Reading at Kirk Hallam Academy

‘The world we are preparing our students to succeed in is one bound together by words and phrases. Our students learn their literature, history, math, science, or art via a firm foundation of strong reading skills. When we teach students to read with precision, rigor, and insight, we are truly handing over the key to the kingdom. Of all the subjects we teach reading is first among equals.’

The above quote represents why we believe that being able to read well is so important. Our scholars need to be able read fluently with precision and enthusiasm so they can excel in examinations and give them the chance to choose their own futures. Being exposed to a wide range of texts and vocabulary means they will be equipped with the necessary cultural capital to be able to contribute to society whenever they chose to leave Kirk Hallam Academy.

When and what do we read?

Reading is an essential part of our lessons and we use a variety of strategies as part of Control the Game to help our scholars. Our expert teachers use a range of texts in lessons and plan the reading to ensure that all scholars follow and take part.

More details on control the game can be found here:

Scholars have three home room sessions a week where they will read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Our curriculum is split into four achievement cycles and scholars will read one book per achievement cycle. Scholars and teachers read the book using Control the Game and each session discuss, debate and analyse what they have read drawing out the key themes to develop their cultural understanding and range of vocabulary.

The Department of Education Reading Framework

The importance of talk:

As part of our approach in developing literacy in our school is immersing our scholars in a language-rich environment with high quality talk in all educational experiences. In all subject areas we have specified ambitious language we want our scholars to interact with. In lessons new vocabulary is introduced in a systematic way and scholars than interact with through a variety of well-planned and challenging learning steps. In the lessons scholars are given a variety of opportunities to hear, write and speak using this new vocabulary.

Reading is a catalyst:

Our scholars read more in school than they have ever done. We believe that they will read more once they improve their confidence in reading. This year we will look to provide opportunities for scholars to read more for pleasure.

Adults modelling speaking and listening:

Our teachers have expert subject knowledge and plan effective lessons. In lessons teachers actively develop our scholars vocabulary. This is done through introducing new vocabulary at the start of the lesson and direct instruction. Our scholars then interact with existing and new vocabulary through guided and independent practice. In our lessons we use direct instruction and teacher modelling where the scholars have been taught how to ‘actively listen’. Scholars who actively listen well and use new vocabulary are praised through our Kickboard system.

Partner talk:

In the last academic year we introduced ‘turn and talk’ as the end of our direct instruction and throughout guided instruction. This year we will introduce ‘stretch it’ to encourage our scholars to speak in sentence and to listen to each other’s ideas.

No hands up:

In our school we use ‘cold call’ in lessons which is designed to improve ‘ratio’ in lessons. Our teachers pick who will answers questions so that many more scholars are heard. This forces all scholars to think as they not sure if they will be picked by the teacher to participate.

Choosing books to read aloud:

We have chosen a range of books for scholars to read when in school. The books will enhance and develop our scholars understanding of the rich tapestry that makes up the human condition. We cover mythology, love, pride, conflict, science, bravery, determination, and dystopian futures.

Thriving on repetition:

Each subject area has a well-sequenced and coherent curriculum plan which introduces new vocabulary at key points. Throughout the achievement cycles and years scholars will revisit this vocabulary again and again.

Dedicated times for stories, poems and rhymes and the language of stories:

Our scholars will have opportunities to read in most lessons throughout the day as well as three home room sessions focusing on stories. During these sessions our scholars will hear their teacher read and read out loud themselves. Our teachers will explicitly explain the meaning of new words and provide additional examples of their usage to enforce their meaning.

Book corners:

All our books that we read in school will be available for scholars to read as part of a book corner in our library.

Children with SEND:

All scholars have the right to be able to read fluently and for context. All scholars are assessed for their reading ages and depending on the results are then placed into the appropriate tiered intervention.

Our school approach:

Our approach to literacy is systematic and builds scholar vocabulary effectively over time. The approach we have taken is backed up by high-quality training for all staff as well as coaching delivered for staff where practice needs to be more effective.

June 2022


View the calendar in full

Latest News

View more news stories