At Allerton Grange School, we're committed to fostering a love for reading in our students from the start of Year 7.
Please see below for what we have in place for each year group:
To achieve this aim, we've designed engaging weekly reading lessons for Year 7 and Year 8 students that encompass the practice of reading fluency through poetry, modelled by English teachers, and independent reading practice via the Reading Plus programme.
We've chosen to implement the Reading Plus programme to aid your child in becoming an even better reader. Reading Plus equips our students with the essential skills needed to improve in reading and sets them on a path towards becoming lifelong learners. Regular practice with Reading Plus not only makes reading easier but also enhances comprehension. Your child will enhance their ability to relate reading to various aspects of their learning journey.
To find out more about Reading Plus, we invite you to explore their website at www.readingplus.com and https://www.readingplus.com/resources/for-families/
Accessing Reading Plus and Monitoring Progress:
Your child will complete Reading Plus assignments as part of their weekly reading lessons and also independently, outside of reading lessons, using a computer or tablet with internet access. The programme not only helps them complete assignments but also keeps track of their progress, allowing us to celebrate their growth.
Here's how to access Reading Plus:
- Visit login.readingplus.com
- Click on the ‘Student login’ button
- Enter the Site Code: rpallerton
- Proceed by entering the username and password, which can be found in your child's student planner.
Your child’s dashboard will look like this – they will need to click ‘Start Lessons’ to access the programmes:
From there, they can complete the outstanding tasks for each week (shown through the grey squares above).
Stay Connected with Your Child's Progress:
You can actively participate in your child's reading journey by logging into their Reading Plus account and accessing their Dashboard. Explore the Families link at the top of the screen for more information or click on the ? Help icons placed throughout the Dashboard for guidance.
In addition to our reading lessons, we've incorporated weekly homework assignments set by the English department tailored to support your child's reading skills and enjoyment. Please ensure your child completes the following tasks each week:
Independent Reading: Encourage your child to read their chosen book from the library (or home). Devoting just 10-20 minutes to reading each evening can result in significant rewards. This practice complements their Reading Plus assignments and nurtures their growth as enthusiastic readers. Each half-term, students will write and submit a book review for a book they have read.
Reading Plus Assignments: Your child should aim to complete their Reading Plus assignments every week. These assignments reset every Monday, so a well-paced approach, completing one assignment each day, is ideal for achieving their weekly reading goals. Please be mindful that Reading Plus works only on laptops, computers or tablets – not smartphones. If your child does not have access to these devices at home, they are welcome to join us in the library for Homework Club.
We firmly believe that these weekly reading lessons and homework tasks will play a significant role in your child's reading progress and overall development.
Building upon the success of our reading lessons at KS3, the English department are thrilled to share that we have partnered with Sparx to introduce Sparx Reader. This is an engaging new reading platform designed to continue nurturing reading habits and literacy skills as your child progresses into KS4 and beyond.
Sparx Reader is a fantastic tool that encourages regular independent reading, which plays a pivotal role in advancing vital literacy skills. Here's what you can expect:
- Students can choose from a range of eBooks, each tailored to their reading level.
- As they immerse themselves in these captivating stories, they'll also interact with thought-provoking questions, ensuring a deeper understanding of the material.
- By reading attentively, students accumulate points, enabling them to monitor their progress and even compete on our league table.
- For those dedicated and consistent readers, there's an exciting milestone to strive for: Gold Reader status. Achieving this special recognition grants students the opportunity to continue reading any paper book from our library or their own home by simply scanning the book's barcode, while still adding to their Sparx points.
How to Log In:
Students can access Sparx Reader online (www.sparxreader.com). They will need to select their school and log in using their school login credentials.
Sparx Reader is accessible on any device with an internet connection and a web browser.
To support your child effectively, here are some tips:
- Ensure your child has the opportunity to complete 30 minutes of Sparx Reader homework each week – 5 minutes per day is a great place to start.
- While Sparx Reader adapts to each student's reading level, it's essential not to help them with the questions as this may lead to an inaccurate assessment of their current reading skils.
- Providing a quiet, distraction-free space for your child to focus on their reading homework is incredibly beneficial.
- Encourage discussions about the book they're reading. Ask about the aspects they enjoy, the characters they find intriguing or the recent plot developments. Your interest can spark engaging conversations about their literary adventures.
We strive to ensure that their reading journey remains an enjoyable and enriching one as we move into the next phases of their academic path.
In September 2019, we introduced our Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) programme. Three times a week, during form time, students engage in DEAR sessions after morning registration. In these sessions, they read culturally enriching literature led by their form tutors. The form tutor reads aloud, and students follow along using their personal copies of the book. Study guides are displayed on the board to support students with their engagement, with suggested discussion questions aimed at fostering enriching conversations within the form.
Reading the right quantity of suitably stretching literature within the context of a rigorous, knowledge-based curriculum is the key to addressing the imbalance between the socially advantaged and the socially disadvantaged.
Schools have no more fundamental responsibility than teaching children to read. Children who can read are overwhelmingly more likely to succeed at school, achieve good qualifications, and subsequently enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. The number of words we read and understand, more than any other factor, predicts social mobility. In addition to its substantial practical benefits, reading is one of life’s profound joys.
DEAR is a central feature of our knowledge-rich and word-rich curriculum. Reading aloud to children has a profound effect on their reading ability. With the spoken word, we hear the expression and intonation that is essential for language learning and vocabulary acquisition. The emphasis and inflection implicit in the spoken language communicates a large amount of additional information about a word. However, as children get older, most vocabulary learning shifts to the written form (as opposed to what they hear).
Of course, written language contains far more vocabulary than oral language. The solution is to hear those words read aloud by a competent adult. Motivation to read is closely related to reading ability. Consequently, we model effective reading so that all students can participate irrespective of their starting points. We make reading something that all students can access both physically (i.e., the same time and place each day) and emotionally (i.e., made to feel like a valued member of a reading community).
By reading novels that are culturally enriching, we also expose students to powerful contextual knowledge. We transport them to new and exciting places beyond the realms of their everyday lives. In effect, they develop not only knowledge of words, but also knowledge of the world. Once beyond the novice stage of decoding, reading ability mainly depends on how many words we know and our wider background knowledge.
Reading together in the manner of a shared journey, and supported in this way by the teacher, we help children to make sense of the world around them. It improves their ability to empathise with and relate to others, which has positive implications for mental health and behaviour.
In his book The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads (2017) Willingham pinpoints four attributes of successful readers:
- Reading attitudes – having a positive emotional attitude to reading.
- Motivation to read – having a belief that reading is worthy and a belief that you will succeed at reading.
- Choosing to read – being in an environment that facilitates reading.
- Reading self-image – seeing yourself as a reader. DEAR is key to building a genuine reading culture and instilling in all our students a life-long love of literature. Reading for pleasure leads to students wanting to read more – the desire to read separates the ‘haves’ from the ‘have nots’ when it comes to educational outcomes and life chances.
Our current DEAR novels (2023-2024):