Literacy levels have shot up in a number of schools across the city as a result of a successful Council reading scheme.
The Reading Power business volunteer’s initiative is an innovative scheme where volunteers from local businesses visit schools to read with students.
It is part of the Council’s literacy strategy which was launched in 2010 to help improve standards in reading and writing across schools in the city.
The campaign has seen impressive results, with standards of literacy rising at all the schools where the volunteers are involved.
One of the schools involved in the scheme is Glyn Derw High School, which has been supported by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and has seen dramatic improvements. In some cases pupils have increased their reading age by more than three and a half years in just one year.
For example an 11 year old who was previously assessed to have a reading age of an eight year old has, in just one year, caught up to the reading age they should have as a result of the scheme.
Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Cllr Julia Magill said, “I am delighted and encouraged by these results. Literacy plays a fundamental role in people’s lives and as a Council we recognise the importance of raising standards so that everyone can fulfil their potential.
“Poor literacy has a dramatic effect on both an individual’s life and wider society. Our schools are working hard to tackle the issue of poor literacy, and have embraced this campaign. We want to help parents and carers understand the importance of good reading and writing skills to help children succeed in the future, and the business volunteers are providing vital support with that message.”
More than 160 volunteers from local businesses and organisations have given time and support to 14 schools in the city, spending an hour a week in a school reading with pupils.
The feedback from volunteers based in secondary schools is that they have noticed clear progress in the students they read with, especially in terms of reading fluency and comprehension, concentration, confidence and enthusiasm.
Another example at one our excellent primary schools St Mary the Virgin Primary School, supported by Admiral, achieved 100 per cent functional literacy this year for their Year 6s.
Ten local Cardiff businesses, who have expressed an interest in signing up to the scheme, are set to attend a function tonight with the Council Leader Heather Joyce, who is strongly supporting the initiative and Cllr McGill.
It is hoped that the recruitment of more businesses will enable the initiative to expand into more schools in the city.
Cardiff Council Chief Executive Jon House, who helped to establish support for the scheme through his meetings with businesses, added: “The support and commitment from Head-teachers, local businesses and organisations working closely in partnership has had an extremely positive impact on students taking part. The excellent work the teachers and volunteers do is key to the good progress we are making and hope to continue.”