Readers join millionaire's club

Readers join millionaire's club

26th July 2013


EAGER readers have accelerated into a celebrated multi-millionaire’s club.

Avid bookworms at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science have read more than 27 million words in a scheme designed to encourage and develop pupils’ reading skills.

The accelerated reading programme sets targets for pupils and challenges them with online quizzes after they have finished each book, moving them on to the next level when they achieve three perfect test scores.

Accelerated reading and learning resource centre manager Tina Gray said: “Before we implemented the reading programme in September last year we assessed the reading age for each pupil aged 11 to 13 and found that 50 per cent of them had a reading age of ten years and below.

“We re-tested them again in March and that figure had dropped to just 23 per cent of Year 7 pupils and ten per cent of Year 8s.

“The whole school’s reading skills have improved dramatically and we predict that by the end of this academic year we will only have four or five individuals who will require additional support.”

Since September 2012, 7,758 books have been read through the programme, which tailors each pupil’s reading skills to an appropriate set of titles, with a total school word count in excess of 27,450,000.

Top of the millionaire leader board is Heather McKim, 13, of Darlington who reached the 2,500,000 word mark for her house team Ruby Rattlesnakes and collected the overall school readers’ trophy.

“I’ve always liked reading, especially fantasy books,” said Heather. “I’m really surprised that I’ve read so many words, but I do tend to pick larger books. I’m really pleased to have won the trophy.”

The runner up millionaires included Andrew Nicholl, 13, with 2,109,907 words, Evan Mcgarth, 1,510,932, Joe Clark, 1,342,935 and Tanya Rahman, with 1,191,316.

Each reader also received a gold, silver and bronze badge for reaching their reading targets.

The overall house readers trophy was awarded to Sapphire Sharks, for reaching 9,449,783 words.

“Introducing new technology and the on line quizzes really encourages reading, especially in young boys,” added Mrs Gray.

“We find that a lot of them don’t want to pick up a book, but are happy to use a Kindle and all the pupils get quite competitive about their levels and want to improve on their tests.

“Reading helps right across the curriculum, in students’ performance, in lessons and in their exams.

“We have seen some progress and improve their reading levels by five years, in less than 12 months, so it really does work and makes such a difference to their education.”

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