Sixth form student in library 2023

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

  • Students keep a reading log, students frequently read to an adult in lessons and to parents, fluency is assessed. This is monitored and ideas for new reads are prompted.
  • Students’ reading ages are analysed annually at KS3. Students 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 undertake the ‘Thinking Reading Programme’.
  • In addition, students identified for intervention to practice reading, comprehension, fluency in a 1:1 or small group setting with an LSA, peer or other adult. ‘Leaders and Readers, 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’.
  • Teachers explicitly teach subject specific vocabulary.
  • 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.
  • Students read for pleasure in registration, in lessons, in their spare time. Drop Everything And Read occurs once a week for 20 minutes.
  • 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 there is discussion, and comprehension activities.

Literacy teaching by all includes:

  • Teaching students to decode tier two vocabulary
  • Promoting oracy skills though speaking and listening opportunities.
  • Oral practice of new vocabulary and the use of such words in discussions
  • Increasing students’ background knowledge to support reading comprehension
  • Explicit teaching of reading fluency
  • Teaching of comprehension strategies
  • Teaching specialist tier three vocabulary necessary to be successful in each subject.
  • Teaching all students how to write in your subject

‘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.