Reading at Great Baddow High School

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At Great Baddow High School our aim is to equip every student with the literacy skills, knowledge, drive and character necessary for success at university, further education or the workplace. For every student to meet our challenging targets and high aspirations, our students must become highly proficient, fluent readers, able to read effectively and productively in all subject areas.

We aim to systematically cultivate in our students the habit of reading, to develop their confidence in reading, and to ensure that they foster a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Ensuring that students have access to a wide range of challenging and engaging books and other reading materials and that they have opportunities to read for pleasure is a priority for the school. Students are provided with many varied opportunities to engage with written texts, through all subject areas, discrete reading lessons, Independent Learning tasks and during co-curricular/enrichment activities.

‘Reading is the skill. Teaching students to unlock the full meaning of the texts they read is the single most powerful outcome a teacher can foster. If your students can read well, they can essentially do anything.’ (Doug Lemov)

Strategies for promoting reading at Great Baddow High School

  • All Year 7 & 8 students engage in active reading in their English lessons and in the School Library. Active reading lessons are carefully planned to reinforce positive reading behaviours, ensure that students make demonstrable progress in reading skills and extend each student’s reading experience.
  • Students keep a reading log, this is monitored and ideas for new reads are prompted.
  • Students’ reading ages are analysed annually at KS3. Pupils with lower reading ages are identified and supported.
  • Interventions are put in place for students whose reading is below expectation on entry. Students entering the school with a reading age significantly below that expected of a child their age are given additional opportunities to practice reading in a 1:1 or small group setting with an LSA, peer or other adult. ‘Leaders, Readers and Mathematicians’, small group sessions all aim to develop confidence and competence.
  • Disciplinary literacy strategies support students’ reading across the curriculum and within specific subjects. We call this ‘Reading with Purpose’.
  • Students are challenged to read widely and to experiment by reading a range of genre and the diverse range of fiction and non-fiction texts in the Library reflect this. A dialogue about books and reading is encouraged by, for example, publishing students’ book reviews; all staff regularly engaging in conversations with students about their reading; students making presentations about the books they have read in reading lessons.
  • All adults in the school are readers and teachers of reading. Staff model good reading habits by discussing books and reading during form period and the weekly ‘Reading with Purpose’ sessions, sharing subject-based articles and texts in lessons, leading assemblies on reading and instigating displays that promote reading or visiting the student or staff book club. There is a book club for all key stages including Sixth form students.
  • Reading skills are developed in all subject areas. Teachers use a range of reading activities and explicitly refer to and teach reading techniques to support students’ reading in their subject. Departments have subject-related reading lists for students to refer to in lessons or at home for additional research on a topic, for extension tasks or to loan for independent learning activities.
  • The library is the centre of initiatives to promote reading. The library is at the heart of the school. The librarians promote a wide range of weekly and monthly initiatives and events to promote reading and encourage students to visit the library regularly. They are actively involved in supporting Reading with Purpose, Active Reading and Reading for Pleasure. Please look at the Library page for more information.
  • Reading is an important element of the ‘Basics with Excellence’ approaches in Tutor periods. Tutor groups read together individually, and form tutors and students read aloud to each other as part of the programme.
  • The English curriculum supports students in making appropriate levels of progress in reading by the end of Key Stage 3. A well-structured curriculum ensures that all students develop knowledge of quality literary texts, that they develop the skills and strategies to read for meaning and deep understanding and that they understand the author’s craft.
  • Work with parents to promote reading through the curriculum information evenings, KS2 transition meetings, links on the website and continuous positive messages at all parental events.
  • Echo reading is an initiative we are currently trialling with a small group of Year 7 students.

‘We are what we read and how we read it and no other single activity has the capacity to yield so much educational value.’

Help your child to read with confidence!

  • Role model reading… read whenever possible whatever is available, book, magazine, a recipe, underground timetable, diagrams, a leaflet, on your telephone!
  • Share what you are thinking when you have read, how does it make you feel, what do you understand it to mean?
  • Read with your child, read out loud to them they are never too old!
  • Ask them to read to you.
  • Ask questions about what they are reading, their homework.
  • Are there words they cannot pronounce, or do not know what they mean?
  • Can you explain or look these up together?
  • Praise your child when they read, encourage them to read widely and frequently.