Reading Workshop and Challenge

Claremont Primary School

School context

This is a larger than average school with a high proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds and pupils eligible for pupil premium funding. There is also a high rate of transition

What was the need?

  • Improving reading was on the school development plan
  • Parents were unsure about what they needed to do to support their children with reading at home – particularly parents with English as a second language
  • Parents were not writing in the reading record books.

Overall aims of the work

  • To help year 2 and 3 parents better support their children’s reading
  • To give parents confidence in reading with their children

What we did and how

  • The teacher responsible for parental engagement attended a PEN course “Engaging Parents In Children’s Learning”
  • The reading specialist teacher, the teacher responsible for parental engagement and the Somali TA/community worker were all involved in planning and preparation for the workshop
  • The workshop was advertised to parents in the newsletter, on the parents’ notice board, on billboards in the playground, on posters around school and through text alerts.
  • Advertisements were translated into different languages
  • The workshop was held at 9.00 am when parents dropped off the children
  • At the workshop there were five different groups reflecting the different languages spoken by the parents: English, Somali, Arabic, Urdu and Punjabi
  • Each teacher or TA demonstrated with a child how to ask the children questions about their books and complete the reading record book. At the end of the workshop a three week challenge was set. Parents had to ask the children questions about their books and complete the reading record book.
  • Three weeks later a special assembly was held for families who had successfully completed the challenge. They were invited to receive a certificate and each child received a prize
  • What were the outcomes for children, parents/families and the school?
  • 55 parents attended the workshop (out of a possible 120)
  • 39 families read books with their child, asked questions and completed the reading record books. They completed the challenge and attended the special assembly
  • Several months later parents are still reading with their child and completing the reading record books on a regular basis
Comments from parents included
“This has been very excellent.” “Children should get homework from early stages so that we can understand what is happening in the class.” “The workshop it was great. I would like you to do a workshop for maths to help our children.”

Overcoming challenges

Getting accurate translations was difficult and hard to check

Our next steps

  • We will run another workshop next year
  • Next time we will set out the chairs in each group prior to the start of the workshop
  • Next time we will have an additional or longer challenge e.g. for half a term.
  • Next time we will measure exactly how many parents are filling in the reading record books before and after the workshop

Our top tips

  • Keep the message for parents simple
  • It’s very useful to have a teacher with some responsibility for this work to help coordinate it
  • Involve any TAs with language skills or links in the community
  • It was vital to have the notices advertising the workshop translated as well as the workshop itself and the question sheet

Resources/staff time needed

It took time for the staff to plan and organise it – particularly the lead teacher