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Literacy: how one school taught its pupils to love books

When parcels of new books are sent to Bo’ness Academy, pupils treat their arrival ‘like Christmas’. Many have tried and failed to stoke children’s enthusiasm for reading, so what is this Falkirk school’s secret?

Abstract composite image of books

Tyler* was a non-reader – one of those children who would robustly decline even the most innovative appeals to pick up a book. So when he started not just reading, but asking to read, and enjoying that reading, staff at Bo’ness Academy knew they were onto something special. A whole-school approach to literacy with the emphasis not on skills but on the pure pleasure of the written word, had, it appeared, worked.

Every secondary school has a Tyler, and more like him. The research literature is full of investigations into how to get children like him to read: pupils with no specific learning ...

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