Instilling the Love of Literacy from the Roots of Chapter House

It is important to instil a love of literacy from an early age as literacy skills span far wider what just picking up a book. Karen Kilkenny, Head of Chapter House School and Queen’s Kindergarten at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate talks through the innovative ways in which they ensure each and every pupil enjoys reading from a young age.   

In Chapter House, literacy and learning is at the heart of everything we do. Time is made every day specifically to enjoy sharing a book together, and each class has a specific time to visit the Chapter House library. This allows them to choose a book they can take home to share with parents and siblings.  

One of our most successful, and popular initiatives has been the introduction of our reading dog, Indie, especially with our younger children. It has increased the confidence of reluctant readers by having a non-judgemental audience. The children are purely reading for pleasure with no one pointing out mistakes or questioning them on the text. It is an initiative where we have seen their confidence increase and their reading has become more animated, with more expression – one Year 1 child’s reading age has improved by two years over one term, and they are more curious about reading different texts.

Throughout the school, we bring books to life to spark imaginations. One of the ways we do this is a whole school project around a single book, all age groups from nursery upwards completed mini projects which were then shared with the rest of the school in an assembly. Children are also encouraged to create their own dioramas (three-dimensional models of a scene with characters), with dressing up and acting out their own versions of popular books and poems, such as ‘that’s not my stick’ and ‘the naughty bus’.   

Year 5 students are encouraged to be librarians, recommending books to their peers, create displays in the library and have the opportunity to share books with younger pupils. This vital engagement, extends beyond the classroom with regular parent information meetings on reading, sharing new school initiatives and advice on how they can support their child with reading at home.   

Chapter House is a vibrant and engaging school that focuses on providing an enabling environment which respects, recognises and tunes into each unique child; central to our mission of ensuring each child can be ‘the best they can be, with the gifts that they have’. We accept students with a range of abilities, skills and interests and ensure every child has an individual learning pathway which is tailored specifically to them to ensure they have the most-effective approach for their learning.  

To find out more about Chapter House, come to one of our open mornings on 30th September or 18th November or visit our website: www.qe.org. Alternatively, feel free to email admissions@qe.org to book a private tour with one of our friendly staff.