Read more into role models

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
What have a firefighter, postman, priest, Sunderland's AFC manager and an MP got in common? Answer: they have all been guest readers at the Broadway Boys Book Club. After we saw an article in The TES headlined "Boys say reading is now less fun", we decided to organise a reading project with a group of Year 5 boys who were reluctant readers and had a reading age below their real age.

The project aims to make reading fun while demonstrating why it is important. We sent invitations to a number of male role models asking them to come to read with the boys and explain the importance of reading in the workplace.

The club was launched last year and almost everyone invited has agreed to come. Visitors chat with the boys about their favourite books and join in with the group as they read the next chapter. Books have included Bobby the Bad by Dick King-Smith and Bill's New Frock by Anne Fine, chosen to appeal to boys.

People from all walks of life have proved inspirational teachers and the visits have been followed by invitations to the children to visit the fire and police stations and the Royal Mail sorting office to see their role models at work. It has also opened the boys' eyes to careers other than football or being pop stars. During the summer, the boys, staff and guests went to London to meet Chris Mullen MP at the Houses of Parliament. Parents have also said that their children are more enthusiastic about reading and books.

Catherine Harrison teacher and Susan Davison teaching assistant Broadway Junior School, Tyne and Wear

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