Literacy and fluent reading are fundamental skills that allow our students to reach their potential.
The Roseland Academy has embedded ‘Reading Strands’ to support students in developing their analytical thinking, widening their vocabulary application & understanding, and deepening their retrieval skills.
During lessons, we focus on five key reading skills known as Reading Strands. These strands help students to identify what reading skill they are using and also recognise that reading skills are transferable from subject to subject. This element of reading at The Roseland highlights curriculum links as our students see how their learning can be intertwined and underpins our literacy across the curriculum. The five strands we focus on are:
Accuracy: to read and comprehend a sentence accurately
Pleasure: to enjoy and access interesting texts
Meaning: to infer and deduce to interpret meaning and any hidden meanings
Retrieval: to select the relevant parts of a text
Analysis: to deconstruct and draw out the most important parts of a text for deeper analysis
Staff at The Roseland are dedicated to fostering a culture of reading because we believe it offers everyone a window into unknown worlds and the escapism we all long for. Our many reading projects across the school mean that students develop a confidence in reading; something that can bring them joy in later life. We run a number of strategies including celebrating Word Book Day, Word of the Week, Book Reviews and the Tutor Reading Programme in which student collectively read and discuss a novel during tutor time.
Our latest initiative is our Tutor Reading Programme:
Twice a week, students in year groups 7 to 10 listen to their tutors reading whilst they follow along. This means that they witness adults reading, they hear the words out loud but also, they see us making mistakes and learn that this is perfectly acceptable as it’s how we deal with a new word, or overcoming the stumbling, that’s important.
‘One of the biggest benefits of reading aloud is that students are exposed to and come to know what the artful syntax in beautiful sentences – varied, rich ornate sentences – sounds like’. Doug Lemov, Reading Reconsidered
Whilst our students read a wide variety of texts in English, it’s important for them to know that reading doesn’t always involve deep character analysis and essay responses, that classics can be read for enjoyment. So the tutor programme requires each year group to read a classic or highly acclaimed novel. We rotate the books around so that by the end of the year, each cohort has read the same set of books. Our current rotation includes the following books:
Year 7 – Wonder
Year 8 – Northern Lights or Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Year 9 – Of Mice and Men or Animal Farm
Year 10 – To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Diary of Anne Frank, Huckleberry Finn or Jekyll and Hyde.
Year 11 – A selection of 19th, 20th and 21st extracts to help improve comprehension and reading speeds.
Not only does reading give us pleasure, it also improves our life chances and empathy for others. A survey of adults in work revealed that an increase of just one level of literacy proficiency led to a 14% rise in wages.Reading stories helps us become better connected with different types of people, to understand and empathise. All the novels on our tutor programme generate interesting discussion and sometimes even fierce debate around topical issues such as racism, identity, politics and discrimination.
Reading at our school does not just focus on fiction as our whole school subscription to The Day (an online newspaper specifically written for secondary school students), means our teachers can access thousands of newspaper articles linked to their subject. The five Reading Strands can be explicitly taught when reading about topical issues and subjects of interest and importance to our young people.
All staff display what we are currently reading on our classroom and office doors and will often show our classes what we have read over the school holidays. We encourage discussions around reading and love finding out what the students recommend. We even book swap with them on occasion.
To encourage students to read for pleasure and on a regular basis, we subscribe to a reading programme for all students in years 7, 8 and 9. Accelerated Reader helps promote a love of reading and a sense of challenge and reward for our pupils. The programme begins by students taking a reading test which then generates a book level (known as the ZPD), this book level will guide your child towards books that are accessible to them. Once a book has been completed, the students need to take a ‘quiz’. This quiz allows us to see whether your child has comprehended what they have read and whether they are reading books of the appropriate level. Your child will have their individual login details and passwords given to them in their English lessons.
We reward students when they achieve 100% on a quiz and then encourage them to read a book which has a slightly higher ZPD next time. Please talk to your child and find out what percentage they are achieving on their quizzes.
Use this link to find the ZPD of books you have at home.
Reading can take on many different forms in 2020; it is still reading if your child reads on a Kindle, the iBook app or listens to an audiobook. But, they must be reading a book and not ‘reading Instagram’!
When to read
As mentioned, two mornings a week, your child’s day will start with reading at school during tutor time. They will also read at the start of every English lesson in Key Stage 3 (many of our students request this continues in Key Stage 4!) We also strongly encourage our students to read at home for 20 minutes every day. This has a great impact on reading ages and reading speeds, as well as calming your mind before bedtime. This is when we suggest a ‘real’ book or a Kindle so as to avoid the ‘blue light’ just before sleeping.
There are lots of things that families can do together to support the improvement of reading ability and enjoyment – and not all of them require a book! Some of things you can do are detailed below:
Talk as a family about reading
By Year 7, most students are less likely to read aloud to an adult, but it doesn’t mean that parents/carers don’t have a part to play. The higher level skills of inference and understanding the craft of an author can be supported by talking about what has been read.
Share a book
Just because you don’t necessarily read together doesn’t mean that parents/carers and children can’t share a book. Young Adult fiction is excellent and well worth a read as an adult. Why not both read the same book?
Model what it is to be a reader
Many parents will read, whether it be fiction, newspapers, online or in any other context. Get in the habit of being seen to read, and valuing reading.