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Canons High School

The Importance of Reading & The Joy of Books.

Reading Week & World Book Day

During the first week of March, we placed an even greater than usual emphasis on reading. 


The importance of reading and the undeniable advantage that reading gives a person in their personal development are well known to us here at Canons, and yet reading for pure enjoyment and pleasure is something which has to be discovered.
Many people who love books and reading can remember a particular book or story which got them hooked. For most of us this might have happened when we were quite young and enjoying picture books. We wanted to know what the accompanying words were, what they were describing or explaining to us. But encouragement was key, especially encouragement through example.
So what happened during Reading Week
In preparation for the week, each student had ensured they'd borrowed a book from our library, ready to read. Boxes of books were also taken to each class for students to choose from or swap with, and a special thank you must go out to all our staff and parents who donated books for this purpose.  Our students, and their teachers, then spent the first 10 minutes of each lesson in silent reading.  This was known as DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). Our students enjoyed this and looked forward to carrying on with it throughout the rest of the week. (maybe in their free time for the rest of their lives!?)
On the Monday our Year 11 students enjoyed a live theatre performance of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, helping them with this gothic horror book which they are studying for part of their upcoming GCSE English examination.
Each member of staff displayed a special sign where they showed what book they were currently enjoying. These signs will now stay up, being updated each time the teacher moves onto a new book.
Our Library was naturally in the midst of all this and our Learning Hub and Research Manager Ms K Daniels, ably assisted by Ms J Baah, had organised lots of creative and encouraging activities and mini projects for students to take part in.
Thursday was officially World Book Day and to show our support, and our staff's enthusiasm for books and treading, many staff dressed up as their favourite literary characters.
Can you spot at least three Oompa Loompas, Sherlock Holmes, Horrid Henry, a Tiger (who's probably come for tea!), several pirates, Willy Wonka, A black dragon, Lady Macbeth, two of the three Musketeers, Greg the 'Wimpy Kid' and his friend Fregley, Wally(Oh! There he is!) the White Rabbit and several Hogwarts students. Who else can you spot?
This was great fun, especially during lessons and did indeed show the students how much books mean to the staff. There was quite a buzz around the school on this day and it started many meaningful conversations about favourite books and reading.


Our English teachers embraced characters from books being studied in class, including Handmaids from Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale', which is being studied as a GCSE English text.


Our Maths teachers dressed up to emulate famous characters from the world of mathematics, whose pictures are displayed in their Maths rooms.



But what if a child's reading is delayed or has fallen behind?

Very young children may be able to decode words on a page. However, it's worth highlighting this is not what is called reading fluency. Reading fluency develops around the ages of seven and eight, it happens when a child has developed knowledge and skill for word recognition with some automaticity, accuracy and speed.

There are many good reasons why a child might be having issues with their reading, especially if English is not the language they grew up with or they've been out of schooling for some time. It is vital that any reading issues are recognised and addressed as soon as possible, usually initially in primary school but this help certainly does exist and actively continues in secondary school.

We have been using the 'Thinking Reading' programme with huge success here at Canons for several years now. Those students who would most benefit from our extra help attend regular, personalised sessions with specially trained professionals and using this programme their reading age accelerates forwards several years in just months.




Students that we might have worried aren't going to catch up, do catch up rapidly - and completely.

Help continues once the student has caught up and with continued encouragement, flourishes.