At Atherton High School, reading is prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer – in every subject. Through building the language and communication skills of our learners, pupils are exposed to a whole range of strategies and texts that they can use to enhance their ability to express themselves effectively. At Atherton, we understand how reading can empower our pupils to access information independently as they build a stronger understanding of the world around them as they are exposed to new concepts, ideas and knowledge in many different areas. It is undeniable that there is a strong correlation between literacy levels, reading ability and academic achievement.
Reading is the cornerstone of knowledge and every member of staff ensures that all students are taught reading, writing, speaking and listening in every lesson, every day.
The Reading Strategy
- Quality CPD is delivered to staff to strengthen knowledge of various reading strategies, from Reciprocal Reading to developing reading fluency. This is delivered to staff regularly to ensure that all staff are equipped with the knowledge that they need to implement strong reading strategies.
- Diagnostic Reading Tests. Students are tested three times a year (once each term) using the GL NGRT assessments testing fluency rates, word accuracy, phonics knowledge, vocabulary knowledge and reading ages of our students. Reading data is shared with staff to inform curriculum planning and to support weaker readers through various intervention strategies, and to challenge stronger readers through choices of text and enrichment opportunities.
- Vocabulary. There is a whole school approach to teaching specific tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary which will empower our students to read, write and speak like specialists in every subject.
- DEAR Time. Every form group across school up to year 11 will start their day reading high quality and challenging texts with their form tutors. These books have been deliberately selected to build cultural capital and SMSC to enable our students to access the big conversations in life. This happens three times a week for half an hour.
- RRR takes place each week during one form time session each form will take part in Register, Read, Respond. A variety of engaging non-fiction and fiction texts are read with students and students have many opportunities to Predict, Question, Clarify, and Summarise (Reciprocal Reading). RRR is based around certain topics and events across the year and staff from all departments contribute to creating RRR to ensure that students have access to a breadth of rich texts. This also builds upon the culture that reading is the responsibility of everyone.
- Reading is a focus in every subject area. Each subject has been working to transform their approach to teaching Disciplinary Literacy. Ambitious vocabulary is pre-taught as a priority and ambitious texts are chosen to meet and expand the curriculum knowledge of the students. Staff are all aware of current reading age data and use this to plan accordingly.
We teach Reading through:
Phonics: to support accuracy and pace
Decoding: to support comprehension, inference, accuracy and pace
Knowledge Rich Curriculums: all subjects across school choose rich, diverse and challenging texts to support reading. There is a focus on building schema to allow students to refer to previous knowledge and build links across the curriculum.
- Intervention. Staff are fully equipped to support students with lower reading ages to close gaps in pupils’ knowledge. An individualised approach is taken in delivering intervention strategies as this may have a specified focus such as phonics or decoding, moving through to reading fluency depending on the needs of the pupil. All pupils have access to Reading Plus to further support reading progression.
- Building a Love of Reading. Pupils in year 7 have access to the Bookbuzz scheme which aims to close the reading poverty gap, pupils are able to choose a book of their own to take home and keep. There are focused reading days across school that are delivered and created by all staff, for example: National Poetry Day, Holocaust Memorial Day, Remembrance Day, International Sign Language Day. On World Book Day reading is celebrated in style where staff dress up as iconic book characters and decorate their classroom doors, reading is celebrated across the day in every lesson. Staff actively promote their own love of reading and have regular conversations with pupils about what they are reading in their own time for pleasure. The school library is available at all social times for pupils to sit and read with their friends or independently.