Closed for reading

23:00, Feb 24 2014
LEARNING TOOL: Longburn School pupil Violet Williams-Chadwick, 5, reads to Palmerston North City Library home services and volunteer co-ordinator Heather Hurrell during the school's Closed for Reading sessions.

A Manawatu primary school is shutting its doors once a day so students can sharpen their reading skills.

Longburn School has introduced a 20-minute "Closed for Reading" session where the office closes, the school's phones are left unanswered, classrooms are abandoned and children read with adults.

A professional development session on teaching, language and learning inspired the school's teachers to can class for a short time after morning tea every day and instead find a spot to read in.

The school's teachers, support staff, parents, nearby business people and others are encouraged to join in the session.

Even the school's floppy-eared rabbit Marley and Chocolate the guinea pig take part.

Principal Jo Emerson said having adult role models involved was a good way to get pupils' reading skills up to scratch.


"It's become ingrained in the students now and they really look forward to having that time dedicated to reading."

Ms Emerson said there was some panic when parents learned from the school's newsletter that it was going to "close" for a period of time.

But when they discovered the reason they welcomed the initiative.

Palmerston North City Council staff members, workers from food company Goodman Fielder and grandparents joined in yesterday.

Library home services and volunteer co-ordinator Heather Hurrell read alongside Longburn pupil Violet Williams-Chadwick, 5.

"I'm a real book person and there's so much you can learn and be entertained by," Ms Hurrell said.

"Reading doesn't have to be stuffy and boring and I really enjoy sharing it and relating to a little girl about a story she's read me."

Manawatu Standard