Reading Is The Answer

I think I may have found the answer to life, the universe and everything and it isn’t 42. That’s two Douglas Adams references for those of you unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. A wonderful book. Therein lies the solution. Reading. It really is the gateway to all knowledge. I’ve read throughout my life and during holidays I’m vociferous in my demolition of as many books I’m able to devour. Right now I’m reading Proud by Gareth Thomas and my favourite book is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Some of our staff have started to include the book they are currently reading in their email signature and I’m amazed by the varied titles I see.

I love seeing our students reading and I rarely walk past them without having a conversation about what they think of the book and what they are planning to read next. We have a smashing library at Forge and it’s great to see that it’s always busy. Literacy levels are so very important, they provide students access to exam papers, written instructions, research and the internet. A low reading age will severely restrict opportunities afforded to the student across the curriculum. It’s our biggest barrier to learning.

Over the last 18 months we’ve had a big drive on literacy and have seen some good results. Our literacy coordinator, Mrs Fellows, regularly reports improvements in literacy levels and our students are making real progress and developing a love of words. One of our students recently hired and read 14 books from the academy library…in one month! Author Neil Gaiman said that a book is a dream that you hold in your hand. That young lady was blessed with 14 wonderful dreams that month.

There is only so much we can do during the academy day, so this month my blog will be a plea for the support of all of our parents. If you don’t already, read with your children. Read to them. Read with them. Encourage them to read. Encourage them to borrow books from our library. It will make a difference, now and for the rest of their lives. Let us know if you have any concerns about their reading and we’ll support you. Rest assured, we’re doing all we can in school but just 10 minutes a day at home will make a big difference over time.

Like you, I want the best for our students and I want them to take a lifelong appreciation for words with them when they leave us. I want them to be able to access all they need, to become the best the can be. So help me smash this barrier down. Reading is our sledgehammer.

Andrew Burns

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ― Dr. Seuss












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