Loddon Primary Visit their Year 10 Literacy Mentors
Thirty Primary School children in Year 4 at Loddon Primary School visited Leighton Park on Tuesday 14th June to mark the end of their year partnering with Year 10 Community Action Service (CAS) students. They spent the afternoon playing a game on the Park followed by a literacy scavenger hunt in the Library, complete with Bingo card!
The eight Year 10s involved have been teaching their younger friends to read in a bid to catch up on some of the lost literacy attainment resulting from the pandemic. Following a crash course in literacy teaching by literacy professionals at the charitable organization ABC to Read, the students began visiting Loddon Primary every other week in November after the Autumn half term. Each Leighton Park ambassador has been matched with a small group of 2-3 pupils to plan and enjoy a wide variety of literacy activities and games to supplement the reading. Vansidhar (Year 10) reflected, “They’re creative so it makes it really fun to listen to their ideas. It makes you involved with them and you get to know what their ideas are.” One Year 4 student enthused, “It’s been fun for them to hang out with us and do cool activities.”
Leana Mikula, English teacher at Leighton Park and co-ordinator for the literacy partnership, commented, “The Year 4s have really benefitted from gaining interest in reading; have reading role models; social skills; and literacy skills development whereas the Leighton Park pupils have learned about leadership, responsibility, independence, commitment, and gaining confidence. Collaboration and problem-solving are key skills both groups have developed. When not reading at Loddon, every second week is spent with me in the classroom, on a reflection and planning session, allowing our group to continually improve and build upon the programme. Also, most importantly, there is the benefit of contributing to the community and being changemakers!”
Leander (Year 10) agrees with her teacher, reflecting, “Working with Year 4 has helped me improve my leadership skills, and helped me understand more about how to assist a younger person with learning. They are also very interesting to work with, because they can develop their own ideas about texts we read, which are always unique and personal. At the beginning of the sessions, the years 4’s were not very confident with reading, even when it was clear that they were able to do it. They also did not seem as engaged in the activity, however, in the most recent sessions they seem much more focussed and genuinely interested in reading. They have also developed methods on how to read a more difficult word, for example sounding it out, thinking about similar words, or taking the context of the sentence into account.”
Amy Baker, Year 4 teacher at Loddon Primary, said, “The programme this year has been absolutely fantastic! It’s been hugely beneficial to our Year 4 pupils. They have loved meeting with them, talking about their books, talking about their love of reading and taking part in some of the activities that the mentors have provided. Today has been fantastic, they’ve loved seeing the grounds and the library and being able to bring them into another school’s library to see what might await them when they go to secondary school has been brilliant.”
This is the third year that the scheme has run with our original Year 10 CAS group continuing their service into Year 11 because of Covid and supporting the Loddon students online with book readings from students and staff during the lockdowns. We are hoping to expand on the scheme next year and have made some progress towards this goal already with our Lower Sixth students undertaking similar endeavours at New Christ Church, Ridgeway Primary and Whitley Park Primary Schools on a few occasions since January.