A group of secondary school students and retirement home residents have teamed up to improve reading and inter-generational relationships within the community.

Roding Valley High School and Poets Place, both based in Loughton, are taking part in the six-week initiative, Reading with Residents, a project created by the school to support their students.

Each session involves student partnering with their resident buddy to spend 20 minutes actively reading aloud and 20 minutes working on word exercises and games.

Roma Lafferty, SENDCO and English teacher at Roding Valley High School, who set up the initiative, said: I saw an opportunity to join the dots between the two roles that I have at Roding Valley High School and it has been hugely beneficial to both the students and the residents – alongside supporting learning, it builds relationships with the local residents in the community, which is an important part of our students’ seven year journey with us.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Roding Valley High School students have weekly meet ups with residents from Poets Place in Loughton

The Loughton-based school also supports another reading initiative: ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR), which calls upon students to stop and take time to read throughout the school day.

Sharon Jenner, Heateacher at Roding Valley High School, said: “The DEAR programme not only offers a moment to read for pleasure for students, but also ensures that they are continuing to connect with books and literature in a world that is so focused on technology.

“The Reading with Residents programme is an important extension of this idea; we want everyone in the community to be able to access the benefits of reading, while also building strong community bonds.”