Reading Strategy at Coal Clough Academy

‘Reading is a bridge from misery to hope.’ – Kofi Annan

At Coal Clough Academy, our approach to reading is to meet our pupils where they are and to help them to reach for two goals:
  1. Functional literacy and,
  2. A love of reading.

Many of our students have had negative experiences around reading and others have barriers to success, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Our primary mission is to find the barriers, remove them, and then help our pupils to grow as readers. To this end, we test all students on entry using the New Group Reading Test from GL Assessment.

Students who are identified as being significantly behind their peers are then further tested to determine whether their barrier is with fluency,
comprehension, gaps in phonics learning, speed, or any undiagnosed additional need. We can then tailor interventions to the child’s specific needs, and students’ names go on a Reading Risk Register, which every member of staff has. Students are then re-tested termly, so that we are keenly aware of the progress they are making and can act on the data rapidly.

Our approach to reading is based on the Education Endowment Foundation’s report, Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools, and the seven recommendations found therein.
We prioritise disciplinary literacy across the curriculum, with access to subject-specialist texts so that students can learn to read like an expert in that
subject. Students are taught vocabulary that supports them in understanding what they read. We support these efforts in lessons by using form-time for non-fiction reading as a class. During these activities students: learn about the wider world; learn additional vocabulary; have their comprehension supported using oracy approaches and reciprocal reading roles; make text-to-self, text-to-text and text-to- world connections by discussing how the articles related to British values, SMSC and PSHE.
Pupils are encouraged to read fiction for enjoyment as well, as an extension of English lessons. Students have regular library visits, and we spotlight a different author every half-term so that students grow more conversant with both modern and classic literature.
Going forward, we intend to start using whole-class reads during form time, as evidence supports the idea that reading whole texts, at pace, has a significant impact on students’ reading. We are developing a school YouTube channel, which will support communication with parents and pupils alike, and can be used to reinforce learning of academic vocabulary or to give prominence to a wider variety of books. We are also widening our scope of interventions, coupled with additional staff training, in order to cater to the wide spectrum of needs in our setting.

As part of our commitment to reading, we have set out a number of priorities across all levels of staff. These are supported by an action plan outlining 7 focus areas to help us develop our Reading Strategy at Coal Clough Academy:

School Priority
To embed a reading culture throughout the school

 

Every classroom teacher should have the following three priorities that will be at the centre of embedding reading in the academic year 2022/23.

3 Key Reading priorities
To understand what makes an expert reader in my subject
To teach reading in my lessons and understand how to support students who may be struggling
To plan opportunities for students to read in lessons

 

Every Middle Leader should have the following three priorities that will be at the centre of embedding reading in the academic year 2022/23.

Key Middle Leadership reading priorities
To understand what makes an expert reader in my subject
To understand how to use reading data and how to access interventions for students who may need it
To ensure that opportunities for reading are added to schemes of work

 

Every Senior Leader should have the following three priorities that will be at the centre of embedding reading in the academic year 2022/23.

Key Senior Leadership priorities
To support classroom teachers and middle leaders by providing CPD on reading
To use data to ensure that resources are allocated in such a way as to help close the reading gap
To raise the profile of reading across the school

 

Focus 1: Prioritise disciplinary literacy across the curriculum

Focus 2: Provide targeted vocabulary instruction in every subject

Focus 3: Develop students’ ability to read complex academic texts

Focus 4: Break down complex writing tasks

Focus 5: Combine writing instruction with reading instruction in every subject

Focus 6: Oracy—Provide opportunities for structured talk

Focus 7: Provide high quality interventions for struggling students