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COMMENT: More schools should consider joining
10:00am Monday 19th August 2013 in News
WHEN seven-year-olds were shown to be struggling to read in Key Stage 1 tests, education chiefs in Oxfordshire decided something had to be done.
So the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign was devised to improve the average reading age of pupils at schools opting to take part in the scheme.
Fifty-four schools signed up and, in the first year, 400 youngsters have received help.
The end-of-year report 12 months on from the launch leaves little doubt that extra guidance is working, with the average reading age of some pupils improving by nearly two years.
Cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley now wants the campaign, which is backed by the Oxford Mail and overseen by the National Literacy Trust, to benefit more schools across the county.
Schools now have little excuse for not signing up to the initiative that should give pupils the confidence to tackle all subjects, as they move up through the education system.
Extra help with reading in such a controlled, professional way is achieving the required results.
And once children develop a love of reading, it will stay with them for life.
With so many renowned children’s authors and illustrators in the county, it would be a shame if pupils did not have the necessary skills to enjoy their efforts.
There is no doubt that the reading campaign is working. And now is the time for all schools in the county to reconsider whether they should sign up.
Not all pupils struggle when it comes to reading, but those who do struggle definitely deserve the chance of benefiting from the campaign.
At present £585,000 has been earmarked for the scheme but there could now be an argument for increasing that budget.