Teachers don sumo suits after children smash reading targets

PUPILS at Blackminster Middle School got a treat when they successfully smashed a reading target of 33 millions words in 12 weeks.

The youngsters, who actually read nearly 50 million words during the target time got to enjoy a sumo wrestling match between headteacher Lorna Button and deputy head Linda McQuone.

The pair went head on in a bout, much to the delight of the students, which ended in a hard fought draw.

Ms McQuone added: "The suits were very heavy but it was worth it. The kids have made twice as much progress in their reading and that was the point."

Helen Easton, literacy co-ordinator at the school, explained the challenge: "Every pupil takes a computer-based test each term, which generates a personal reading target and advice on book levels most suitable to their ability."

The students are then set a personal target for which they are rewarded when they reach.

"The target of 33,000,000 words was reached in only 9 ½ weeks as many children spent a great deal of their spare time engrossed in books," added Ms Easton. "Every child contributed towards the target; even reluctant readers were inspired to read. By the end of the 12 weeks, words read exceeded 42,000,000. Reading ages improved by an average of seven months across the school by the end of the autumn term and reading ages are showing an average improvement of 12 months since September."

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