Farnley Academy Reading Totaliser!

Fantastic Farnley Academy follows the tried and tested formula for a fun-filled Readathon!

Just over 40 students armed with new bookmarks and swanky sponsor cards took part in the first Farnley Academy Readathon. 

The beauty of the scheme is that there are very few rules, in fact, organising charity Read for Good actively encourages pupils to read anything they want. This could be novels, magazines, comics, recipes, song lyrics, instruction manuals and even audio books. The simplicity makes the challenge appealing to young people of all abilities, because everyone can participate in some way, by setting their own challenge. 

Many of the students taking part have a big love of reading, so it is a no- brainer for them to take part. But for others, it is the idea of raising money for children in hospital that inspires them to read. Many children have shared their own heart-warming experiences of Leeds Children’s Hospital. These vary from each member of the family being born there, to being treated for a brain tumour. One student even discussed taking part in the Readathon, with the hospital staff, while she had her broken leg treated. All our amazing young people want to say thank you and give something back. 

The students were given four weeks to put together their reading list, to collect as many sponsors as they could and complete the challenge. The emphasis has always been on making the activity fun, so we encourage them to just read as much as they can and anything else is a bonus. 

As an extra incentive to take part in Readathon, we have also created a House Competition, so that students have the chance of winning a serious number of points for their House.  Throughout the school year, the students in the winning House receive a variety of treats, including things like movie afternoons with popcorn. The winning students will be those who have engaged with Readathon the most, not necessarily those who have read the most or raised the most money. 

Students gathered in the library to read together, and we had an official Readathon picnic, where the students were invited to bring a packed lunch to the library and read together. Treats and cakes were provided for the participants, because everybody knows eating cake makes reading so much easier! The students loved it and I think I may consider doing this kind of thing more in the future.

To support the students taking part, as well as to demonstrate the importance of reading, staff from all backgrounds have been sharing their current reads. Some have talked about their favourite books, others have discussed listening to books relevant to the subject they teach; one member of staff shared a lovely moment of him reading a picture book with his twin girls and another teacher talked about tirelessly ploughing through Health and Safety information. The point we are trying to get across is that reading is important everywhere, not just in school and it should be a normal, natural thing that everyone does. Suggestions for books to read are also given, and top tips to help them with their reading. Students are sharing their experiences of the Readathon and talking about why they think taking part is important. 

We were also able to download lots of resources straight from the Read for Good website including the new Reading Totaliser! We filled in the amounts and coloured in the blocks. I ended up painting the totaliser as the cash went up!  I also added pictures around the edges of photos of the students taking part and books that have been suggested to read by the staff.

Another great thing about  Readathon is that we will receive 20% of what is raised to buy brand new books. This is the perfect opportunity to reward the students by letting them decide which books are bought. We will form a committee of students who took part in the Readathon, and they will get the final say in which books we buy. Young people are more likely to read books that have been suggested by their peers.

Getting school involved in the Readathon was a natural choice because it appears to be an “everyone wins” situation!

Rebecca Bate


The Farnley Academy