For the sixth year running, Seend Primary School has been named Melksham’s top performer in the Summer Reading Challenge. Conducted by The Reading Agency, the challenge tasks primary school children with reading six books during the summer holidays and giving members of their school’s library staff a summary of each book.
During the 2018 summer holidays, 59% of pupils at Seend Primary School successfully completed the challenge. This continued the school’s impressive record of exceeding 50% during each of the last six summer breaks.
Mrs Chalk, the Principal at Seend Primary School, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to promote reading and an excellent method of incentivising children to maintain their reading over the holidays.”
However, taking part in the challenge is not the only way that the school inspires children to read for pleasure. Mrs Chalk said: “We also motivate pupils to develop a love of reading in several other ways: encouraging volunteers to share books with children (including a reading dog called Moose), purchasing new and inspiring reading books, creating a reading den and listening station in early years, organising a school trip to the library, rewarding ‘star readers’, developing our own reading record books to support parents with the types of questions to ask when hearing their children read, and by holding bedtime story evenings.”
Research shows that children who enjoy reading have higher levels of attainment throughout school and can experience increased empathy, improved relationships with others, a heightened sense of wellbeing, and a reduced likelihood of experiencing depression or dementia in later life.
In addition to these health benefits, reading for pleasure has a variety of social advantages for children, including an improved connection to the wider community, increased understanding of their own identity, and a greater insight into the world view of others.
“The impact of encouraging our pupils to read is profound. The children clearly love to read, and hearing them talk with such enthusiasm about their books is lovely”, Mrs Chalk said. “If encouraging this has all the benefits that the research suggests, I am happy that we are doing what we can to help the children’s future health and education.”