Support our Books For Schools campaign
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:33 03 November 2017
Reading is one of the most important skills a child can learn, but with schools struggling with funding cuts, teachers have less money than ever before to spend on books.
According to research by Save The Children, nearly a fifth of all pupils in England are unable to read well when they leave primary school.
Evidence shows children who can read well do better at school and have access to more career opportunities in later life.
Schools across Weston have come up with a number of innovative ways to get children interested in books including competitions, author visits and one-to-one support for pupils who are struggling.
Windwhistle Primary School has made reading its main focus for this year to try to help pupils develop a love of reading.
Headteacher Lyn Hunt said: “For us, reading is the key to everything. If you can’t read you are restricted in your access to so many areas of learning but also to enjoyment.
“Research shows children who can read have better life chances and they are more likely to have successful and happy lives, so it’s a really important skill to develop.
“Reading is our main focus for the whole school this year. We’ve picked it because it’s key to so much. We want to make sure they leave here with the best start possible.”
Each school is responsible for deciding how much to spend on books, but with budgets becoming increasingly tight there are less funds for resources.
Lyn Hunt said: “Schools have a big pot of money and it’s up to them how they share that out.
“Obviously there are certain things that have to be spent such as staff costs and electricity bills, but then there’s a much smaller pot of money to be spent.
“We spend about £5,000 a year on books for classrooms, for reading at home and the library.
“We do try to keep our stocks up to date with new books because that’s what the children are interested in and there are always new books coming out.
“However, we have got over 400 children in the school so there’s always an opportunity to increase that stock with new books they would really enjoy.
“If children find an author they enjoy, we want to provide them with the opportunity to borrow them. We are also encouraging parents to enjoy reading regularly with their children at home.”
The Weston Mercury is today launching a Books For Schools campaign to boost reading and literacy among children in North Somerset.
Reading is vital skill for all school subjects, meaning children who can read well perform better in lessons – and later life too.
Reading for pleasure can also have a huge impact on a child’s wellbeing and social development by helping to stimulate their imaginations and their understanding of the world around them.
Pupils who struggle with reading at an early age rarely catch up, which can lead to problems in later life.
That’s why we want charities, businesses and families to donate books or gift vouchers to us so we can share them among local infant, junior and primary schools.
Books and donations can be sent to Books For Schools campaign, Weston Mercury, 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1LW – and in coming weeks we’ll tell you how schools can earn them.