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A lesson from Africa

When former street children in Uganda returned to the classroom to teach younger street children to read, no one predicted that the visit would have an impact more than 4,000 miles away.

But it inspired one teacher to introduce a similar programme in England. Students aged 15-16 at Brune Park Community School in Hampshire have been using Yes We Can Read, a phonics-based programme designed to develop reading for meaning among poor readers or non-readers in Uganda. And the scheme has been so successful it is now to be expanded with secondary students going to coach children in feeder primary schools in the area.

"Reading ages have increased significantly and the improvement in confidence, behaviour and attendance has amazed us," headteacher Richard Kelly says.

One student, who was in trouble in and outside school, came in just to teach a looked-after girl whose reading age of 6 had not improved throughout primary school... She has now reached her chronological reading age.

Published in TES magazine on 28 June, 2013