Literacy Across the Curriculum
At Park Lane Academy, we are on a journey to build a culture of reading across the school and we want to encourage and support our students to read more frequently and more widely. Evidence shows that plenty of daily reading also improves children’s writing; those who read more often will get better at it.
Reading is fundamental in teaching children about the world around them, improving their vocabulary and developing their oracy. Furthermore, reading develops the imagination and helps students to empathise.
Reading comprehension is also a vital skill for success at GCSE. Since September 2015, the government have raised standards on GCSE papers through the introduction of 9-1 grades; students now need an average reading age of at least 15 years to access GCSE papers.
We have adopted a consistent approach to literacy through marking and assessment as well as ensuring that literacy skills are taught, revisited and revised by all teachers, in all subjects.
This includes a scaffolded approach to reading new texts, with the teacher as the model reader, and explicit teaching of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary.
As a school, we have invested in the Accelerated Reader programme to support our students in becoming more enthusiastic readers and to support teachers in creating a reading programme to meet the needs of every student. Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 have three Tutor time sessions per week reading, and Year 7 and 8 students have an additional 50 minute English lesson per week dedicated to reading and Accelerated Reader, in our well-stocked Learning Resource Centre.
According to research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate (average percentage correct) on Accelerated Reader quizzes see the greatest gains.
Accelerated Reader is a computer programme that helps teachers manage and monitor student’s independent reading practice. A student picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, the student takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what was read.)
AR gives both students and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help a student set targets and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
Teachers, ETAs and the librarian can help students choose books at an appropriate reading level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that students can pass the quiz and experience success.
Between September 2017 and December 2017, reading ages improved as follows: 50% of Year 7, 54.6% of Year 8 and 45% of Year 9.
Supporting your child with reading at home
Most parents/carers want to support their child in becoming as successful as they can be in all aspects of their life, and reading is no exception.
Talking to your child about what they’re reading is one of the most important things you can do. Not only does it support your child’s comprehension of the text but promotes enjoyment and engagement with reading outside of school.
Below are some questions that could be useful when talking to your child about the fiction book they’re reading. By no means are these an exhaustive list but could be a good starting point to encourage and support your child and help build that dialogue about reading between parent/carer and child.