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Anchors and Sails: Year 6 to 7 transition activities

Added 20 May 2024 | Updated 03 Jun 24

boy at school

Transition to secondary school can be a tricky time. Through our reading-linked transition activities, we hope pupils will discover the magic of reading and its ability to support them through this period.

Why and how we've developed these Anchors and Sails activities

Inspired by Sita Brahmachari’s When Secrets Set Sail, this resource explores the book and provides a range of activities which aim to support transition and fostering reading for pleasure.

These resources are a collaborative effort from many hands. They take inspiration from a transition project initially designed by author Sita Brahmachari and The Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS) to support pupils moving from primary to secondary education, when reading for pleasure levels can drop significantly (from 72.7% in Year 5 to 48.8% in Year 8, National Literacy Trust 2019 Annual Literacy Survey).

The National Literacy Trust consulted with Sita and PGS teacher Bryony Hart, to develop the activities and scale up the model, delivering the project with 19 primary and secondary schools as part of Get Islington Reading, a three-year project co-delivered with The Reading Agency and Islington Library and School Improvement Services. Read more about how the Anchors and Sails activities were incorporated into Get Islington Reading.

This iteration of the resources is a result of the learnings from the project, with many thanks to all of the teachers, librarians and pupils we worked with.

“Who does not remember that transition from primary to secondary school? The excitement, the worries, the emotions, the grief at the parting of ways, the prospect of new friends and possibilities…that summer holiday of questioning and change. ‘Will I fit in? Will I belong?’ From my first novel Artichoke Hearts I have written a lot about this moment. Now I am so happy that When Secrets Set Sail captures children’s imaginations and has provided a treasure trove of creative ways to prepare them for their journey forwards, with reading as their anchor and means of sailing on.”

- Sita Brahmachari

Using these resources in your school

We've provided teacher guidance and a range of ideas that can be used across the summer term and into the autumn by staff in primary and secondary schools. The Year 6 and Year 7 activities can be used as standalone explorations of transition, and how reading can support young people through significant change. Or, if you are able to coordinate between feeder primaries and secondary settings, then the activities can be dove-tailed for combined impact.

You can also download our free Books for Big Change reading list and share this with your students, or make recommendations that you know will be right for each of your students.

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