Sailing into summer reading at Manchester Street School

Manchester St School
Manchester Street School ran a summer reading initiative for a targeted group of students, who received summer reading packs with self-selected books and information for parents.

Introducing Manchester Street School

Manchester Street School is a decile 6, co-educational contributing school in Feilding. The current roll is 430 pupils. The stylised rainbow has been chosen as the school logo because it reminds us to reach for the highest in all we do, and that education is the 'pot of gold' to set us up for life’s journey. We are an active Enviro school.

How our programme started

Jan Watts (National Library) came and presented a session Sail into Summer Reading to the staff in the 4th term. The focus of this session was research and findings about the slide of reading levels after the long summer break and ways we can keep our students reading over the holidays. Jan shared lots of ideas to consider and programmes tried by other schools.

We decided there was a real need to support students to continue reading over the long holiday break. Teachers felt they noticed a drop back of levels at the beginning of the year when they were assessing their students, (especially those students who were already identified with needs in reading).

We then decided to trial a summer reading programme, and also to open our school library to students and their families during the holiday break.

Programme

School library opening

We decided that we would open the library twice over the holidays. Once shortly after school closed (December) and then again in the middle of the holidays (January).

Registration

Parents and families were invited to register through our school newsletter.

Summer reading packs

We decided to make up summer reading packs for students who had reading recovery and other reading support programmes during the year. Teachers would nominate other students in their classes who they felt would benefit from having books in their homes to practise reading skills.

Parents and teachers

Parents came to the library, signed a form and registered their family to use the collection over the break.

Teachers completed forms identifying students who would receive a pack and the level they wished the material to support the student.

Packs

Large, bright, colourful reading packs were purchased to put material in. This would help make the programme exciting for the students and help protect the books.

We made numbered packs at each level. Each pack consisted of 10 school instruction/book box (levelled material and school journals) books and 4 library books (which the student personally selected). A laminated card went into the pack with the student's name and information about the material.

We also included some sheets for parents with information on why reading is important and with ideas of how they can support their child at home. A sheet with fun free simple holiday activities was also included as parent support material. The sheets were kindly supplied by Liz Hansen (Resource Teacher of Literacy).

Nominations/students

68 students were nominated across all levels of the school to have a pack.

We then met each student and talked about the programme and showed them the reading material selected for them. They then selected 4 library books for their pack.

The students were really excited about receiving a pack! The packs were given to students in the last week of school.

Conclusions

  • A random sample of 28 students was chosen to collect data from.
  • At the beginning of the year, teachers were asked to identify students who had maintained last year's reading level, lost or gained. This was done through running records. 23 students had maintained, 2 had gained and 3 had lost.
  • All the packs were returned and only 4 reading books were lost from packs.
  • Teachers all felt the programme was successful and would like it to be offered in 2014.
  • We surveyed a random selection of parents whose children had the packs.
  • All these children used the material and all parents said they had also shared the material with their child.
  • Only one parent did not read the parent material supplied. Most children enjoyed both types of reading material in the pack.
  • 3 of the surveyed students were also enrolled in the Feilding Library reading programme.
  • The library was open for 2 days during the break. Our school Librarian, Sasha Bennitt and several staff members came to help students issue and select books. Unfortunately, only one family came!

Comments from parents

The following are extra comments the parents made on their survey forms:

  • Making gender-specific book packs.
  • More books in pack.
  • Include student survey/sheets about the books.
  • Struggled to motivate my child.

Great idea, makes reading easy.

— Comment from parent

Recommendations

  • We continue school Summer Reading Programme in 2014.
  • We will not open the library during holidays. The Feilding Public Library run such an amazing programme which many of our students enrol in and the need to use our library is obviously not there.
  • Make gender-specific packs.
  • Promote the Summer Reading Programme within the school and to our parent community during the last term.
  • Purchase material specifically to add to these packs. We will look at using Ashton Scholastic points for these resources as appropriate material comes available.
  • As this year was a trial, next year we will gather more in-depth data of students' levels and skills to assess the value of the programme.

Report authors

Report prepared by Margot Mackie and Leigh Cowan.