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Pilot Reading Programme Reporting Huge Success

Pilot Reading Programme Reporting Huge Success

A new Hanmer Springs-based literacy programme is achieving tremendous results, sparking an offer to implement it in all Hurunui schools. The pilot programme is being run at Hanmer Springs Primary School in conjunction with the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve. It offers both individual and class incentives if the children can raise their reading age by at least one year. "We're using positive peer pressure to encourage kids to read and it's working. Children who were very reluctant readers are now asking their parents to help them with their reading homework," says Hanmer Springs Primary School Principal Brian Price.

Brian Price says reading became the school's major target for 2003 after finding a number of the children's reading skills were below the average for their age. The school then set a target to increase the reading age of all its children by at least a year.

"We bought new resources and made the library the hub of the school, but the fourth term incentive programme is really driving the children to succeed, both as individuals and as a class."

The incentive programme has been running for three weeks. If a child meets their weekly target, they get a free family pass to the Thermal Pools. If the entire class meets its goal, they can celebrate their success with a free class trip to the Thermal Pools. The weekly targets vary for each child depending on their individual needs.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve General Manager Graeme Abbot is delighted that the pilot programme is such a success.

"We saw this programme as an opportunity to give something back to the Hanmer Springs community and we are ecstatic that it's helping children meet their educational goals," says Graeme Abbot.

The success of the programme has impressed the principals of other Hurunui schools, many of whom are considering taking up the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve's offer to extend the programme throughout the entire district.

It has also impressed Hurunui Mayor Tony Arps.

"It's fantastic to see community members working together to improve the education of our children. This programme has my whole-hearted support and I encourage other Hurunui schools to take it on," says Mayor Arps.

The official results from Hanmer Springs Primary School's programme will be available in about a week, after the children have all completed their end of term reading tests. But Brian Price is predicting success.

"I'm already thinking about using this programme, and the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve's generous support, again next year. Perhaps next year we'll target language skills!" says Brian Price.

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