It’s time to get physical for literacy lessons

St Joesph's Catholic school, Gardenia Road, Luton, PE exercises help reading exercises.
St Joesph's Catholic school, Gardenia Road, Luton, PE exercises help reading exercises.

Pupils at nine schools in Luton are experiencing an unusual kind of English lesson as a radical new programme is introduced in classrooms.

Move4words is a physical activity programme which claims to drastically improve children’s reading ability by enhancing their self-control and attention through exercise.

St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School is taking part in the programme, and Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins visited the Gardenia Avenue school to try it out himself.

Mr Hopkins said: “Move4words is clearly a great benefit for children and I was very impressed with the performances by the pupils I saw at St Joseph’s. The children said the exercises helped them with everything from reading to sports. I was invited to take part which was really a new experience and actually quite difficult (by week 11 of the 12 week programme). The children were all excellent at the exercise routine so it helped me to imitate what they were doing.”

Dr Elizabeth McClelland developed the programme based on studies that look at the relationship between reading difficulties and physical and sensory impediments.

Move4words is designed to be used alongside normal teaching techniques.

And the programme has been shown to benefit pupils of all abilities, with poor readers improving the most.

Headteacher Jacqueline Lee said: “The staff and pupils of St Joseph’s have fully embraced the Move4words programme, they have enjoyed the structure of daily routine and active exercises. Many pupils have reported that it has helped them with their reading and concentration. They have also enjoyed watching the staff struggle with some of the more challenging moves!”

Luton Council is part-funding the trial of the programme in the town’s primary schools.