Reading is arguably the most crucial literacy skill for cross-curricular success in secondary school. The curriculum continues to be dominated by text, both in print and on screen, and our learners need to be able to read effectively in order to understand, make sense of and take meaning from, the wide range of texts presented to them.
For a significant number of learners who enter secondary school with a reading age below their chronological age, the reading demands of the curriculum prove extremely challenging. Pupils in this cohort can have significant problems accessing the information they need in order to be successful learners.
Secondary school pupils who continue to have difficulty accessing text have already struggled with learning to read throughout primary school. They have experienced years of falling further and further behind their peers. As a result, many struggling readers have low self-esteem and lack confidence in the classroom.
Consequently, we value the importance of accurate reading baseline data and along with numeracy assessments, all students will complete initial assessments during the Autumn term. Students experiencing difficulties will be promptly identified and interventions including paired reading, small group reading and Reading Plus will be used as appropriate. Reading Plus is an adaptive literacy solution that improves fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, stamina, and motivation. Students will then be tested again later in the academic year to measure progress and the impact of the relevant interventions.
This year, key staff are also accessing training on the Fresh Start reading programme to enable targeted teaching of phonics and a structured reading programme. This will benefit our most complex high needs students with literacy related needs identified in their EHCPs.
By encouraging teachers across the curriculum to develop reading skills in their lessons we can develop reading confidence in our learners, enabling them to access new and unfamiliar texts.
Pupils who have effective reading skills can do the following:
- employ a range of strategies in order to access texts
- vary their reading styles to suit different purposes
- read fluently, accurately and with understanding
- read independently
- Be critical readers and make informed and appropriate choices.
The role of the teacher in developing reading skills
In order to support and enhance pupils’ reading skills, it is essential that teachers across the curriculum provide opportunities for learners to do the following:
- read and engage with a variety of different texts both in print and on screen
- learn how to sift and select information appropriate to the task
- follow up their interests and read texts of varying lengths
- question and challenge printed information and views
- Use reading to research and investigate.
Teachers will aim to:
- Facilitate reading development through their subject
- Present reading tasks at a suitable level
- Draw pupils’ attention to structure, layout, format, print and other signposts
- Help pupils to skim, scan or read intensively according to the task
- Teach pupils to select or note only what is relevant
- Help pupils to question, challenge and recognise bias in a range of texts
- Support pupils who are at the early stages of reading
- Teach pupils to read identified subject vocabulary
Our Key Stage Three reading booklets are embedded across school and facilitate not only reading for enjoyment, but also wider reading. Reading for pleasure has been associated not only with increases in reading attainment but also with writing ability, text comprehension, grammar, breadth of vocabulary, attitudes and self- confidence as a reader.
We also have an in house assessor who provides educational assessments of cognition and learning which supports the early identification of word recognition and reading comprehension difficulties alongside students who read at a significantly slower pace than their peers. From Years 9-11, this may result in critical Access Arrangements.
Further information is available on the website in relation to our reading action plan and details of initiatives aimed at raising the profile of reading for pleasure.