Who wants to be a Millionaire?. . . We do!
Key Stage 3 students at West Walsall E-ACT Academy (WWEA) have been competing against each other to see who can read the first million words. Usmaan, a prolific reader in Year 7 has become our first millionaire. Having read over 20 books since starting at the Academy in September 2012, he has out-read his peers and achieved the accolade status of a Star Reader. He is not the only one, as 71% of our Key Stage 3 students are now participating in the Reading Programme, and the momentum is picking up. Once they reach the target of 1 million, we increase it. Now Usmaan is working towards 2.5 million.
In our attempt to raise literacy levels across the Academy, our unique break-time Cross Curricular Reading Group (CCRG), Lead by Vulnerable Groups Co-ordinator and English teacher Anita Taggart, has already accumulated an attendance list of over 60 students (spanning across the year groups). Our ‘CCRG Lead Readers’ are Post-16 students, teachers, managers and support staff from across the curriculum, who volunteer their break times to listen to and encourage our students to read.
On a regular basis, we also have guest readers (teachers and staff) who come in to read part of their favourite books to CCRG members (Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl is a popular favourite) in an attempt to further motivate and encourage our youngsters to read. Our Principal, Andy Hubble, was invited as a guest speaker in November 2012 and enjoyed it so much that he volunteers his time each half term to come in and listen to an enthusiastic bunch of CCRG Readers.
The fun doesn’t stop there though, as Huma (Year 9) was our first CCRG member to be presented with a bronze CCRG badge for attending over 50 break-time sessions. Students such as Atif and Maria have increased their reading confidence so much that they are now, after 6 months, reading and quizzing on books with 10, 20 and even 30 times as many words as they would have previously attempted. Now that’s progress!
So what does all of this reading amount to? Building reading stamina improves concentration, promotes confidence and enables our students to achieve their full potential for the future.