Primary Primary Literacy

Primary – Text Level Reading Activities

Activity One – Reading Buddies

We often ask parents to help with reading at home but with the pressures of family and work life that’s not always possible.

To counter it we’ve set up a Reading Buddies scheme in school asking for volunteers from our stronger readers to work with weaker readers at break times or lunchtimes.

The system is easy to set up but relies on the volunteers who can be encouraged with badges on their uniform announcing them as reading buddies. They’ll need a little training but all you need them to do is to read a book to a weaker reader then listen to them read it, helping with any difficulties and discuss the book afterwards in simple terms such as: Did you like the book? What was your favourite part etc. We found that the strugglers liked to have a, usually older, pupil to work with and we eventually extended this into a ‘learning partners’ scheme where the pairs would work together in other lessons where there are benefits to both parties.

Activity Two – Reading Workshops

These are a fun way to devote a whole afternoon to reading. We carefully selected a small range of books that we felt would be ideal for the session and asked parents and some local celebrities to come into school to help. The workshops were set up as follows:

–    Quiet rooms where a child could go and listen to a story being read to them.

–    ‘Explore a story’ rooms where older children had helped us prepare by reading books and providing displays on the characters, objects that were relevant to the book and costumes of the characters as well as audio versions of parts of the book recorded onto press and play devices.  We had rooms set up as Horrid Henry’s bedroom, The Worst Witch’s house and Hogwarts, amongst others. This idea brought the stories to life for the children almost as much as a film of them would have.

–    We set up a ‘Read to Me’ room where teachers and adults dressed up in fancy dress, often as book characters, and children could volunteer to read to them. They all said it was so much more fun than just reading to an adult although we did have concerns from parents that they might have to continue the idea at home!

Activity Three – Invite a Famous Author in for the Day

I know we’ve all done it, usually for World Book Day, but if you have the funds or a friendly local children’s author, the children get so much more motivated to read by listening to and asking questions of the author of the book they’ve read or are going to read. Most authors do a session of reading to the children and then talk about their characters and how they came about. The children can then ask questions of them before the author usually entices them with an excerpt of their forthcoming book.

If you are worried about budgets, many authors will quote you a fee but which can be reduced if they make sales of books to children and parents afterwards. The authors we have invited in have cost us almost nothing with careful planning and marketing to parents.

Dave Lewis
Primary teacher

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