Castle Manor Academy

Year of Reading

How do we support students to read? 

Over the last three years we have recognised the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the impact that this has had on our students’ access to and engagement with reading. We understand the value of being a fluent and confident reader, and how it can improve the long-term success and life chances of every student. This is why we deliver a range of opportunities, strategies and support to learners who find reading challenging.

Why is reading important? 

For many of our learners, the journey from phonics (being able to sound out letters and groups of letters to form words) to fluency is well on the way by the time that they leave Primary school. A significant proportion of our students (30 % of a year group) arrive at Castle Manor without reaching the expected standard for reading in Year 6. This may be due to a wide variety of reasons that could include recently learning English as a second language or managing to cope with a special educational need that makes reading a bit more difficult. Other students may just need a bit more time and support to practise their reading skills and gain the confidence needed to read fluently and to understand what they have read.   

At secondary school, being able to read and understand text is an important skill that is needed every day. From reading fiction and non-fiction texts, to being independent with Home Learning and personal organisation, we need to support our students to navigate their time with us. This means that we need to look at a whole school approach to reading that supports every student, regardless of their starting point.   

What are we doing as a school to develop every student as a confident reader? 

We are proud of our school’s reading offer, that covers a whole range of activities and approaches including: 

  • An English Curriculum that is challenging and diverse, developing every student into a more confident reader 
  • A tutor time reading programme in Years 7-9 where every student hears their tutor read from a fantastic range of texts, learning new vocabulary as they go. We are excited to be trailling the CUSP Reading programme this half term! 
  • Interventions for students who have specific literacy needs, and who might need extra support to catch up. This ranges from 1:1 support for students who need help with phonics, small group Herts for Learning Literacy programme (fluency and comprehension) and Lexia Literacy for students who are just below their expected level and work online with more independence to improve.  
  • Challenges and House Competitions that all of our students can access and promote an enjoyment of reading.  
  • Access to the Library, both in person and online via AccessIT where students can browse and borrow books, and take part in a range of activities
  • Further professional development for our team of teachers and support staff in supporting students at every point in their reading journey.