North Lincolnshire Council

Two years of firefighter reading scheme

Schools, Libraries and Learning
14:25, Thursday, 9th May 2019

North Lincolnshire Council has celebrated more than two years of the Words Count firefighter reading scheme with schools across the area at a celebration event.

The celebration event at Scunthorpe Fire Station with local schools, the council’s Words Count Team and the Mayor of North Lincolnshire, Cllr John Briggs, saw a range of activities taking place. Activities included a ‘Where’s Wally’ hunt and fire word safety hunt, bookmark making, Top Trumps, fire safety word searches, book area, colouring and the children were able to look in the fire engines and have a go with the hoses.

Launched in 2017, the innovative literacy project has gone from strength to strength. Green Watch and White Watch firefighters from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s Scunthorpe Fire Station were trained to become reading champions in schools.

The firefighter reading champions go into schools to read with children, listen to them read, play games and help build up confidence and enjoyment of reading.

By experiencing reading from inspirational role models, it is hoped that reluctant readers will become engaged in books and words, and start to enjoy reading for pleasure. At the end of each session, the children and firefighters play games to support reading, maths and building relationships.

In addition to encouraging reading, the firefighters also take the opportunity to discuss their role in the community and promote important safety messages that teachers then share with families.

Children who have taken part in the sessions describe them as fun and interesting. They said:

  • “I think it is a really good group and it is interesting to find out what the firefighters do.”
  • “I like it mostly that we get to read to the firefighters. Also, they like to read to us.”

If you are a teacher or head teacher and would like to enquire about Words Count Reading Champions in your school, please contact Sarah Tipler at sarah.tipler@northlincs.gov.uk for more information.

Sandra Simmons, Head of Participation and Achievement at North Lincolnshire Council, said:

“It is fantastic that the Words Count firefighter reading scheme is making a real difference with children’s reading attainment and enjoyment. When it first started out only one school was involved and now it has increased year on year.

“I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the firefighters at Scunthorpe Fire Station for giving their time and commitment to this project. They are excellent role models for our young people who previously might not have been interested in reading.”

Green Watch Manager, Jason Frary said,

“As a service it’s important that we interact with all areas of the community we serve, if we can be seen as role models and encourage members of the community to realise the importance of reading, then this can only be a positive move.

“The Words Count reading project is a great platform to pass over a community safety message, ensuring that younger members of the community are well informed on such matters through reading and play, whilst at the same time developing vital literacy skills.”

Schools that attended the celebration event:

  • St Augustine Webster Primary School
  • Enderby Road Infants
  • Parkwood Oasis Primary
  • Westcliffe Primary School