Novus colleagues from HMP Altcourse have been responding to the recent Ofsted and HMPPS review of reading in prison by collaborating with G4S on an exciting new project.
They are looking to embed a love of reading in our learners, to improve their understanding of functional English skills. Educators are implementing new phonics and language comprehension lessons that they have developed through their own CPD.
Embedding a love for reading through fundamental English skills
During the initial assessment period, we are using three different texts to differentiate the reading and comprehension level of our learner, as either Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Each level provides different challenges while building on the knowledge that they already have. Once we know where they are in their reading ability, we can then pair them up with appropriate books from our library. If they complete and review two titles from each level, the learner is rewarded with their own dictionary.
For those who struggle to read, additional support is available through ongoing 1 on 1 sessions with a trained mentor, and their progress is reviewed by our Learning Support Advisors. Colleagues have made an effort to provide reading corners in learning spaces, where our learners can find a quiet spot to enjoy reading.
Content is matched to learners based on their curriculum needs, with Digital Learners being provided with printed Twitter feed news articles to critically evaluate, while Vocational Learners in Barbering are being given current trade journals to read about industry trends and expert advice. Books matching each curriculum area are being kept in the reading corners of the classrooms and the workshops.
Finally, to make the process as exciting as possible, we have made Book Vending Machines available at HMP Altcourse. The machines are stocked with popular books on a variety of subjects, with both easy-readers and more challenging content to keep everyone entertained. Learners are rewarded for their engagement, progress, and attitude with a token that can be redeemed in the machine.
We’ve been leading on some exciting developments in reading in prisons recently. Our team is constantly growing and looking to make improvements to our learners lives and education. Take a look at our new English educator positions, or get involved in the conversation.