The latest curriculum for English states that ‘Reading at key stage 3 and 4 should be wide, varied and challenging. Pupils should be expected to read whole books, to read in depth and to read for pleasure and information.’ At Stewards Academy developing pupils’ reading skills is a key priority. The importance of reading cannot be overstated. Teenagers who read for pleasure are much more likely to get a better job when they become adults, according to an in-depth and long-running sociological study.
Pupils are encouraged, supported and monitored in various ways, see below for more information.
This has now been active at the school for a number of years and currently around 880 students across years 7 to 10 are enrolled on the scheme. It works by assessing a pupil’s reading ability with a computer reading test, called a ‘Star Test’. Pupils are then given a ‘book range’ so they know which books they will be able to read and understand. After reading the book a ‘Renaissance Reading ‘quiz is taken which assesses the student’s understanding of the book. In addition pupils are given a points target for the term, which are earned through passing a quiz on the books when finished. This scheme has proven to greatly improve reading ability across all ages and all ability levels in the school.
‘Ace’ reading lessons and homework
Pupils in years 7 to 9 have one lesson per week dedicated to improving their reading skills. They have the opportunity to read independently, one to one or sometimes in small groups. All pupils may visit the library, where they choose a book and take Renaissance Reading quiz. To complement the ACE lesson, all students are expected to complete 30 minutes reading a day as part of their English homework. Extensive research suggests this has a significant impact on pupil progress.
The School Library
The library is a busy hub of the school. Many reading lessons take place in the library. Break and lunchtimes it is often full of pupils working hard. All pupils are welcome to use this excellent facility to read, to study, to take Renaissance quizzes and to research via the Internet or reference books for homework. The library is open daily from 8am until 4pm (3.30pm on Fridays).
Each term, one week is dedicated to reading across the whole school. A wide range of reading activities takes place to encourage a love of literature. We choose a different theme for each such as ‘Poetry’, ‘Diaries’, and the all-time favourite ‘Harry Potter’. These include, author visits, competitions, and staff readings in the library.