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Literacy and Reading

Information on the Language Department - Intent and Implementation can be found here.

 

What is Read 20?

Read 20 is a new initiative that launched in January 2022 at Sheffield Park Academy. It is designed to encourage students to read for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. This means that on average, by the end of 2022, they could have read up to 1.8 million words.

Research has shown that students who read for 20 minutes a day will see huge benefits across all of their academic subjects compared to students who read for 5 minutes or less. Reading can also benefit young people in countless other ways, including:

  • A widened imagination and higher levels of creativity.
  • Helping them to empathise with others.
  • Exposure to multiple cultures, ideas and worlds.
  • Improved writing skills.
  • Expanded vocabulary.
  • Better mental health.
  • Improved critical-thinking skills.

Reading in school

Students will have the following opportunities to read or be read to:

  • In form time twice a week.
  • In weekly library and literacy lessons, for all students in Y7-Y9.
  • During ‘drop everything and read’ (DEAR) activities, where each week students will read in a specific subject for 10 minutes every lesson.

 Accelerated Reader

Reading in library and literacy lessons is supported by a computer-based program called Accelerated Reader that enables staff to monitor reading practice and progress.  A baseline assessment is used (STAR Reading) to determine students’ individual reading levels.  This enables English teachers and the school librarian to do the following things:

  • Guide students to books with vocabulary and sentence structure that they can understand yet will challenge them to improve.
  • Allow students to read independently, at their own level and pace.
  • Give students free choice of books within their level, increasing their enjoyment and engagement with reading.
  • Use data from online quizzes that students complete on the books they read to check their understanding of what they’ve read, and allow students to see the progress they are making.
  • Introduce an element of competition, regardless of their individual reading level, which for many students is a great motivation to read more and to explore different texts and genres. This, in turn, enables them to experience success and build their confidence as readers.

How does this work in practice?

Student choose, and change, their reading books during their regular lessons in the school Library.  The book is issued to them and forms part of their school equipment.  This means that they always have a book to read:

  • During their weekly literacy lessons, which take place away from the Library.
  • At any other appropriate point in the school day, for example at social times.
  • At home.

Please support your child by making sure they have their book with them in their school bag. It is vital that they bring their reading book with them every day.

Reading at home

How you can support your child

  • Let your child choose what to read, rather than choosing what you think they should read.  If they want to re-read a book, or series of books, or stick with a type of book (e.g. horror) then let them.
  • Encourage your child to read magazines, comics, newspapers and the internet, as well as books. 
  • Find things they can read that fit with their interests, or a shared interest.
  • Make time to read together if you can.
  • Ask them to read to you.
  • Take turns to read to each other.  If they find reading difficult, they can start off with a paragraph and build up to a whole page and then a chapter.
  • Read to them.  Even when your child is in secondary school this may be something they enjoy, and it will help their own reading to have a role model at home.
  • Buy books as presents.  Don’t forget TV tie-ins and books about interests such as games or music.

If you’re not a confident reader yourself…

  • talk to your child about what they are reading.  Ask them questions.  Have things in the house (magazines, newspapers) that they can read and tell you about.
  • listen to audiobooks together.  If you join your local Library you will be able to borrow these online, but there are lots available for free on YouTube.

REMEMBER: Let them enjoy their reading, take an interest in what they are reading and try and find at least 10 minutes during the day to support them.

 

Since beginning the Accelerated Reader programme in September 2021, several students have become ‘word millionaires’, reading more than a million words across a range of books.  ALL students are capable of achieving this amazing target while building crucial skills for life and maximising their chances of great results at the end of their school career. 

 

 

“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” - Roald Dahl

"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” - J.K. Rowling

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The person who never reads lives only one.” - George R.R. Martin

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