Reading Buddies hope to make a big impact in Oldham schools

Date published: 23 June 2022

The Pinnacle Learning Trust has launched a ‘Reading Buddy’ programme across its locally-based academies, with students from Oldham Sixth Form College working with students at the Hathershaw College and Werneth Primary School to help address the impact the pandemic has had on young peoples’ reading habits.

This exciting initiative provides an opportunity for those students who may see reading as a challenge or who simply want to develop good reading practice, to be able to do so; with mentoring from older sixth form students, who serve as both a model and a guide.

Not only does it help the students build their confidence in their own reading ability, but it provokes and promotes a much needed dialogue around the benefits of reading and the positive effect it has on a young person’s future potential.  

Claire Cull, Assistant Principal at the Hathershaw College with responsibility for Literacy, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for all of the students involved. 

"Working with Richard Lee from OSFC and Sarah Chandler from Werneth Primary has allowed us to form even stronger links across the Trust. 

"It was wonderful to see our Hathershaw students engaging with the older OSFC students and to listen to the conversations that were taking place around reading and its importance. 

"I am very excited to see how this programme expands and to watch the opportunities that it creates for our young people arise from their engagement with it. 

"The scheme has also highlighted the benefits of being part of a Trust, particularly one which represents all of the phases of education.”

Sarah Chandler, Vice Principal of Werneth Primary School, said: “When I was asked to lead the Reading Buddies Programme for Werneth Primary School, I was thrilled to be given such an opportunity.

"Working with Claire Cull from Hathershaw and Richard Lee from Oldham Sixth Form College has strengthened links within The Pinnacle Trust and collectively pooled expert resources to the advantage of all.  

"At Werneth, reading is at the heart of our curriculum. 

"We know that engaging children in reading from the beginning is one of the most important ways to make a difference to life chances.

"For this reason, children need to be continually motivated to read. Emotional engagement is the key to becoming a lifelong reader.

"The Reading Buddy Scheme allows the children involved to have access to a trained young adult who is eager and keen to pay close attention to what their child says.

"Even after the first session, it is clear that strong relationships are already being established between the children and their buddies; while the Werneth pupils benefit from becoming more confident readers, the OSFC students also seem to be relishing the new challenge of connecting with Primary Phase children, putting their training into practice and moving learning on.

"It has also been lovely to see past pupils return to give something back to their local community.

"Thanks to the delightful, enthusiastic OSFC student volunteers, we have made a great start to the Reading Buddies Scheme.

"The buzz in the air, the laughter and smiles and the positive energy generated around reading mean that Wednesdays are now my favourite day of the week."

Richard Lee, Assistant Principal at OSFC, said: “OSFC was delighted when we were approached about the possibility of establishing a Reading Buddies scheme with our Pinnacle Trust partners, the Hathershaw College and Werneth Primary School.

"This is exactly the kind of collaborative initiative in which we love to participate and which underlines the strength of partnership within the Trust.

"It has been fantastic to work with my colleagues Sarah Chandler and Claire Cull to discuss, plan and implement a strategy to make this possibility into a reality.

"It is such a brilliant project as it is of huge benefit to all involved.

"The Reading Buddies scheme is a wonderful project that we anticipate will continue to run into the future and go from strength to strength.”

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