Making a case for reading

We’ve been able to help a city school in its quest to encourage pupils to develop a love of reading.

We’ve donated £500 towards Mayflower Community Academy’s Bookcase Project to pay for 13 bookcases and books for families.

The project is the brainchild of Deputy Headteacher Helen Jennings, who has bought flatpack bookcases which the children and their families have assembled themselves at the school.

Each family has not only put the bookcase together but also decorated it with artwork, with support from the Mayflower Community Art group. They have also chosen the books as a family.  

Each family has been given a £20 book token to exchange in the Academy’s Community Bookshop, which sells a large range of books at reasonable prices.

They can also trade their books at the regular book swap days, which are run by the pupils after school.

The Academy held a pilot project during the summer term where six families were given bookcases.

Following its success, Helen decided to extend the project – the first of its kind in the city – and we were happy to step in and offer support.

Helen said: “We aim to ensure every family has access to their own books in their home. Our pupils love reading. They enjoy walking up to the library hub and save their pocket money to buy books from the community bookshop. At lunchtimes there are quiet areas where children can share and talk about the books they are reading. Some even share their book reviews on the Academy’s website.”

“Developing our pupils’ Speech and Language is a priority and encouraging reading for pleasure in school and at home really supports this.”

Chris Lang, Parent Support Advisor at Mayflower, added: “For some of our families, to have their own bookcase with their own books is really special.

“Some of the families are hard to reach but because they’re coming in to do something with their children, there has been some real positive interaction.”

Mum Debbie Potter, who helped daughter Amilia, five, put the bookcase together, agreed. She said: “It makes it more special when you come in and do this together. We have a small bookcase at home but we can put this one in the front room.”

Depending on funding, the long-term plan is that all families at the school will receive bookcases.

Karen Grannum, recently-retired Head of Strategic Procurement for PCH, said: “I heard about this project and felt that it continued the success we previously had with PCH staff reading to children in schools.

“Reading has always been important to me and the social value fund that we have at PCH which is made up of donations from the suppliers and contractors that we work with, gave us the opportunity to support this worthwhile cause.”