SOLDIERS have been roped in to volunteer at a school in Ludgershall and encourage young minds to become avid book lovers.

Half a dozen soldiers from 26 Engineers, Army HQ (3 Div), and RLC (6 Div) have volunteered their time to receive training around how to listen to a student reading and how to ask the questions that test whether the child actually understands the text they are reading.

The soldiers will visit The Wellington Academy, which is based in Ludgershall, once a week on Wednesday afternoons. Each soldier will mentor the same child for the entire year.

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Becki Lyons, Director of English at The Wellington Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Basset Academy Trust, said: “Reading is a skill which is fundamental to all subjects across the school, but we know that as a result of Covid-19, reading skills, particularly in boys, have been affected.

“The majority of our students come from military families and so by bringing in their role models from our local units we hope to inspire them to read more. The soldiers will be coming in each week to listen to the pupils read, which should in turn help raise their achievement across all of their subjects as well as show them the value in escaping in a good book.”

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Major Geordie Chisholm of RLC 6th Division said that fluency in reading is not only a crucial skill for individuals, but is also a lynchpin of successful societies and economies.

He said: “Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and it is important to invest in their education for the future, whether you are a parent or not. I am delighted that we are able to support the students in a very practical way.”

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