In partnership with the P.&C, boys earn points for every book they read and receive $30 gift certificates if they meet or exceed their goals, and those who read over a million words a year receive a special prize.
“I’m an English teacher and I’d like to believe that they read for the beauty of the literature or for their own betterment,” says Mr. Hopwood. “But if they’re reading for the money, I don’t care.”
“I was a bad reader”
Liam Hester, 14, is in 9th grade and says his attitude towards reading has changed dramatically since he started at Ashfield Boys High.
“When I was in sixth grade, my mother yelled at me for not reading enough. I was a bad reader,” Liam says. This is no longer the case. His favorite book is The book thief by Marcus Zusak, and he no longer needs to be pestered to pick up a book. What about bedtime reading? Well, he went from picture books to Jane Eyre.
Of course, his NAPLAN results also increased. “I am now above the school average in most areas, especially reading. When I was in elementary school, I was just average or below average,” he says.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she was pleased with the approach taken at Ashfield. “It’s fantastic to see schools like Ashfield Boys High School putting a strong emphasis on teaching explicit reading,” Ms Mitchell said.
“This year, 400 schools across New South Wales have been the first to adopt our new Kindergarten to Year 2 English and Maths curriculum,” she adds. “I’m happy to say that feedback from these early adopter schools has been overwhelmingly positive, with teachers praising the explicit focus on reading as well as the new digital resources provided to support implementation.”