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18 June 2021

There is no unfortunate event, curious incident or mystery about it - our Westminster City School Tutor Reading Programme has got off to a flying and successful start!

Launched just two weeks ago, our Westminster City School Tutor Reading Programme sees form tutors across all years read aloud to their forms twice a week, picking an age-appropriate book from our chosen list. Our young people are given their own copy of the book, so they can follow along with the reading. 

Feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Year 7 form tutor, Ms Addo, said: “The books are a timely pick, not only are pupils enjoying this but so am I! My form, 7W, wait in anticipation for our next read and ask, with excitement, what we will be reading on allocated days.” 

“We are reading The Girl Who Stole An Elephant by Nizrana Farook. This is based in Sri Lanka and has brought great curiosity to our pupils, as they are hearing and reading words that they may not necessarily have been familiar with. For example, the author wrote about different Indian fruits and my pupils keenly asked what they were, which prompted us, as a tutor group, to find out more for our homework. I am so pleased so see this new initiative is developing intrigue and that our young people are enjoying it.”

Mr Gebremariam, from our Maths Department, is reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events to his Year 7 form. He said: “I believe it is already doing wonders and will hugely impact the literacy level of our pupils positively, as well as contributing to a calm and purposeful start to our day. The fact that there’s silence works well – paving the way for an organised, engaged and ready for business attitude in class.”

As well as form tutors, staff from across our School have been taking part and reading to different forms. Mr Gebremariam added: “The involvement of our senior leadership team in the reading is an interesting addition which brings our community together towards the same outcome, bringing alive the spirit of our School motto: Unitate Fortior.”

This week saw the arrival of our Westminster City School Tutor Reading Programme bookmarks, which have been given to all our young people and enable them to ruler track (follow the reading with the bookmark down the page) while their tutor reads. Our bookmarks contain an inspirational quote on reading – “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free” – from Fredrick Douglass, who escaped slavery to become a social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. 

You can see Year 7 pupil, Suhaib, using his bookmark to follow Ms Slater’s reading of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl in our picture, above.

Our Westminster City School Tutor Reading Programme is designed expand a love of literature, as well as increase the vocabulary and comprehension of our young people by exposing them to books that they may not have read before. Further information, including our canon of texts, is on our website.

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