STUDENTS have been offered encouraging words by a town’s MP as they improve their reading thanks to a revolutionary book scheme.

A number of Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS) pupils have improved their reading age by up to five years in just three months by using the Accelerated Reading program.

The initiative uses a computer quiz to test students’ understanding of the book they have read. It analyses their performance and recommends books appropriate to their ability, which rewards their efforts and encourages them to read.

The project was explained to Darlington MP Jenny Chapman by headteacher Calvin Kipling during a tour of the academy.

“More than 90 per cent of students have increased their reading age in just three months,” he said.

“The systems also logs how many words the students have read and we have quite a few who have achieved one million words and some who have read two million.”

Mrs Chapman said: “The transformation of DSMS has been incredible. You can tell the minute you walk through the door that it is a happy school and students are energised and eager to learn, which must be down to the hard work of all the staff.”

Student Ryan Watt, 12, said: “It is a great system as you can go on line to do the quiz, which is fun, and I like reading a lot more now.”