Reading afternoons at The Abbey are an integral part of cultivating a genuine love of reading. We recognise the value of shared reading and its positive impact on both mental health and academic outcomes.
Students work in small groups of between four and seven students per member of staff. Groups are carefully selected based on reading age and group dynamics. The sessions happen three times a week.
The afternoons are an opportunity for students to hear and understand vocabulary, cultures, customs and lifestyles outside of their everyday experiences. In turn, this increases their background knowledge and comprehension, as well as developing the skills of empathy and compassion.
Sessions are different depending on the groups with the overall focus on supporting students reading for pleasure. Staff provide students with a variety of reading materials that match their interests and reading level. Questioning and discussion-based activities encourage students to share their reading experiences.
“Other benefits [of reading for pleasure] include an increased breadth of vocabulary, pleasure in reading in later life, a better understanding of other cultures, better general knowledge and even ‘a greater insight into human nature’.” (Reading for Pleasure: A research overview, National Literacy Trust, 2006)
Adults regularly read aloud to students during reading afternoons to model pace and fluency. Similarly, audiobooks are used to expose students to a range of narratives.