In recent years, we have implemented several initiatives to create a strong reading culture within the academy and provide students with the foundations for future academic study.
We regularly assess each student's reading ability throughout the year using the 'New Group Reading Test' (NGRT) – a test which compares students' reading skills against the national average. We use these results to set up academy-wide support, such as reading intervention groups, to help all students reach and exceed their chronological reading age.
Creating a reading environment
The library is structured into an organised space where students feel comfortable interacting with displays, reading materials, and using technology to support their learning. It is open from 7:30am until 4:30pm where our librarian is on hand to offer support and help students engage in reading.
Students in Years 7/8/9 have timetabled library time each week, and Year 10/11 students have a dedicated study space to help them prepare for their GCSEs.
Reading success is shared in weekly assemblies. Group and individual achievements are acknowledged and commended.
We are in the process of creating designated reading areas around the academy to encourage and ensure readers feel comfortable taking a moment to engage in reading in spaces other than the library.
Encouraging Reading for Pleasure
As well as dedicated 'Reading for Pleasure' lessons during English lesson time, we have also created tutor group reading sessions inspired by the ‘Drop Everything and Read’ campaign (also known as DEAR).
These sessions vary depending on the reading ability of the students. The sessions are led by teachers who use a range of Ark signature reading strategies. These include, Control the game paired reading and Lexia.
Reading within the Curriculum
- Key Stage 3 students who have significant challenges reading have access to the Fresh Start programme. This is delivered by the librarian and our learning support staff. This programme helps students to improve their decoding skills by focusing on developing confidence by mastering phonics.
- This year, we have also signed all learners who are below their chronological reading age to Lexia. This is an interactive computer-based reading program that supports readers to become fluent in their reading. The programme can be used in school and at home and tracks and monitors usage and progress. Lexia is responsive and adaptive to individual strengths and weaknesses so really does specifically support the needs of each learner.
- We have implemented an additional reading intervention this year, Lexonik which is designed to accelerate progress in reading. This intervention is run by two trained staff and is delivered in a small group environment of 4:1. This six-session programme can have rapid impact in which 24 months reading age improvement can be achieved.