HUNDREDS of students are working to improve one of the basic building blocks of education.

Year Seven students at the Allertonshire School, Northallerton, are taking part in a pilot scheme to improve their reading, which soon will be rolled out across other year groups.

Accelerated Reader combines books and internet tests to assess children’s ability and find them the most appropriate reading matter.

Children tackle reading age-appropriate books and then go on-line to test their comprehension using a fun quiz.

The system also encourages a feeling of healthy competition as it records the number of words read and challenges them to reach the million mark.

In other parts of the country the system is said to have boosted children’s reading age by several years in a matter of months.

Learning resource centre managers Chris Brayshaw and June Fowler said students’ abilities were assessed before Christmas and the library’s stock of books checked and enhanced.

“Lending has really grown because all of the students have to have a reading book all the time,” said Christine.

“The Year Sevens have been brilliant and are just so enthusiastic. They are having some great conversations with us and each other about the books they are reading and it already looks like it is going to make a big difference.”

Children will be retested in March to assess their progress.