Shadowing Group Reports

Dyke House School, Hartlepool Shadowing Group

Group leader Angela Bailey describes the Carnegie shadowing scheme as "excellent" as it really encourages students to read. As a school with a large number of students who have a low reading age, she finds that the scheme really boosts literacy levels.

This shadowing group is run by the school librarian in collaboration with the English department. Shadowing is part of the English curriculum, and takes place in year 9 during English lessons. The group is a year 9 class of 30 students, and is run during the library lesson scheduled for all students at Key Stage 3.

Shadowing meetings take place in the library, and begin prior to the shortlist being announced. In the preparation period, students read books from the previous year's shortlist, and once the shortlist is out they are encouraged to read as many of the books as they can. In lesson time, shadowers read, discuss what they have read, or write reviews. Students have reading journals to take notes and help them to write reviews. Parents are encouraged to participate and use the website, and letters are sent out to them telling them what is involved.

The school is in contact with other neighbouring schools, and runs video conferencing sessions so children can see their peers and read their reviews. They upload videos, and look at videos uploaded by other nearby shadowing groups. A face-to-face meeting with other schools is also held where students discuss the books.

At the end of the shadowing period students who manage to read all of the books and those who write the most reviews are awarded certificates in assembly. Around one third of the students manage to read all the books, the rest read three or four.

The group leader uses the website throughout the year, and it is in pretty much constant use during shadowing when the students use it during lessons and at home. The group leader is happy with the outcomes of shadowing, and she measures the impact of the scheme through reading tests. Students are tested every six months, so the impact of the scheme on reading ability is easy to track.

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