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.

Lesson booklets

Over the last couple of years, a huge amount of work has been done to update our resources across all subjects. This includes the move to lesson booklets. Each booklet explains new learning, including substantial opportunities to read new and challenging texts. By exposing our students to challenging texts, and by teaching them the skills in which to unpick them, we show our students that they are able to access difficult reading, encouraging 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. The classes will read a range of extracts, novels and non-fiction, which exposes them 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, like history and English, together. Year 7 and Year 8 are currently enjoying reading about the origin 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 will 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 varying cultures and traditions. We believe it is important to model good reading skills to the 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)

Reading Interventions

Some students require more support to gain confidence in their reading ability. A BDA, we believe that every student can learn to read successfully by providing the right assistance. We test every student at the beginning of the academic year using a standardised reading test to ascertain those students who might struggle with their reading skills. We then run interventions with these students in order to catch their reading skills up to their chronological ages. In Year 7 and Year 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. This year, around 15 students in Years 8-10 have access to weekly online tutoring to catch students up on their literacy skills, particularly in light of lockdown this year.