Ellowes Hall school has 3 core aims surrounding literacy and reading. Firstly, the school aims to promote reading for pleasure from KS3 to KS4 through its tutor reading programme. Parents receive all reading information and updates in our termly reading newsletter.
The tutor programme is integral to life at Ellowes, and reading is at the heart of it. Students in years 7,8,9 and 10 read various texts throughout the academic year with their tutor. They read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, discussing ideas raised in the literature and develop their opinions about what they have read. They also have the opportunity, to complete designated reading challenges to help develop their comprehension skills. Currently, this takes place for at least 20 minutes a week.
As well as having the opportunity to read a range of texts during tutor time, we also have a reading programme in place to support our weaker learners, and those students who need more support with their reading. Currently, our learners are tested each year to assess their reading ability and comprehension. From the assessments, we can identify those students who are under their reading age and therefore need further support. From this, we can the offer bespoke programmes to support those students. Currently, we use Catch-up literacy programme to support the weaker readers, with a 6 weekly programme delivered by our trained teaching assistants. For those students who are slightly behind in their reading age, we have our Reading Ambassador students’ leaders who support students twice a week during tutor time.
Our Ellowes curriculum is enhanced with more opportunities of literacy, reading and oracy. In our Forensic Reading lessons, our aims and ethos are strengthened further, as students can examine a range of texts, asks questions about them in a safe and supportive environment, and discuss a range of topics, supporting them in their preparation for independent reading outside of school and life after school. We also encourage students to develop their own opinions and voice during these lessons and take on a range of oracy roles outlined
Reading Rewards is our programme on Inspire, where students are encouraged to read more outside of school and make use of the reading lists available. Most recently, our 16 by 16 reading challenge has been developed, where we encourage students to read the 16 chosen books before they leave Ellowes. These can be found in our brand-new book vending machine. Furthermore, students can log their reading that they complete outside of school. Students can also complete a range of reading reward challenges on Inspire which earn reading points. Students are encouraged to continue to complete challenges at home and are rewarded for completing these and uploading to Inspire. Students are rewarded each term for their reading logged and points earned, as well as those completing reading challenges that are set when we celebrate book weeks and key literacy calendared events such as World Book Day.
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As a school we also incorporate reading weeks into years 7,8,9 and 10 into our curriculum. The reading weeks consist of all students reading the chosen book throughout all lessons and across all subjects. Reading with their teachers and completing subject specific activities based around the books plot, themes, and ideas and or characters. This provides further opportunity for students to read, with time given in every lesson during the week designated to reading the book. The books are carefully chosen and link to SEMH topics and aim to develop students’ cultural capital. For example, Year 7 read and study ‘Goldfish Boy’, which follows a teenage boy who tackles his OCD, friendship issues and family grief.
Finally, as a school, we also celebrate all literacy calendared events such as World Book Day, National Literacy Week, Storytelling week, as well as promoting reading and writing for pleasure through literacy competitions and author visits throughout the year. With the newly opened Ellowes Library, The Book Haven, we have ample opportunity to provide a reading and mindfulness zone for students each lunchtime and newly created leadership roles for Reading Ambassadors and Librarians to support with this too.