Pupils read ‘silver stories’ to isolated in Newton Pop

Children are taking part in the 'silver stories' initiative at Newton Poppleford Primary School

Children are taking part in the 'silver stories' initiative at Newton Poppleford Primary School - Credit: Archant

Isolated residents in Newton Poppleford can fill their time by helping pupils improve their reading skills in a new initiative at the primary school.

Reading champion Donna Habbishaw hopes to replicate the success of the ‘silver stories’ scheme in Cornwall – and ‘all you need is a telephone, a comfy chair and a good listening ear’.

Children will read stories and poems during their lunch times, improving their confidence and verbal communication skills.

Donna said: “It connects the children with the community and helps elderly or vulnerable listeners diminish their chances of feeling isolated.

“I saw it in the news last year and thought what a lovely scheme. It can link with the community and benefit so many people and also the children.

“The more practice they do, the better they will get.”

There’s a big push for reading at the school, with Donna employed as its champion earlier this year.

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She has set up a book club, got youngsters reading in school and at home and also worked to improve their comprehension.

She will be writing to parents to get permission for their children to take part in the silver stories scheme, which will take place under supervision.

It was pioneered at Cornwall’s Torpoint Nursery and Infant School and won praise from Dame Esther Rantzen, who said she hoped the ‘wonderful’ idea spread.

Headteacher Stuart Vaughan said: “We’re keen on the idea – it’s something that will add some variety and give people in the community someone to talk to.”

Anyone interested in participating can contact the school on 01395 568300 or library@newton-poppleford.devon.sch.uk