Senior girls at Portsmouth High School are being given dedicated time and space for reading thanks to the launch of its new ‘Reading Room’ pilot project.
The project is being led by Miss Katie Farnhill, an English teacher at the school. The intention is that the project will improve the sophistication and range of the girls’ vocabulary and encourage them to use new and/or more ambitious words in the correct context.
Miss Farnhill explains:
‘We are giving the senior girls time and space, for fifteen minutes of each school day, to disappear into a book of their choice. We all feel that raising the profile of reading can only be a good thing – and that the staff should be modelling good practice alongside the girls.'
'We hope this initiative will help to encourage conversations about reading and literature across the school, as well as providing an opportunity to enjoy a good read.’
Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, added:
‘Teachers nationally report that children are suffering from “word gap” and this is evidenced by research carried out by Oxford University Press. It is affecting all ages of pupils and is defined as a lack of vocabulary. A good understanding of linguistics opens so many doors leading not only to an enjoyment of reading but an ability to write and speak creatively and eloquently.'
‘Many of the girls say they do read for pleasure but the not so good news is that most would also confess a drop off in the time they spend reading due to the busyness of their lives. By bringing back a dedicated reading time during the school day can only be a good thing.'