Reading and Literacy

How we support reading.

Monitoring Reading Proficiency

For Year 7 through to Year 9, the school uses Star Reading Assessment three times per year to monitor the progress that pupils are making in their reading. The Star Reading Assessment is part of the Accelerated Reader programme (more information on Accelerated Reader is available below) and provides information on pupils’ reading age, their standardised score, their ability to understand, interpret and engage with texts, and the breadth of their vocabulary.  

For Year 10 and Year 11, pupils sit Literacy Assessment Online twice per year, which measures pupils’ reading and spelling ages as well as their standardised scores. 

The reason the school regularly assesses pupils’ reading proficiency is twofold. Firstly, to ensure that no pupils who may require additional support with their reading remain unidentified and they can access an intervention programme tailored to their needs; and secondly to ensure that pupils are reading books at a level that will help them to make rapid progress with their reading comprehension. 

Reading Interventions

The school has several layers of intervention in place for pupils who require additional support with their reading. Pupils are initially identified by their standardised score following a Star Reading Assessment or Literacy Assessment Online result, although a secondary diagnostic assessment also takes place to ensure that pupils actually need intervention and that if so, they are receiving the correct intervention. The reading interventions the school currently offer are: 

  • Lexonik Advance Level 3 (six-week cycle) 
  • Lexonik Advance Level 2 (six-week cycle) 
  • Lexonik Leap 
  • Read, Write, Inc. Fresh Start 
  • Queen’s University Belfast Paired Reading Programme (conducted by Key Stage 5 students)

Accelerated Reader

In Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, pupils are enrolled in the Accelerated Reader Programme. This is a programme designed to help pupils rapidly improve their reading comprehension by reading books in their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD). ZPDs are designated to each pupil following a Star Reading Assessment.  

The Accelerated Reader programme works by pupils completing quizzes online once they’ve read a book, which in turn provides the school and pupils themselves with information on how well they have comprehended what they have read and if they are ready to move on to a higher stage. Pupils can check the ZPD of what they are currently reading or find suggested books within their ZPD by using the Accelerated Reader Bookfinder website, which is linked below. 

Four Types of Reading

In lessons across school, pupils are encouraged to understand the type of reading that tasks require. Symbols identifying the four types of reading are embedded into resources and staff make reference to them during lessons. The four types of reading the school uses are: 

  • Intensive: Clear, focussed reading. Attention to detail to make sure you understand every word. 
  • Extensive: Broad, relaxed reading. Less about accuracy and more about fluency. 
  • Skimming: Looking over the text for the general gist. Not pronouncing every word but focussing your attention on the main idea. 
  • Scanning: Searching the text for specific information. Rejecting or ignoring irrelevant information to locate a specific piece of information. 

The School Library

The school is fortunate to have a large and well-stocked library which is open before school, at break times, lunchtimes and after school. The fiction section of the library has been organised so that pupils in Key Stage 3 can easily find a book within their ZPD.  

The school library has its own website where pupils can check if books are currently available for loan, or when they are due back in. Most books on the library website are also linked to Accelerated Reader so pupils can see what the ZPD of each book is. 

The St Leonard’s Reading Canon

Although we believe that it is important for pupils to have some structure around the reading that is suggested to them, we also firmly believe that pupils need a large degree of choice in what they read in order to ensure that reading remains a pleasurable habit.  

To that end, we have launched the St Leonard’s Reading Canon for Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. Each year group has a choice of 41 books. We believe that reading a minimum of three books per year from each year group’s canon will provide pupils, over the course of Key Stage 3, with a diverse blend of writing styles, authors, genres, links to British Values and links to the school’s virtues. 

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Updated | 20th December, 2023 |

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