Reading For Betterment

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”  Philip Pullman 

Reading is an essential skill for life. Our philosophy of ‘Reading for Betterment’ places reading at the centre of our curriculum. Our aim is to nurture and inspire all students to become life-long readers.

Our Confident Curriculum actively incorporates a wealth of opportunities for pupils to read independently, read aloud and to be read to, each and every day.  

Disciplinary Literacy 

The Education Endowment Foundation recognises that ‘literacy skills are both general and subject specific’.  As such, within each of our subject areas; we support and teach students how to read, write and communicate effectively by:

  • Subject specific vocabulary and terminology and revising punctuation and spelling 
  • Exploring the etymology of new vocabulary and packing, subject-specific literacy into Knowledge Organisers 
  • Utilising dictionaries, available in every teaching room, to support understanding of and expansion of vocabulary, including word of the week
  • Using a variety of reading strategies and literacy tasks 
  • Supporting cultural capital opportunities and creating inter-disciplinary links between subjects 
  • Promoting and supporting further reading including canonical texts 

Reading ages and targeted support 

Every year, students are tested twice so that we have an accurate idea of their reading age. This enables teaching staff to set appropriate and challenging tasks and to implement targeted support. We use a variety of targeted support programmes to help improve reading ability, such as: 

  • Fresh Start 
  • National Literacy Trust’s Skills Academy 
  • Reading therapy dog 

‘Just Read’ – Form time reading programme 

We have an extensive form time reading programme where, twice a week, form time is dedicated to staff reading aloud to students.

‘Just Read’ inspires a love of reading. We read non-fiction and fiction from historical and cultural backgrounds to support the development of vocabulary for all of our students.  

Each year group has an assigned reading list designed to expose students to texts that they may not normally choose to read.  This helps to develop their cultural capital and ‘Reading for Betterment’. 

Here is a sample of some of the books in our ‘Just Read’ programme. Click on the image to learn more about them. 

Library and Author Visits 

We are extremely lucky to have a fantastic open-plan library space where students can loan books without charge, choosing from a wide selection of genres and authors.  

Every English class has one library lesson per week where they participate in a variety of tasks and explore the riches of what a library has to offer. 

Throughout the year students participate in Young Writers competitions and national and world events such as National Poetry DayRoald Dahl DayRemembrance DayEuropean Day of Languages and ‘Author of the Month

Our book club forms part of our extra-curricular provision. Here we discuss books, give recommendations and explore chosen texts together. We invite authors to visit our school to share their experiences of being writers in the hope we inspire our next Charles Dickens, Simon Armitage or Roald Dahl! 

Reading Rewards 

As we are passionate about creating skilled, life-long readers, we enjoy rewarding our students with ‘Recognition for Reading’ epraise points. Points can be redeemed in our termly rewards shop. 

‘Sandymoor 100’ Challenge 

‘Sandymoor 100’ is a reading challenge where pupils are set the ultimate task of reading 100 books recommended by staff throughout their Sandymoor journey.  

Parents can also join the challenge!