ESOL students boost their skills with reading club

Leeds City College has launched an ESOL reading club to support young people in developing their English language skills.

The club is a collaboration between the college’s ESOL Academy and Student Life team, and is one of several social mobility initiatives aimed at empowering students to overcome their barriers to progression.

Part funded by the Joseph Emmott Foundation and Leeds Community Foundation, volunteers from the University Centre and Leeds Beckett University are delivering the reading sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays during term time, with 20 students taking part on a weekly basis.

Lecturer Camilla Fletcher, said: “Students look forward t o the one-to-one attention they receive to focus on their reading. This time provides them with the opportunity to discuss new vocabulary they come across in their books and helps them gain confidence reading aloud.

“They can also express their understanding of the stories and ask questions which improves reading comprehension skills, as well as speaking and listening skills.”

Teachers have been seeing positive outcomes from the club. Not only are students enjoying reading with the volunteers, but they’re also developing their thinking skills and imagination.

Camilla continued: “Students are increasing their vocabulary, improving their verbal communication skills and building up their confidence, which is motivating them to participate more in class.

“Being away from their usual learning environment is allowing them to experience a variety of accents and dialects, and has been extremely constructive for their understanding of certain pronunciations.’’

The scheme has also been benefitting the student volunteers who have been gaining valuable experience working with the college.

Student, Endurance Ekam-Oben Ojogu from Leeds Beckett University, said: “So far it has been really positive. Most of the students are eager to get better and being in a position to share some of my knowledge with them is amazing.”

Another student from Leeds Beckett University, Hanzla Asghar, added: “I think the participants get a lot out of the reading sessions, they are able to ask questions about words, spelling, grammar and narrative. Having the same participant every week is great, allowing a rapport to be built between myself and the student.”

Leeds City College is committed to promoting social mobility through raising aspirations and improving outcomes for all students and staff.