Reading at Shrewsbury Academy and The Marches Academy Trust
We believe that literacy begins with reading. At the heart of our literacy strategy is ‘reading for pleasure’. We expect all of our students to read in their own time and to bring their current reading book to school every day. We promote reading through a range of events and, most importantly, through our ‘DEAR’ initiative. Most importantly, we talk to our students about what they are reading and what we are reading. Having adults as literacy role models is essential to a child’s development. We will also be provide reading recommendations for both students and parents.
Drop Everything and Read
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!’
From October 2019, Shrewsbury Academy launched ‘DEAR’. Straight after lunch, between 1:35pm and 2:00pm all students attend their tutor rooms to complete DEAR. This is a daily session where students and staff read for pleasure – an opportunity to develop reading skills and enjoyment by choosing something that you want to read. The only thing that we expect from students, is that they have their own reading book (not newspapers or magazines) with them at all times. The session itself will be completed in silence so that students are able to concentrate for the entire 25 minutes.
To create a reading-friendly environment and culture throughout Shrewsbury academy and The Marches Academy Trust, and help make all of our students ‘word rich’ and passionate about reading beyond school.
It is the responsibility of all schools to “develop policies to promote reading for enjoyment.” [Ofsted (2012), Moving English Forward] Whilst schools embed policies generally focused upon weak readers – such as an emphasis upon phonics – many schools have abandoned the promotion of wider reading and reading for pleasure due to the constraints and pressures of covering the curriculum. As reading is such an essential skill for all areas of the curriculum, we at Shrewsbury Academy and The Marches Academy Trust strongly believe that, in order for students to develop a love for reading and to further strengthen our students’ skills in reading, this dedicated time for reading is essential. We do not believe that this is a sacrifice for our curriculum; instead we feel that – over time – it will help our students to access the curriculum more effectively.
We have decided to make reading a whole-school priority with all staff being reading role models for our students. It is our belief that this will be a key factor in establishing an effective reading culture throughout our school.
Why Silent Reading?
Students who are good readers experience more success, which makes them want to read more. As students read more, they become even more passionate about reading. Their vocabulary and comprehension skills grow, allowing them to access more complex texts and develop a greater ‘cultural competency’ which will prepare them more effectively for life beyond school.
Silent reading is therefore a skill that is essential for all individuals for a variety of different reasons:
• It helps us to read faster.
• It helps us to improve our understanding.
• It helps the reader to ignore words that they don’t need.
• It allows you to reread aspects of texts to develop understanding further.
• It helps the reader to read whole words at once.
• It allows the reader to build skills in order to move quickly to the information that they may need.
• It is a process that involves everyone while giving everyone an opportunity to choose something that suits both their own interests and their own reading level.
• It gives a good model of writing and language in use.
• It can help with exam practice throughout the curriculum.
• It helps to develop readers’ confidence.
• It helps listening comprehension because reading silently and quickly is actually better practice for real-life listening comprehension than reading out loud is.
• It helps the reader to stop moving their lips as they read. Some people who have done most of their reading out loud move their lips as if they are speaking even when reading silently. This slows down your reading speed and can be embarrassing if people see you.