Teachers at Killicomaine Junior High School have been working alongside a Christian–based community group to run a pilot reading scheme in the school.
This year Fusion Youth have been working alongside Mrs Porter and Mrs Doogan, two Killicomaine teachers, as part of the school’s continuous drive to establish reading as a habit within all its pupils.
Nine members of the local community in Portadown have been trained in reading support strategies and, along with their nine partner pupils, have been reading together for 20 minutes every day during morning assembly.
The main goal of the programme is of course to encourage pupils to take up the reading habit, the result of which being improved skills and, consequently, improved grades, creativity and knowledge of vocabulary, as well as enjoying a good yarn or two!
Said principal Hugh McCarthy, “The sessions have been enjoyed by both partners and pupils alike, with many finding rewards where they hadn’t expected to, from increased confidence in accessing subject content to the satisfaction of offering a redefined role model for the pupils.
“Bringing the community into the school has no doubt raised the profile of the importance of linking home and school also, something we are all grateful for.”
At the close of the programme partners, pupils and parents were invited to an awards ceremony, hosted by Fuse together with the school and attended by Lord Mayor, Darryn Causby.
Certificates, speeches and gifts were given followed by a delicious lunch enjoyed by all. Pupils, along with Keith McCann, Fuse leader, attended a pottery session that afternoon as reward for the pupils involved.
“I pay tribute to those members of our local community who committed themselves to five days per week for eight weeks to assist our young people,” continued Mr McCarthy.
“Special mention to Keith and Nigel for all their extra time in planning and setting up and to Kate O’Hanlon for her expertise.
“I hope that next year even more community members join us.”
Mr McCarthy underlined the importance of reading to pupils and their futures. He said, “The ability to read is fundamental to our ability to engage with modern society needs. Read for pleasure; Read for achievement; Read for qualifications; Read for employability; It is absolutely vital that our young people learn to read.”