Reading challenge sees academy student exceed 4,000,000 word count in just seven months.

Archbishop Sentamu Academy student, Ben Nickerson

Archbishop Sentamu Academy student, Ben Nickerson, 12, has read an outstanding 4,000,000 words as part of the academy’s involvement in the Accelerated Reader Challenge.

Ben, who joined Archbishop Sentamu Academy in 2018, has now read over 70 books in just seven months. Ben has tackled lots of classic book series including Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and is now looking for more series to delve into.

The national programme is designed to allow teachers to monitor how much students are reading, the complexity of the books and how well students understand the book they’ve read. Once a student completes a book, they log onto the Accelerated Reader website and do a quiz on the book – this populates a database on the student’s progress. 

Ben, 12, said: “I’m really into Darren Shan’s books at the moment. Every book has a cliff-hanger at the end which makes you want to pick up the next one to find out more. I first really started enjoying reading in Year 4. Even though I read a lot of books, I don’t actually want to be an author when I’m older, I just enjoy it. All this reading helps with my English lessons especially when we use complex words because I actually know how to use them. I do have an X-Box at home but it just gets a little bit neglected when I’m reading!”

Miss O’Sullivan, English Teacher at Archbishop Sentamu Academy, manages the programme at the Academy and added “I’m incredibly proud of Ben and his achievement; I think that he’s trying to read his way through the library! Reading for pleasure is what we are trying to instil in our pupils and Ben is a testament to this. This has had a tremendous impact and in his, and the other Year 7s, effort within English. The year group as a whole have read 24,000,000 words which is really encouraging.”

An independent study by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Durham University found that “the internet-based programme increased the reading age of pupils by three additional months in just 22 weeks. There was a particular success with the development of students from low-income families.”

The Academy acknowledges the success of the programme with fortnightly posts on social media; www.facebook.com/sentamuacademy

[Liam Foster – Archbishop Sentamu Academy]

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