AF&RS teams up with local academy for reading campaign

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is teaming up with Greenfield E-ACT Academy for a reading campaign aiming to increase awareness of children who struggle to read and to ensure they get the attention they need. 

This year, the ‘Read On Get On’ campaign theme is ‘Reading is my Superpower’ and children currently receiving Reading Recovery support, a literacy programme designed for the lowest achieving children that enables them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks, were invited to read a favourite book to a superhero. 

This theme celebrated not only the benefits of being able to read, but the effort and achievement of Reading Recovery teachers and their pupils.

For Reading Recovery teachers like Michelle Connelly at Greenfield E-ACT Academy, it is all about getting pupils excited about reading.

At her academy, this simple approach to promoting reading is working, with the percentage of children in Year 2 reading at home rising from 22% to an amazing 94%!

Firefighters from Red Watch at Bedminster fire station were invited to visit the academy today (29th) so that children would have the opportunity to read to a superhero.

Crew Manager David Showering, of Red Watch, said: “While we wouldn’t consider ourselves superheroes we know that local children look up to us and this was an opportunity for us to give something back.

“Reading is a key skill in all walks of life and we want to do everything we can to support that.

“Being a firefighter now is not just about fighting fires, but being a role model in the community and helping to support those who need it most.

“Along with reading, we also got to show the children our fire truck and discuss some fire safety tips. They were all so engaged and it was a really great experience to be part of something like this.

“Each and every child did brilliantly today and hopefully will be back again next year.”

Read On Get On is the national campaign to get all our children reading well by the age of 11. Reading Recovery Read Aloud is an event in support of this campaign.

At present far too many children are leaving primary school without the key skill of being able to read - including 40% of all our poorest children. Our mission is to change this for good so that by 2025 all our children will start secondary school as confident readers.

Being unable to read well at age 11 has direct consequences for children's futures: they are more likely to struggle at secondary school, get fewer qualifications and find it harder to get a job or to progress in the workplace.

Michelle Connelly, Reading Recovery Teacher & Reading Lead at Greenfield E-ACT Academy, added: “I am proud and honoured to be a Reading Recovery teacher – it’s amazing to be in the privileged position to support children on their reading journey!

“Every child needs a different route to becoming a confident reader, and my job is to find that route through individually tailored sessions.

“Working with what the children can do and building upon their known skills, provides them with the confidence to attempt new approaches to their learning and ultimately control their own learning and monitor it for themselves. 

“As an academy, we are thrilled that Avon Fire & Rescue Service has agreed to support our Read Aloud campaign again this year. 

“The children, who are lucky enough to read to the firefighters, make lifetime memories and talk about it for years after! We talk a lot about ‘Superheroes’ at school, but the real life Superheroes are the firefighters who we admire in our community; the Superheroes who want to celebrate the fantastic success of these young readers with us!”