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Pupils get in touch with Belfast Telegraph's iPad edition

Children have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology but one school is embracing the digital age in its challenge to develop pupils' reading skills.

Cliftonville Integrated Primary School in north Belfast is taking part in an accelerated reading programme, which tests and rewards pupils on their reading abilities. To supplement that programme the children are introduced to newspapers.

Michele McAlonan, the teacher in charge of the programme, invited Belfast Telegraph iPad journalist Thomas Hawkins to teach the difference between print and digital editions.

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Mrs McAlonan said: “We started the programme last October and began by finding out the pupils' approximate reading level — within each class there was a wide variety of ability.”

She added: “The idea behind the programme is getting children interested in reading. It has to be enjoyable for them and so we thought getting the children reading newspapers would help promote a culture of lifelong reading enjoyment.

“Children would never dream of reading a newspaper at home so it gives them the chance to look through a paper and find something that is interesting to them.

“We do a current affairs club every Friday and the kids would read the paper and talk about the topics with their teacher.”

Mr Hawkins said: “It can be daunting for children to pick up a copy of the paper and find the content they want, so it was great to be able to give them an understanding of how papers work.”

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