Reading Programme at St Anselm's Catholic Primary School
Year 12 boys from Elmfield House visited St Anselm's Catholic Primary School every Wednesday to hear children read. A particular emphasis was placed on improving the skill of reading for meaning, and so the boys were trained in questioning to determine comprehension and understanding.
Harrow School has an excellent relationship with St Anselm's Catholic Primary School and the Director of Harrow's Shaftesbury Enterprise simply asked the question - is there anything our boys can get involved with at your school?
The head teacher said that a major area for school improvement was in the area of reading for meaning among the children and this was an area where the Harrow boys could make a major contribution, and would certainly have a huge impact.
The children at St Anselm's School had the opportunity to have someone hear them read, to ask questions about the text and to help them make progress.
11 boys participated. Two teachers from Harrow helped to oversee the programme.
The head teacher wrote to Harrow School on behalf of the staff and pupils of St Anselm's to express their gratitude. She commented that the "Harrow boys are doing a wonderful job with the reading project. Their work with the children is making a huge difference to the children's confidence in their reading and this is contributing to their all-round reading progress."
The Harrow boys valued the opportunity of being able to be of good influence outside of the Harrow School; they enjoyed getting to know the children, hearing them read, and seeing the children making progress. The boys saw that they made an impact simply by giving up an hour of their time each week. One Harrow boy said that he now helps hear his younger brother and sister read at home.
One Harrovian said: "Although the majority of growth in this project has been, without a doubt, with the children,I believe that there has also been some emotional growth within the Elmfieldiands who participated as well. They have finished the project with a greater appreciation for the dedication and perseveration that it takes to teach and how truly rewarding it is as a profession. I believe that they now better understand the nuances of teaching and where their teachers are coming from at times. The boys have indeed taken this opportunity by the horns and have managed to learn some valuable life lessons out of it. Some may even consider becoming a teacher later on in life."
The programme worked very well, and no modifications seen necessary. Harrow School deeply values its partnership with St Anselm's and we hope that the two schools will continue to work closely in the future.
The 11 boys who participated in the scheme are in Year 12. There were four groups of two boys and one group of three who were attached to classes ranging from year 1 to year 3, and each group reported to the class teacher at the end of the session to give feedback on the progress of the children.
This reading programme took place every Wednesday afternoon during term time from October to March. The Harrovians listened to each child reading for approximately 20 minutes and asked the comprehension/grammar questions provided after each reading.
It is intended that the scheme should be repeated next year.