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At Barnwell, we understand the importance of literacy, especially reading and work hard to ensure students get the support and opportunities they require to make progress in this area. Our aim is to ensure that all students can read widely and often, with both fluency and comprehension. In doing this, literacy obstacles are removed to achieve greater progress across the curriculum.

Our Reading Golden Rule is: Read Frequently, Read Quality, Read Well.

As well as reading in school, students should read as often as they can at home. Reading is not just about learning but enjoyment! If you would like to discuss ways in which you can support your child to read more often in their own time, then please contact:

KS3 – Allie Roe

KS4 – Holly Emmett

Below is an outline of the whole school strategies we use to support and encourage reading progress at Barnwell.

Year Group Read 

All tutor groups at KS3 and KS4 read once or twice a week, together as a class (and in effect, as a year group), led by their tutor.  This is a chance for students to read for enjoyment and we have chosen a selection of books that support the aims of our character education and PRIDE traits. These are outlined in the table below.

We would like to students to know that they don’t always have to study or analyse a book, sometimes they can just enjoy the story! 

Book Buzz

We have bought into the Book Buzz programme from The Books Trust for Year 7. Upon arriving at Barnwell every student will receive a ‘free’ book (paid for by us) which they can choose from a variety in the Book Buzz catalogue. In their first library lesson they are introduced to this programme by the Librarian who assists them in choosing their book, anticipating its arrival and receiving it as a gift before the Christmas holidays. This is a fantastic introduction to KS3 library lessons and ensures that all students, no matter what their economic background, have access to at least one book which is their own.

Reading Fluency Project

At KS3, in Years 7 and 8, one of the biggest commitments we have made to supporting students who struggle to read is the Reading Fluency Project. When students arrive at Barnwell in Year 7, and then three times a year, every year, we test them for their reading ages. Ideally, a student’s ‘reading age’ would be the same as their ‘chronological age’. However, a small number of students arrive in Yr 7 with reading ages as low as 6 years of age. If a young person is not able to read at a level equivalent to their actual age they will struggle to understand the content of their lessons and, at KS4, may not be able to understand the questions in their GCSE exams. The Reading Fluency project is an 8 week, small group intervention that has the potential to increase a student’s reading age by up to a year in a short time. If your child is identified as having a significantly low reading age and takes part in this project then you will receive a letter with further details about how it is organised – some reading is required to be carried out at home with a family member to fully ensure it has the best impact possible.

Bedrock and Literacy Lessons

At KS4 and KS3 (in Year 9) a selection of students have extra, discrete Literacy lessons on their timetables. These are usually students who have been identified as requiring extra time to develop their literacy skills and complete this lesson instead of studying MFL. Students complete a range of tasks including: reading groups in which the focus is on developing fluency and exposure to regular reading, lessons that enhance the skills they develop in their English subject and Bedrock Learning. At KS3 the lessons are delivered by an intervention lead/ TA who specialises in small group interventions. At KS4 these are delivered by English teachers. Bedrock Learning is a programme which has been designed to support vocabulary and grammar learning. The online programme personalises learning to students through an initial test and thereafter delivers a series of ‘lesson blocks’ designed to introduce, track, re-teach and then assess vocabulary and grammar skills.

World Book Day

Every year, we celebrate World Book Day as a school to demonstrate our support for this very important event! A range of activities are planned at KS3 and KS4, although more learning time is given over to these at KS3 during their English lessons. In the past these have included the opportunity to be creative – decorating potatoes as a favourite literary character and making masks to explore bringing dramatic characters to life. Students always engage with the activities with enthusiasm and our aim is for them to enjoy celebrating books. A competition also takes place at KS3 and KS4 with book tokens as a prize.

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