Interplay Leeds Volunteer Reading Mentors Meeting 2

I said in my last post about our recent Volunteer Reading Mentors Meeting at Interplay in Leeds, I would share my short presentation. So here it is:

Reading Matters Presentation - Interplay 10-12-09

My overall message was that, despite so many changes, in schools, government and at Reading Matters, the need for us to keep on improving reading skills and changing lives is as great as ever.

In fact, the week after our meeting there was a flurry of news stories about how thousands of boys start secondary school 'barely able to read', the BBC report highlighted some of Reading Matters core areas of work. For example, in Rotherham 14% of 11-year-old boys in state schools did not reach level three in their reading tests this summer, this means they were at the level expected of a seven-year-old.

It is true that 'raw data' from the controversial SATS reading tests will not provide the full story, but headlines like these indicate there are still huge numbers of children and young people in primary and secondary schools that do not have special educational needs but still need extensive support for them to reach their full potential in life.

The next part of my presentation shows that through Reading Matters
Reading Mentors, Reading Leaders and other programmes, we do reach these young people with simple, targeted and effective support. In fact in the the 2009-10 academic year we supported 3768 children and young people.

The last 12 months we have won a number of awards and accolades that back this up, including the
Yorkshire Forward Creating Better Future Awards 2010 and Business Link Social Enterprise Awards 2009. But even more important to me is the feedback form the schools we work in:

“The Reading Matters scheme not only improves the reading ability of all students involved, it also creates a fantastic reading culture, promoting responsibility and maturity”. Sheffield School Co-ordinator at
Firth Park Community College.

Like all everyone to continue to meet our objectives, Reading Matters is finding new and innovative ways of working and new partners such as the Summer Reading Challenge, Special Schools and Foster Carers. Having said that, we will be drawing the line at canine support.

Happy Christmas everyone.


Interplay Leeds Volunteer Reading Mentors Meeting

Last Thursday (9 December 2010) we held our latest meeting for Volunteer Reading Mentors and School Co-ordinators. The first thing to say is that it was very cold and very icy, so thanks to all those people that made it along. Leeds was Frozen.
We are very grateful to Steve Byrne and all the staff at Interplay for hosting us and supplying generous amounts of much needed tea, coffee and cake. The refreshments were not the main reason for travelling to Interplay however, we were there to hear about their latest project, which has potential for Reading Matters to work along side them in schools.

Interplay have been delivering a workshop in Special Schools that is based on the short Story Spit Nolan (Creative Short Stories), author of Alfie.

The workshops provide a thrilling and engaging sensory learning experience centred around the construction of old-fashioned go-carts that feature heavily in the story.

We are hoping that as Interplay take the workshops to more schools, Reading Matters will provide Reading Mentors and/or Reading Leaders to sustain and embed the inspiration and enthusiasm generated by this exciting project.

At the same meeting I gave a short presentation about some recent developments at Reading Matters. I'll share these with you in a separate blog post very soon.