Wellington Academy has been nationally recognized for its commitment to encouraging students to enjoy reading.

The Society for Authors – the national union representing 11,000 professional authors – has set up an awards program that allows children’s authors to celebrate schools that encourage reading. Reading is a basic skill that allows children to access all other aspects of education.

In May 2022, fantasy author BJ Mears visited Wellington Academy in Tidworth to see its newly revamped library and learn about the creative writing workshops students can attend. BJ Mears was so impressed with Wellington Academy’s commitment to reading for pleasure that he nominated the school for a Society of Authors reading for pleasure award – which the school has now won.

READ MORE: Fantasy fiction author launches school’s new library and literacy strategy

BJ Mears told the Society for Authors Wellington Academy, part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, has ‘excelled’ in its literacy campaign, engaging in many actions that encourage reading and literacy .

“Not the least of which was the renovation of the school library and the creative writing workshops that followed,” he said.

“The school has implemented star tests, appointed literary champions in each department, emphasized classroom displays that promote and celebrate literacy, used vocabulary wall mats, set up leaders to listen to children read in the library and set up many other incentives.”

He also cited the unique program of welcoming military personnel into the school to hear children read as a particularly innovative good practice.

“Since the reopening of the library, a vending machine has even been installed. I am happy to congratulate the academy for its brilliant work,” he added.

Principal Steven Paddock said he was very proud of the work his colleagues continue to do to put literacy and a love of reading at the heart of the school’s curriculum.

SEE ALSO: Wellington Academy recruits from the army to help young readers

Mar Paddock said: “Literacy is one of the most important things we can master, as we all rely on strong reading and writing skills to navigate through life.

“Teachers and other school colleagues are constantly finding new ways to engage students in reading, and I am amazed at their creativity. One of the recent incentives has been for students to earn their height in library books, which has been very popular.

“We are also very fortunate to have strong collaboration with our military partners, who are very committed to helping develop students’ reading fluency. We are very grateful that someone of BJ Mears reputation identified this and went the extra mile to get the school recognized nationally.

The award certificate is signed by the author and Chair of the Society for Authors Management Committee, Joanne Harris.

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