Letchworth school wins national award for its celebrated emphasis on reading

Poppy DelGreco and Kieron Reeve received special awards for reading over 2 and 3 million words. Pict

Poppy DelGreco and Kieron Reeve received special awards for reading over 2 and 3 million words. Picture: Cora Fletcher - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth school has won a prestigious national award celebrating huge improvements in its pupils’ reading skills.

Fearnhill School has won The Renaissance Learning Award for the ‘most creative celebration of reading’ category after rewarding students who had read at least one million words, or whose reading ages has improved hugely.

The school’s librarian Roshan Hunt and library assistant Paula Middleton attended the awards ceremony which took place at The National Theatre’s rooftop venue, The Deck, in London on October 20.

Mrs Hunt said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of Fearnhill and would like to dedicate it to our students who have read the millions of words which will give them the polish to get ahead in life.

“Young people have so many distractions, not least from social media, so it is great that these students have devoted time to reading novels. This will not only aid their academic success but improve their mental well-being too.”

Renaissance Learning is the provider of the Accelerated Reader computer-based reading scheme which helps monitor students’ reading practice and progress. Once a student has finished reading a book, they take an electronic quiz to test their understanding of it.

The school entered for the awards after holding a celebration event of pupils’ reading at which they were rewarded for their success.

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The celebration at Fearnhill involved students receiving golden tickets to the red-carpet event. The school’s music students performed songs based on books which included a rendition of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, sung by head girl Georgina Kivelhan.

Pupils were also rewarded with cupcakes and were able to take part in a ‘Bananagram’ challenge by completing crossword type grids.

The party included a sneak preview of eight ft canvasses of iconic book covers which Fearnhill’s art students are working on to display in the library.

Headteacher Liz Ellis presented special awards to Kieron Reeve and Poppy DelGreco for reading more than two and three million words respectively.

She said: “Reading is the most powerful thing we can do to learn about ourselves and the world. At Fearnhill reading is at the heart of our work.

“It is wonderful to have this recognised at national level and all credit must go to the students and staff who have made it happen.”

All students in from Year 7 to Year 9 at Fearnhill will take part in the Accelerated Reader programme.