A burning love of literature has led to girls at a Monmouth preparatory school being crowned the country’s top readers.
Inglefield House has won the Top Performing Primary School in Wales prize, awarded by the Renaissance Accelerated Reader scheme.
It comes just a couple of weeks after the school’s new double-decker London bus-come-library pulled into its final stop just outside reception, ready to inspire even more reading among the girls.
Mrs Hilary Phillips, Headmistress of Inglefield House, said: “I believe reading is the single most important factor in academic progress. It opens your mind to possibilities, vocabulary, and more experiences than you can ever imagine.
“It’s a window on the world. I’ve loved reading all my life.
“It’s really important to talk about reading with your child. In this day and age there’s so little that parents share with children. We encourage parents to read with their child for at least 10 minutes a day. Sometimes we don’t stop and put our phones away enough.”
Unlike classic reading schemes, Renaissance makes it possible for any published book, fiction or non-fiction, to be incorporated into pupils’ independent reading.
Mrs Phillips added: “It makes the options much wider and allows people much freer choice of what they can read. Classic reading schemes risk turning children off.
“Our books are separated into levels of ability with different colours. Once a girl has finished reading a book, she’ll take a quiz on it to prove she’s understood the language and if she has she’ll move onto the next level.
“Every time they take a quiz it’s marked on themed charts in the form rooms. One class has been learning about Henry VIII, so every book they read moves them closer to a different divorce or beheading. It’s all linked into their curriculum in a visual way. It’s not just an isolated scheme; it flows into everything they do. There’s a fun, competitive element to the way we run it.”