Our Ambition for Reading
At Hayesfield School our ambition is for all of our 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.
How We Ensure Our Students Become Good Readers
Reading as Part of the Curriculum
Students in Year 7 and Year 8 have one reading lesson a fortnight, during their English timetable, where they are expected to independently read books of their chosen genre through guided choice. We ensure that students’ reading ages are used to inform their choice of text so that all students are making progress with their reading. Students’ reading ages are checked three times a year and students who are making less progress than expected are provided with opportunities to secure improvement.
Year 7 students complete a Bedrock quiz. Bedrock Vocabulary is a research-based curriculum giving students the language they need to succeed at school and beyond. This provides an insight into the vocabulary they have already grasped and then supports them to develop their vocabulary, introducing new words through original fiction and non-fiction selected for that student. This is a digital resource and uses a series of multi-modal and interactive activities. https://bedrocklearning.org/
A phonics-based reading programme takes place to support our weakest readers in Year 7, as part of what we refer to as our ‘Achievement First Curriculum’. This aims to rapidly develop reading confidence and fluency. The curriculum starts with most of the curriculum time in Term 1 of Year 7 focused on developing students’ literacy skills. Phonics knowledge and understanding is explicitly taught to all students via Read, Write, Inc.
Across both KS3 and KS4 vocabulary is focused 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. All Faculty Improvement Plans include an objective to develop reading within their subject areas with Literacy Leads in each Faculty working with our Director of Literacy.
Reading on a Daily Basis
At Hayesfield, we read. Students in Years 7-11 are therefore expected to have reading books that are an appropriate level for them with them at all times. This is promoted through our ‘Book in a Bag’ initiative. In Tutor sessions at the start of each day, students get their reading books out on the desk and the books then remain out on the desk for the duration of the session to enable Tutors to see what students are reading, and perhaps use the books as a spring-board for discussion depending on what is being covered in the pastoral curriculum that week. By having the opportunity daily to check in on reading, Tutors ensure that regular reading is continued beyond the Accelerated Reading years. We also know how students are inspired to read different books by seeing the current reads of their peers and teachers. Every week in our School Bulletin a member of our school community shares their current read and recommendation. Additionally, each week Years 7-11 have Tutor Literacy sessions. These sessions all start with 10 minutes of silent reading then students look at a whole range of reading and literacy related content to support them to share their ideas. From sharing favourite reads, through to exploring issues with fake news, reading for accuracy and deciphering hidden meanings. The literacy sessions are linked with both the pastoral system and topic for that week and current affairs, giving students the opportunity to share their opinion in an encouraging and understanding environment.
The Accelerated Reader Programme
|The Accelerated Reading (AR) programme is a scheme used to encourage an active interest in wider reading choices, helping our teachers tailor their support to each student’s individual reading experience. Using their reading level- the ZPD range (Zone of Proximal Development), generated in the STAR reading test, teachers guide students to select books with an appropriate level of challenge during one-to-one discussions in their fortnightly reading lessons, helping them to secure strong reading growth. Students pick books at their own level and read them at their own pace. When finished, they take a short quiz on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what has been read
To access Accelerated Reader quizzes from home follow this link:
Your daughter has her own login details and password to access the quiz.
We recommend regular reading for, as with anything, performance improves with practice and children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on the AR quizzes see the greatest gain. We have lots of books to choose from in school, however we are also aware that many students like to read their own books from home.
You can visit the website www.arbookfind.co.uk to search all of the available books with AR quizzes to see if the book your child wants to read is on the scheme. The quizzes can also be completed from home.
In school the STAR Reading assessments are used to generate information on students’ reading levels. The STAR test generates a students’ book-level (ZPD range) for use in the Accelerated Reader sessions and to help students The test is a computer based reading assessment, where the 34 questions adjust to a pupil’s responses, making the difficulty easier or harder depending on the comprehension of the question previous. The test uses multiple choice questions and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Teachers support students in taking a STAR Reading assessment in their Accelerated Reading class three times per year on the chromebooks in our Book-Eyrie The Zone of Proximal Development levels range from 2.0 up to 13.5- with 13.5 being the most challenging texts in terms of vocabulary. Books are chosen based on recommendations from the STAR Reading assessment
Reading Intervention Programme
We use data from the AR STAR tests and in-house reading assessments to inform our reading intervention programme. This comprises of:
- First wave intervention reading takes place during reading lessons. This uses comprehension and inference reading to ensure students grasp the content of what they are reading
- Catch-up Reading: With the objective of supporting all students to be on or above their chronological reading age in mind, our Catch-Up reading program led by our SENDCO, offers individualised reading support for students who are identified as being two years under their chronological age. Staff are timetabled to read individually with these students, and we see tremendous progress with reading ages as a result
- Sixth Form Buddy Programme – A select group of our Sixth Form students buddy up with weaker readers in KS3. It’s a time where KS3 students spend 15-30 minutes a week reading to their own ‘buddy’ who has volunteered to support this programme. Importantly, its aim is to enthuse the younger students, engender confidence and encourage more frequent reading
- Read Write ink is used within Achievement First to support phonic improvement and Alpha to Omega is used by the external Dyslexia Specialist Teacher who is working with some of our dyslexic students
How We Foster a Love of Reading
Reading is celebrated at Hayesfield. From the beginning of their journey in Year 7, to the moment they leave, students are individually supported, encouraged and challenged to develop a life- long passion for reading and literature.
