At East Otago High School we offer a range of initiatives to support students with their literacy. We anticipate that by helping students to raise their reading levels significantly, we will not only improve their chances of succeeding academically but also raise their self-esteem and self-confidence as we introduce them to the joy of reading and broaden their horizons.
One of the programmes we run is the Peer Reading Programme. Our aim in this programme is to provide support and encouragement for students of all ages who find it difficult to read at a level appropriate to their age. We have chosen a school-wide and cross-age system.
All students from Year 7 to 13 are involved in this programme and are divided into small groups of approximately 10 students each and spread throughout the school in classrooms under supervision of a staff member. Pairs of students are linked together for the 6-7 weeks of the programme. Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 who are not directly involved in Peer Reading are in class groups doing activities with a reading focus. The programme runs during Term 2 for one afternoon form time per week.
We also offer a Peer Mentoring Programme where Year 7 and 8 students are paired with Senior students. They meet with their ‘mentor’ twice a week for 15 minutes at the end of Period 5. They focus on their reading during these sessions by reading texts with their partners. These texts have been individually selected for them and are designed to help them build their confidence as well as extend their reading skills. The Peer Mentoring Programme runs throughout the year which consequently gives students a chance to build a relationship with their partner. By creating a supportive environment which encourages reading, students develop a positive attitude towards reading as well as improving their reading ability.
In addition to these programmes staff and community volunteers are also involved in remedial reading with a small group of students. These students meet with their staff member or community volunteer twice a week. They have one on one attention during their sessions and read texts which are carefully selected for each individual. The aim of this programme is to lift their reading age so that by the end of the year their reading age is similar to their chronological age.
Having community volunteers come in to support us is a sign of the true community spirit and involvement at East Otago High School