Reading at the heart of our school provision
At Ark Pioneer we know reading is incredibly important to success in school and life beyond. We support every pupil that joins us to read at their chronological age, to take pleasure in their reading and to understand the positive impact reading can have on their lives.
This journey starts before pupils join us in Year 7 with our summer reading challenge – a summer reading project which encourages and challenges them during the summer break. We encourage all pupils to have a book with them on their desk through the day, and should there be an opportunity to read, they can delve into their current novel.
Reading is at the heart of our English lessons, with 2 'Reading for Pleasure' lessons in year 7 and 8 per week and one in year 9. During these lessons, we explore age-appropriate, culturally diverse literature, exposing pupils to reading aloud while exploring themes, character development and different writing styles.
Competitions and events embracing reading, writing and oracy take place regularly through the year at Pioneer. In the autumn term, we celebrate Black History Month, marked by a writing competition and later in the term, we collect entrants from 'Pioneer-ing Voices' for our termly publication. Our pupils enjoy 'Real People Read', where staff read a section of their favourite book or short story for pupils during lunch time. In the spring term, we create films and events for pupils as part of our World Book Day celebrations, with teachers reading and discussing extracts from their favourite books. Click here to see last year's film.
"We want to share our love and passion for reading with pupils", said Ms Ferguson, our Lead Practitioner, English Team, "as we realise just how important reading is!"
Supporting reading age development
At the start of each academic year, all pupils complete a Reading Age assessment, which allows us to identify barriers to reading early on. Whilst all pupils receive the offer of additional English with lessons focused on Reading for Pleasure, some pupils require additional support beyond this, and we provide that support.
We have invested in tried and tested programmes proven to accelerate progress with reading and literacy, such as ‘Lexia’ reading support programme and ‘Read Write Inc: Fresh Start’ phonics programme which we offer to pupils identified as needing this additional support.
What is the focus of intervention?
How is intervention delivered?
Ensure pupils catch up to their chronological reading age through phonics
Read Write Inc
Ensure pupils catch up to their chronological reading age through more developed reading and comprehension
Read Write Inc where required
Ensure pupils develop the writing skills and comprehension required for necessary attainment in English
Lexia Read Write inc
English Language lessons
Ensure pupils comprehend archaic words, structures and conventions of meaning in GCSE texts including A Christmas Carol, an Inspector Calls and Poetry.
Pre-teach GCSE texts so that pupils in intervention experience the confident success when reading in the mainstream classroom.
Support pupils to develop a metacognitive awareness of their comprehension and inferential reading so that they know when and how to ask for help.
Guided annotation on key extracts from GCSE texts in small groups
Tuition in small groups in non-fiction texts pertaining to GCSE texts (summaries and contextualising criticism)
Accountable Individual Reading in small group tuition
Developing disciplinary literacy
Our approach to improving literacy across Pioneer is informed by the Educational Endowment Foundations meta-study analysis ‘Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools’. In line with this we have thought strategically about our English curriculum & 'Reading for Pleasure' lessons and research-backed interventions - as set out above - and also planned carefully our approach to developing disciplinary literacy.
Disciplinary literacy is an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum. It recognises that literacy skills are both general and subject specific, emphasising the value of supporting teachers of every subject to teach pupils how to read, write and communicate effectively.
As pupils progress through an increasingly specialised secondary school curriculum, there is a growing need to ensure that pupils are trained to access the academic language and conventions of different subjects. Strategies grounded in disciplinary literacy aim to meet this need, building on the premise that each subject has its own unique language, ways of knowing, doing, and communicating. By anchoring literacy clearly in subjects, disciplinary literacy aims to support pupils to develop relevant ‘disciplinary habits of mind’.
Our subject leads plan carefully how to support pupils to develop literacy specific to their subject. For example, in maths, our teachers explicitly teach mathematical vocabulary and specific reading strategies for written problems to support pupils to read like mathematicians.