Notre Dame Catholic College
and Sixth Form

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin

Reading Strategy

At Notre Dame Catholic College, we aim to systematically cultivate in our students the habit of reading, to develop their confidence in reading, and to ensure that they acquire love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Strategies deployed to embed a reading culture throughout Notre Dame Catholic College

The College Library All students are challenged to read widely and to experiment by reading a range of genres. The library stocks a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction texts.

A dialogue about books and reading is encouraged by, for example, publishing students’ book reviews; all staff regularly engaging in conversations with students about their reading and students making presentations about the books they have read in reading lessons. The librarian and our whole school literacy co-ordinator promote a wide range of weekly and monthly initiatives and events to develop reading and encourage students to visit the library regularly.

A programme of activities is published at the beginning of each term. Students play an active role in promoting reading through, for example, being consulted on the choice of texts and involvement in planning the weekly library activities. Staff model good reading habits by discussing books and reading during form period, sharing subject-based articles and texts in lessons, leading assemblies on reading and providing displays that promote reading.

The Reading Calendar The Reading Calendar is how our school celebrates and promotes reading through various whole school activities such as World Book Day and Shakespeare’s Birthday. 3 Recent whole school events have included National Poetry Day, Remembrance Day and Black History Month.

We want Notre Dame to be a school with a reading culture and for all departments to celebrate and reinforce the importance of reading within their own subjects. Form Time Reading Programme From September 2021, students in Years 7 – 10 will read in form every day with their form teacher.

They will read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts, including texts from the literary canon. All staff will be trained in promoting reading and schemes of learning will emphasise the development of reading for pleasure. Parental guidance Parents/Carers are given guidance on the college website about how they can best support and encourage their child to develop the habit of reading.

Strategies deployed to teach reading throughout Notre Dame Catholic College

The role of the teacher in developing reading skills In order to support and enhance pupils’ reading skills,

it is essential that teachers across the curriculum provide opportunities for learners to do the following:

  • read and engage with a variety of different age-appropriate texts
  • learn how to sift and select information appropriate to the task
  • follow up their interests and read texts of varying lengths
  • question and challenge information and views
  • use reading to research and investigate.

Reading Activities Students will have the opportunities to:

  • use reading to research the subject area
  • use the library to support subject learning
  • read for pleasure
  • read a range of non-fiction text types and texts in different media
  • locate and retrieve information
  • select and make notes from a text
  • use a range of reading skills such as skimming, scanning, and reading for meaning
  • read fiction and non-fiction texts which will support their learning in a subject area.

Approaches Teachers will aim to:

  • facilitate reading development through their subject
  • present reading tasks at a suitable level 4
  • draw pupils’ attention to structure, layout, format and other signposts
  • help pupils to skim, scan or read intensively according to the task
  • teach pupils to select or note only what is relevant
  • help pupils to question, challenge and recognise bias in a range of texts
  • develop pupils use of academic (tier 2) and subject specific (tier 3) vocabulary through the explicit teaching of the morphology and etymology of key vocabulary.

Materials Pupils will be provided with:

  • range of materials to support the subject topic
  • texts at appropriate readability levels which cater for the range of pupils’ reading needs
  • materials reflecting a balance of culture and gender
  • resources / reference materials which enable all pupils to be independent.

Organisation Lessons will provide:

  • opportunities to facilitate the assessment of reading either formally or informally
  • activities which focus on reading and reading skills
  • opportunities to understand and use academic (tier 2) and subject specific (tier 3) vocabulary
  • homework activities which require reading.

Progression in Reading

  • Pupils move from using texts selected by the teacher to finding their own texts
  • pupils identify and select their own texts rather than using texts selected by the teacher
  • Pupils select texts which demand higher order reading skills rather than simple reading texts which require limited reading skills
  • Pupils use many relevant sources rather than using one source
  • Teacher develops the reading habits of pupils to encompass new authors and challenging texts.

Strategies for supporting reading in the classroom Pre-read the selected text: This is essential in enabling you to spot any problems that your pupils may have accessing the text. Is the text suitable for all your pupils? What are the issues (vocabulary, layout, density of text, etc.)?

Give regular reminders: During any reading activities, remind your pupils about the reading prompts and strategies they can use to access the text.

Create a context: When we read any new text we use our prior knowledge from the texts we have already read and the world around us to help us to make sense of the information. By creating a context using group discussion, diagrams, charts and summaries you help to support learners with limited prior knowledge and 5 experience of reading a wide range of texts.

Model reading skills: This is a crucial strategy and helps to make the skills of effective readers explicit. Modelling reading demystifies the reading process. When modelling reading, share with your pupils what you are doing and thinking as you read. Explore the key features of the text. What do you notice about the text? