At BDA, we recognise the importance of reading fluently to access all aspects of the curriculum. Students need to become confident readers in order to successfully communicate both within their school lives and outside of school. By reading more often and broadly, students develop the ability to access different types of text, as well as their written and spoken literacy. We encourage students to read in many different areas of school, outlined below.
Over the last couple of years, we've completed an ambitious update to our resources across all subjects, including a move to lesson booklets. Each booklet explains new learning, and includes substantial opportunities to read new and challenging texts. By exposing our students to challenging texts, and by teaching them the skills with which to unpick them, we show our students that they are able to access difficult reading, and encourage them to push themselves in all aspects of their curriculum.
Reading for Pleasure in English
Students in KS3 have one 'Reading for Pleasure' lesson per week as part of their English lessons. In this lesson, students read with their English teacher, who teaches them the skills necessary to access difficult texts. Classes read a range of extracts, novels and non-fiction, gaining exposure to different genres and concepts within literature, as well as different cultures, traditions and time periods. The Reading for Pleasure lessons complement the KS3 curriculum in English, provide background knowledge for the KS4 curriculum, and link subjects together, such as history and English. Year 7 and Year 8 are currently enjoying reading about the origins of literature, including ancient myths and legends, whilst Year 9 are exploring rhetoric across history.
Class Reader Programme
During form time, we run the Class Reader Programme across all Key Stages. Form classes read together, guided by their Form Tutor, for 40 minutes. The classes read a range of classic and modern books, fiction and non-fiction, and books from different cultures and traditions. We believe it is important to model good reading skills to students and encourage discussion of books, as well as show students the enjoyment of reading. Below is a selection of the books each year group is currently reading:
- Year 7 – A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness), Friend of Foe (Michael Morpurgo), Private Peaceful (Michael Morpurgo)
- Year 8 – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (John Boyne), Wonder (R. J. Palacio), War Horse (Michael Morpurgo)
- Year 9 – Noughts and Crosses (Malorie Blackman), How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff), Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
- Year 10 – Northern Lights (Philip Pullman), The Hate You Give (Angie Thomas), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon)
- Year 11 – White Teeth (Zadie Smith), I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai), The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
- Sixth Form – N-W (Zadie Smith), Natives (Akala), Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
Some students require more support to gain confidence in their reading ability. At BDA, we believe that every student can learn to read successfully if provided with the right assistance. We test every student at the beginning of the academic year using a standardised reading test to identify students who might struggle with their reading. We then run interventions with these students in order to catch up their reading skills to their chronological age. In Years 7 and 8, we run small phonics intervention groups, using the Ruth Miskin Fresh Start programme, to aid students who need help with learning to read. We run small reading groups, using the SRA reading programme, to aid students in their understanding of the reading they complete.