Students read to help others

Reading is incredibly important to the team at Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service, due to its many benefits from boosting wellbeing to helping students to achieve academically. This is why they take time to celebrate World Book Day every March and work with us to hold an annual Readathon

Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service (GHES) is a pupil referral unit (PRU), providing education to children from 4-18 who are unable to attend school due to extenuating medical needs. If they become well enough, these children then rejoin mainstream education. Many pupils require GHES support because of immunocompromising conditions including cancer and heart conditions, or because they are unable to attend school due to significant mental health needs. 

By nature of serving a community of pupils who are at home, many hospital outreach services report issues of isolation, as children are no longer socialising at school, nor are they within the four walls of the hospital where they could meet other children. Finding communal activities that can help combat this feeling is always a challenge for the teaching staff. 

Each year, GHES students are challenged to read for ten minutes every day for just over a week.  This year their collective target was to read and log 9,000 minutes in nine days, no mean feat! Their Readathon launched on 7th March with a ‘drop everything and read’ session whereby all students, teachers and link tutors stopped what they were doing for ten minutes to read something they had chosen to read for pleasure.  Students chose a variety of texts to read from blogs to audiobooks and regular fiction books with titles ranging from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, The Investigators, Romeo and Juliet and many many more!

Students amazed staff with their enthusiastic reading throughout the nine days, with some logging as many as 960 minutes spent reading.  Many were motivated by the fact that Read for Good had pledged to donate a box of books and magazines to a food bank nominated by us if they met their target.

By the end of the nine days, students had logged a fantastic total of 10,620 minutes spent reading!!  Well done everyone!

Lee Baker, the organiser of the whole thing said:

We were delighted to work with Read for Good to undertake another Track My Read this year.  We set our students the target of 9,000 minutes across nine days which they smashed – with the help of a huge box of brilliant new books and magazines from Read for Good – hitting over 10,600 minutes by the end of the event.

Students were really motivated by the fact their reading would help families using their nominated food bank to access magazines and books. They loved the idea that they were reading to help others and it has meant that even some of our most reluctant readers have been logging minutes on Track My Read.

Overall, the best thing about it has been that our pupils have felt part of a team. This can be a challenge with our students living and learning remotely all over our county. A huge thank you to Read for Good for arranging for our service to take part once again.

Lee Baker, Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service
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