Blessed William Howard

The Painsley Catholic Academy was established in 2012. We are the largest Catholic multi-academy company in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

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School seeks to boost students' reading for pleasure skills

A Stafford school is campaigning to buck the trend in secondary school age children reading less and less for pleasure.  Blessed William Howard Catholic High School has introduced ‘Rooted in Reading’ to Year 7 and Year 8 pupils, a scheme designed to encourage and motivate children to broaden their reading for pleasure skills. 


According to a recent study by the Institute of Education (IOE) revealed that children who read for pleasure are likely to do better in maths and

English. Reading for fun was also found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between the ages of 10 and 16 than their parent’s level of education.

Interest in reading tends to drop off once children start secondary school and it is not just their literacy development that this affects; it has a knock on effect on learning across the curriculum.  

An international study by Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) showed that just one third of children in England reported reading for fun on a daily basis outside of school, ranking England 26th out of 29 countries.

 “Reading different texts in order to understand, evaluate and discuss the content is a vital skill for learning in all areas.  It stands to reason that a strong reading ability will enable children to understand new information and so affect their attainment in all subjects.

“We are hoping to create a culture within our school that celebrates reading and encourages our students to share their thoughts and ideas with one another.“ commented Mr Smith, Headteacher at Blessed William Howard.

"Rooted in Reading" is a programme based on a series of 12 reading passports. These passports have been designed to improve language comprehension processes, develop pupils' confidence to share their opinions and expand the range of texts and genres they read.  Working through each passport, the reader is able to choose which texts they want to read within a certain theme or subject.  

The scheme is designed to complement the reading that the children already do as part of their English curriculum studies and has already proven a great success with some students reading as many as ten books since Christmas.