The Book-Eyrie (Our Reading Room)
The Book-Eyrie is Hayesfield’s reading room. Open from 8:00am, throughout the day and during break and lunch break. Filled with cosy cushions and blankets, the Book-Eyrie provides a welcoming environment to escape with a good read. The unique space was named by students and provides a room dedicated to reading. Year 7 and Year 8 have a timetabled reading lesson where they read, discuss and recommend books, and take Accelerated Reader quizzes.
At lunchtimes, as well as reading, we hold a variety of events in the Book Eyrie including celebrating World Book Day, teachers reading stories aloud to students and a weekly book quiz for those students who want to test their book knowledge! If you’re stuck when choosing a book, consult the Book Jar which contains a whole host of suggested reads organised by genre. Can’t find the book you are looking for? Pop a note in our Suggestion Box so it can be added to The Book-Eyrie shelves.
The Book-Eyrie is available for reading at lunchtimes and after school every day of the week and students are encouraged to use this resource.
The Book-Eyrie is supported by a team of Book-Eyrie Fledglings, student helpers, who assist at lunchtimes by signing books in and out on the desk, helping students find books, running events at lunchtimes, contributing to The Book-Eyrie Briefing (our very own newsletter) and sharing their enthusiasm for reading by recommending books to students.
We have a variety of Book-Clubs running at Hayesfield, with students having set up their own groups, meeting at lunch and sharing new fiction. The surge in success of in crime fiction with female detectives has not gone unmissed, and one of our LEAP after school activities is a “Murder Most Unladlylike” detective book club- where students enjoy the opportunity to be creative with mysteries, riddles, creative writing and sharing passages from books!
World Book Day
This is one of our favourite days of the school year and integral part of grasping an opportunity to really celebrate the importance of reading. Each and every year, we have a school theme (from Inspirational Literary Heroines through to Reading for Empathy) which guides how we celebrate it. We do love a good costume, and the value of coming in costume as providing opportunity to make some fond memories of secondary school- however, we place the focus on sharing books and stories at the forefront and costume for World Book Day is never compulsory- our students and staff just love to Get Involved and get dressed up!
Promoting a Love of Reading Through Recognition, Praise and Celebration of Achievement
Accelerated Reader is linked heavily into our House Point system, for every quiz passed (80%) students receive a House Point from their Accelerated Reading teacher- we celebrate reading also with the Top Tutor Reading Trophy (for the Tutor Group with the most people having completed the most quizzes) and award extra House Points for those students who read books with higher levels of challenge. We also recognise our ‘Word Billionaires’ in the School Bulletin and in Achievement Assemblies- The importance of praising reading at Secondary school can never be overstated in its power to combats the national drop off with reading at secondary school age (National Literacy Trust, 2015)
We run a number of reading competitions throughout the year and have a whole school approach to ‘World Book Day’ with lots of activities going on, such as the collaborative reading of a short story at the start of each lesson throughout the day, and staff dressing up as book characters.
The Hayesfield Hundred Reading Challenge was established in the academic year 2021- 2022 to mark Hayesfield School’s Centenary, with a list of 100 books (20 per year group for Years 7-11) for students to aspire towards reading. During Tutor Literacy sessions in September 2021, students were given the choice to select books they felt should appear in the list and these were added accordingly. For each year group, the books selected are divided into subgroups, with ‘Stretch’ and ‘Strive’ constituting a list of texts deemed to be appropriate in content for the year group, whilst additionally providing further challenge for reading age development, with sophisticated vocabulary and more complex terms.
See the current full lists here:
Each academic year we endeavour to ensure that Year 7-11 students enjoy at least one author visit. These visits from a whole host of wonderful authors (both local and from further afield) are invaluable not only in inspiring a love of reading, but also in motivating our students to see the tremendous power of story-sharing and writing. Without fail, every author who has visited Hayesfield has shared how they were influenced by their own unique set of experiences, and in discussing how this has shaped their writing, our students can discover how they might harness their experiences to shape their own voice and decisions.
This gives our students an opportunity to showcase their spelling skills. It’s an inter-school competition for Years 7&8 to find the best spellers in Bath held at Hayesfield.
Reading and vocabulary development is a focus for staff training through INSET days, staff meetings and Teaching and Learning briefings. This ensures reading remains high profile and all teachers and teaching assistants have strategies to use to develop vocabulary and support reading, including a basic understanding of phonics.
Intended Impact of our Reading Strategy
Our intended impact is that students develop a love of reading, develop the reading skills, fluency, vocabulary and knowledge to access the full curriculum, to build cultural capital and be fully prepared for the next stage of their education.
We are aiming that:
- by the end of Year 9 all of our students are reading at their chronological age or have surpassed it
- all our students are empathetic, critical and thoughtful communicators, within school and beyond
- that the majority of our students are entered for and achieve the EBacc in Year 11
- that our Year 11 students achieve a good set of GCSE outcomes which allows them to progress to their intended destination with over 90% achieving a Grade 4 or above in English
Supporting Reading at Home
At home, you can help by encouraging your daughter to read, discussing books with them, asking questions about what they have read and visiting your local library together. For further tips on how you can support with reading at home please click on the following link: 7 Top Tips For Supporting Reading At Home [PDF]