BLACKHEATH Primary School has invested in its pupil’s development by creating a special space in the playground for reading.

School staff noticed children were on the playground before the school day began, so capitalised on the opportunity by creating a place for children to sit and enjoy reading, alongside an adult or by themselves.

Sarah Roberts, the school’s reading lead, said: “We have created a character called Reef, a two foot tall reading starfish who has a home called 'Reef’s Retreat' on the school playground.

“'Reef’s Retreat' is manned by the school librarian and teachers before school, to read with children and it also provides a space for parents also to read with their children, assisting home school reading opportunities.

“We also wanted children to see adults enjoying reading, so ‘Reef's Retreat’ has a lending library for parents to borrow from too.”

To launch ‘Reef’s Retreat’, children have written letters to their parents inviting them to come and read in the retreat before school.

Sarah added: “This not only gave the children a real audience to write to, but there was the added excitement of receiving this through the letter box at home!”

Running alongside the launch of ‘Reef’s Retreat’ as an incentive for children to read, is Reef’s book challenge, where children collect rewards for home school reading throughout the year by reading weekly inside and outside of school.

“We are always looking for chances to promote reading,” Sarah said. “Such as working alongside Beanstalk Volunteer readers and establishing Police readers, with a particular focus on continuing to engage boys in reading.”

The school is now working towards renovating an old bus where the next reading innovation can be developed.