Published: 14:00, 07 April 2015
A drive to get more youngsters reading has been launched across the Towns.
It is hoped Get Medway Learning will encourage more children to open a book and discover a whole new world.
According to national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, roughly one in six children in Medway leave primary school having failed to meet the expected reading standards for their age.
Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler, the charity’s manager for the county, said: “This is about giving children one to one attention and support to help them realise that reading is something they can enjoy.
“Sometimes in classes children will try to read but struggle alone, not knowing certain words but not being confident enough to say anything. That fear and sense of failure can fester and put children off reading forever.” - Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler
“Sometimes in classes children will try to read but struggle alone, not knowing certain words but not being confident enough to say anything.
“That fear and sense of failure can fester and put children off reading forever.”
The charity already runs the Get Kent Reading campaign but had not really cracked the Towns, which is why this fresh Medway-only drive was created.
There will be a day of action to spread the message about this project on April 23 but the charity is already on the hunt for schools to help at and volunteers to come forward.
Luton Junior School was one of the first to sign up and Tina Wood and Tamara Page are volunteering as reading helpers.
Mrs Bengtsson-Wheeler a mum-of-two herself added: “We’re hoping to reach out to 250 children and support them in their learning and reading.
“We need to makes things fun. My daughter could read very well at a young age so was given more difficult books, but then she stopped enjoying it.
“She was concentrating so hard on the words themselves that the story lost all meaning. We would get to the end and she couldn’t tell me what the story was about.
“Each child is different and the materials used can vary drastically to suit them and what they are interested in.
“Often for children really opposed to the idea of reading, we use comics.
“Sometimes it isn’t until they finish that they realise how much they have actually read and how much they enjoyed it.”
The 46-year-old previously worked with pupil referral units and youngsters who found themselves falling out of mainstream school and often turning to crime.
“It’s much harder to help people who are at this stage, but 25% of the teenagers I was helping had a reading age below that of a seven year old.”
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