Sandwell school wins national reading award

Ferndale Primary School, Great Barr, received the Regional Winner’s Award at the

National Read Aloud Challenge last month. The National Read Aloud Challenge is a free initiative launched in 2023.

It encourages schoolchildren aged five to fifteen to read more using Fonetti, an app which provides a library of fiction and non-fiction books to read aloud. The overall aim is to improve students’ confidence and comprehension skills. Children complete milestones (for example, reading aloud for 60 minutes) and are put on a leaderboard, comparing them with other students nationwide. Ferndale were the highest performing school in the West Midlands. The awards ceremony was held at Amazon HQ in London and was attended by two pupils and two members of staff from Ferndale. The pupils were chosen because of their outstanding contribution towards the school’s overall result.

Author, broadcaster and Fonetti ambassador, Clare Balding, hosted the ceremony, reading to all the children attending the event. Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member of Children, Young People and Education, Councillor Simon Hackett, said: “I’m always pleased to hear about new ways of encouraging children to read more. This initiative has really allowed Ferndale’s pupils to develop their reading skills, giving them the best start to their education. “Ferndale should be extremely proud of themselves - it is wonderful to see their efforts recognised on a national scale.” Nicola Poole, Assistant Head at Ferndale, added: “We are delighted with the efforts of our children. They thoroughly enjoyed reading the online books aloud, which let them develop their fluency. Most importantly, they were motivated to continue reading outside of school, completing part of the challenge over the summer holidays.”

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