Senior girls at Portsmouth High School were given dedicated time and space for reading today as the school launched it new ‘Reading Room’ pilot project.
This scheme is being led by English Teacher, Miss Katie Farnhill.
‘We are giving the senior girls time and space, for fifteen minutes of each school day, to disappear into a book of their choice,’ said Miss Farnhill. ‘This will hopefully improve the sophistication and range of the girls’ vocabulary and encourage them to use new and/or more ambitious words in the correct context. We all feel that raising the profile of reading can only be a good thing – and that the staff should be modelling good practice alongside the girls. We hope this initiative will help to encourage conversations about reading and literature across the school, as well as providing an opportunity to enjoy a good read.’
‘There are many schemes to encourage reading at our Prep School and girls across year groups from Reception to Year 6 are given dedicated time to read and take part in book debates, but we want to encourage this in the senior school too.’
Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, added:
‘Teachers nationally report that children are suffering from “word gap” and this is evidenced by research carried out by Oxford University Press. It is affecting all ages of pupils and is defined as a lack of vocabulary. This deficit in language skills may impede learning. A good understanding of linguistics opens so many doors leading not only to an enjoyment of reading but an ability to write and speak creatively and eloquently. As pupils develop they also need to be able to use writing and comprehension skills to answer questions fully in all subjects and to understand what is being asked of them. Poor language skills may affect behaviour and self-esteem and in extreme cases life’s chances.
‘Many of the girls say they do read for pleasure but the not so good news is that most would also confess a drop off in the time they spend reading due to the busyness of their lives. Part of their free time is taken up with homework and activities but the time, perhaps before they go to sleep, which was previously used for reading is now spent on social media and their phone. By bringing back a dedicated reading time during the school day can only be a good thing.’