Northern Education’s Trust’s innovative new ‘Reading Routes’ initiative, launched in October 2019, has had the students in all ten of its secondary academies climbing on board and experiencing a wide range of literature.
Devised with the aim of encouraging students to enjoy reading at its very heart, ‘Reading Routes’ skilfully enables students to build vocabulary, knowledge and cultural equity with minimum effort and maximum enjoyment. Each Route is comprised of five books which are grouped by genre, and a different Route is featured each half term. Students choose their books from the featured Route, or ‘hop off’ and try a different genre on another Route. A weekly ‘Drop Everything And Read’ lesson enables students to participate in the guided reading of an extract from one of the current Route books, thus widening their reading experience.
Students earn rewards for every book they read and North Shore Academy was delighted to host students from all its secondary academies at an event on Friday 6 December 2019, for the first five students across the Trust to read five books. Award winning writer Sophie Anderson enthralled students with a presentation about her writing and novel ‘The House With Chicken Legs’ (which features on the Year 8 Adventure Route). Student Thomas Dixon explained: “It’s so interesting to see what an author is like. They have a family and are just like us!” Students had the opportunity to ask questions and had so many, there was almost no time left for lunch.
A writing workshop led by Sophie followed in the afternoon. Students re-imagined fairy tales in the most imaginative, inventive and exciting ways. The room was bursting with writing of the highest calibre and students were enthused. Indeed, Assistant Principal, James Dransfield stated that: “it was an excellent event and the students have come back really enthusiastic – they were still writing their stories on the coach home.”
Students found the day extremely valuable. Jacob Meah commented “Sophie’s story about her life was truly inspiring, it’s given me a bigger push to become an author.” Keira Markland explained: “It was very educational and it was an honour meeting someone who has written such good work.” Faris Nurosi added: “It’s the first time I’ve met an author. Definitely worth the long journey to North Shore.”
Teacher Louise Mower added: “An event like today is more than a reward for students. It is crucial that our young people see that everyone can aspire to be a writer (or whatever they want to be). Bringing role models like Sophie into our academies, allows them to see that anything is possible for them in the future. Raising aspirations is so key.”