Transatlantic Literacy Project
In June 2022 Wolverhampton Grammar School launched a Discovery Reading project designed for Year 2 pupils who had been identified as weak or reluctant readers, having special educational needs or English as an additional language.
The project was made possible through links with WGS alumnus, Dr Stephen Hegedus, the Dean of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), who put the School in touch with three Professors in Education.
The Discover Reading Project is designed to improve literacy rates amongst children of KS1 age with emphasis on pupils who have been classified as weak or reluctant readers, having special educational needs or English as an additional language.
The project came about thanks to link with a former pupil who is now Dean of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), and is heavily involved in literacy studies. Jointly SCSU and Wolverhampton Grammar School devised a Discover Reading Project to help improve literacy rates amongst children of KS1 age.
The project was launched in June 2022 and we welcomed 36 participants from 7 schools who enjoyed a variety of activities centred around the book ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ by Julia Donaldson. This included a visiting farm and illustrations with award-winning author and illustrator Peter Horáček was also there to share his books and illustrations of different farm animals.
The launch event was followed up with a monthly programme of book-related crafts and activities, designed to encourage reading for pleasure and boost literacy skills. This began in the Autumn term 2022. 30 Sixth Formers were trained to help deliver sessions to 10 visiting families and the first two schools to benefit were Caldmore Primary and Merridale Primary.
The project uses the School's library and is run by the Head Librarian and Assistant Librarian along with 30 trained Sixth Form Students.
WGS has funded books for all participating families and a buffet meal is always provided.
Initial sessions focused on children's engagement. This was followed by some assessment of literacy development using the Accelerated Reader programme.
Many participating children did not have English as a first language and did not have access to books at home. Assessment is ongoing and it is expected to see some progress by Easter 2023.
30 Sixth Form students, aged 17 and 18 years, have been trained to assist with literacy activities following the initial launch. The help to run monthly workshops at School.
Participating children are aged 5 to 8 years. 10 regularly attend from the first two participating schools. The next round of schools will be invited to participate in activities during the Summer term.
The project is planned to continue for the foreseeable future with the hope that professors at SCSU will also be involved in the delivery of workshops, either virtually or in person.