Reading is celebrated at Writhlington. From the beginning of their journey in Year 7, to the moment they leave, students are individually supported, encouraged and challenged to develop a lifelong passion for reading and literature.
At Writhlington School our ambition is for all students to be reading at or above their chronological age by the end of Year 9. This will allow students to confidently access their Key Stage 4 curriculum and GCSE exams. Confidence in reading will lead to students reading regularly, which will increase their cultural capital, enhance their vocabulary and develop their imagination. Reading enables them to become empathetic, critical and thoughtful communicators, both during their time at school and beyond. We aim to build a reading culture where students develop a love of reading and read for pleasure. They have access to a diverse range of reading material, supplementing the curriculum and providing students with the opportunity to explore different perspectives, cultures and time periods.
A good level of reading is essential for students’ acquisition of knowledge and their ability to develop schema (making connections between the things that they know, both within and across their subjects). The average reading age required to access GCSE level texts and examination papers is 15 years and 8 months. We therefore have a comprehensive and rigorous approach to reading, which ensures that our students develop the knowledge, vocabulary and reading fluency to access the curriculum and their exams, and that they leave school with sufficient reading skills for future learning and employment. We ensure that our students read widely and constructively, and students’ reading supplements our curriculum to ensure that students leave us with sufficient knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life. Our approach to reading develops students’ reading skills, comprehension and accuracy, builds their confidence and develops an enjoyment of reading.
Students in Year 7-9 read for pleasure at the start of every English lesson. We ensure students’ reading ages are used to inform their choice of text, using Accelerated Reader levels to guide them and the expertise of our Librarian and team of Junior Librarians, themselves avid readers. Student’s reading ages are checked three times a year and students who make less progress than expected are provided with opportunities to secure improvement.
A phonics based reading programme, IDL, takes place to support our weakest readers in Key stage 3 and into Key Stage 4 if required. This aims to rapidly develop reading confidence and fluency. Further support, if required, is delivered by our trained and experienced teaching assistants through the Rapid Readers programme. Students in small groups read aloud from a selection of books, which increase in difficulty, developing their predicting, summarising and comprehension skills.
Across KS3 and KS4, vocabulary is focussed on in every lesson with key words displayed and referred to as part of the whole school teaching policy. Teaching reading and developing vocabulary is seen as part of the responsibility of all teaching staff. Opportunities for subject specific reading opportunities are identified in department schemes of learning. Each subject area works closely with the Assistant Head for Literacy to optimise these opportunities and to ensure they are both challenging and accessible for all.
A Word Of the Week (W.O.W) is released to students every Monday morning during their lesson. Students are rewarded throughout the week for accurate and imaginative use of the word. Click here for W.O.W examples.
Students in Years 7 to 11 read for pleasure, for 15 minutes every day, during morning tutor time in our Drop Everything And Read time. Tutors and our Librarian ensure that all of our pupils are reading an Accelerated Reader book and complete a quiz for each book read. All tutor groups are in our Accelerated Reader League Competition with the highly anticipated results published on a Thursday every week.
We know our students are inspired to read different books by seeing the current reads of staff across the school. Staff regularly update their “I am Reading Sign” outside of their classroom leading to many conversations with our students and colleagues about our book choice.
We are aware of the importance of strong role models for reading. Our Tutors read aloud to their tutees twice weekly in the afternoon tutor session for Years 7 to 10 in our Tutor Read Aloud Programme (T.R.A.P). We have chosen diverse and challenging texts for our students to enjoy and each student follows along with their own copy of the book. All our staff have undertaken training to read aloud with passion and clarity, on how to pause to discuss key concepts and difficult themes, decipher hidden meanings and of course try to predict twists in the plot. Students are encouraged to contribute to the classroom discussion, using the prompts on the back of their bookmarks.
To find out more about each T.R.A.P title read our synopsis document
Our well stocked Library, of around 5,000 books, which includes a large Classic Book Section and separate Careers Library is run by our Librarian Jill Millard and her team of Junior Librarians. The Library is a busy hub of the school and is open before and after school as well as at break time and lunch time. Students can quietly read a book or take part in a game of scrabble or chess, enter competitions and complete puzzles.
Students and staff are challenged to complete the Writhlington Classics Challenge of reading seven Classic Books in a year! Find out more here.
Our Librarian collates exciting collections of books for our students to peruse throughout the year in addition to reading incentives such as Blind Date with a Book.