Each department identifies throughout their medium term plans clear opportunities for students to engage with a range of texts appropriate to their subject matter. For example, in science pupils may well read an article about the working of the circulatory system whilst in Humanities they may read a narrative account of a historical event or explanatory text on the geographical processes of bends in a river. Teachers focus their reading lessons on building confidence and understanding of subject-specific terminology, meaning and inference. As well as this teachers help students develop their reading skills such as summarising, identifying main ideas and making inferences.
Throughout the week all Home groups in Year 7, 8 and 9 spend time each morning reading for pleasure. All y7 and y8 students have a timetabled Accelerated Reader lesson in the Knowledge Cafe every two weeks. During these lessons the teacher and librarian use the comprehensive Accelerated Reader reporting information to monitor students’ reading practice and set appropriate targets, listen to students read aloud and help students make appropriate book choices. English teachers dedicate an additional lesson each cycle to reading in the classroom and students begin each English lesson with 10 minutes of quiet reading.
Rewarding Reading Achievement
A structured rewards programme recognises those students who are making exceptional progress with their reading and who are meeting their Accelerated Reader targets each term. Rewards include postcards home, certificates, signed books, reward breakfasts and celebrations, Word Millionaire badges and invitations to author events.
Each year all pupils joining the school are gifted their own personal copy of our transition novel – “The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh” as part of an assembly given to the children. We use this text not only because it has a clear link to the experiences of the students but it also provides a common reading experience for all pupils as they join the school in September. All our partner primary schools engage with the project and use this as an opportunity to launch the continued effort to keep students reading as they reach the JLV.
In September the English department use the text as their first major piece of learning and assessment with all pupils. This, together with assessment data and reading ages shared by primary school, provides a very useful benchmark for JLV staff. You can find out more about the project here by reading Caroline Bilton’s EEF blog. Caroline was a Year 6 teacher who has supported the transition project over many years.
Learning guides have an important role to play in monitoring and encouraging the use of Accelerated Reader and receive weekly reports on the practice and progress of all students in their home groups. The home group leaderboard, updated in year group assemblies each cycle, keeps the profile of reading high. Learning guides and English staff report back to parents on their child’s reading during Settling In Days and on Parents’ Evenings.