At the start of each academic year, students in years 7, 8 and 9 take the National Group Reading Test – the results of which enable us to keep track of students’ reading progress. Where we identify students falling behind, we have a range of intervention strategies to support them. There are targeted literacy booster sessions for those with a lower reading age, who were unable to fully access the curriculum and there are reading challenges and poetry competitions for our more able readers, with prizes and awards that they can enter. Intervention is overseen by our Literacy Leader and SENCO, who are here to support all parents/carers with choosing texts that are appropriate to their child’s reading level.
We have introduced a successful ‘reading buddy’ scheme to help students who need a reading boost. Year 12 and 13 reading buddies have been trained in how to listen and when to intervene and carry out the task extremely professionally.
Reading homework is a core part of daily learning for identified students and, along with this, the library has had a transformation enabling students to independently browse for books of interest. All students can borrow books from our library, and they are encouraged to write reviews for others to read. There is always a member of staff on duty in the library to engage with students over book choices and every student from years 7 to 13 has had an induction in the library and been given time to select a book to read.
To inspire a love of literature, every student in years 7, 8 and 9 are given a weekly guided reading session in tutor time. Each tutor group has a set of books, which teachers read with their students, and there is also a quiet reading time once a week. To support students at home, we produce reading lists for fiction and non-fiction books.
All year 7 and 8 students have also been issued with a free book of their choice, through the ‘Bookbuzz’ reading programme, which aims to inspire a love of reading.
With regards to whole school literacy, Heads of Department have been trained on how to encourage wider reading within their subject and how to ensure resources are reading-age appropriate.
Numerous events are planned throughout the year including competitions, book fairs (run by Scholastic), DEAR time – Drop Everything and Read, visits by authors and there will be a poetry workshop with the director of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival for our poetry competition winners.
In addition to this, the school has launched a very popular book club which is run by a local author (see below).