a book from the new Academy Library.

Above and below: The brand new Library at Louth Academy Lower Site, which has this week hosted the Scholastic Book Fair.

Nicole Bigley (Year 8) and Nancy Baker (Year 7) choose their first first books from the new on-site book vending machine.

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Louth Academy

Philip C Dickinson
BA (Hons) MA PGCE.