Golden Ticket Mayhem!

One thing I strongly believe in is that we would all be happier if we lived life as though we were in a musical. On that note I broke into a short version of ‘I’ve Got A Golden Ticket,’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this morning. No-one joined in.

Just before starting my new role I went to a seminar on ‘Building An Outstanding Reading School,’ where I heard lots of great ideas on promoting reading; one of which is the Golden Ticket. Pupils at our school take part in Accelerated Reader which requires them to read a certain number of levelled books, take quizzes on them and progress onto the next level. I’m a big AR fan as the books are not ‘reading scheme’ books, they are just regular young adult books which have  been levelled according to lexical difficulty. So you can read Diary of A Wimpy Kid or Geek Girl so long as it’s on your level.

We just completed our first term of AR with our Year 7 guinea pigs, it’s been a bumpy ride but that will have to be saved for another post. One issue AR brought to light was how reluctant our kids are to read longer books. I should give you some background to my school’s catchment area: It’s in an area of high social deprivation, free school meal provision is over 70% and our average reading ages are chronologically way below where they should be. This does pose challenges when it comes to getting the kids to read.They will automatically gravitate to the shorter books on their level, overlooking longer books which I know they would love. Even the higher level kids are like that to a certain extent; they will go for the shorter books or the newer books first.

So, the Golden Ticket. I produced some tickets and stuck them in the front covers of the overlooked books on each level; then I produced a posters explaining the rules: Score 60% or over on your quiz for this book (normally the pass mark is 85%) and go in the draw for a prize. I wasn’t expecting much, but looking around the library after the kids had left for first period shows me that the initial phase was a massive success. The shelves have been ransacked!

I’m unsure what to do next; I don’t want the enthusiasm to die because someone else has the Golden Ticket book on their level, but I also don’t want to devalue the scheme by having too many Golden Ticket books. What to do? I shall mull it over whilst I indulge another passion of mine and create a wall display.

Until next time…

‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket, I’ve got a golden chance to make my way, and with the golden ticket it’s a golden day.’

Roald Dahl


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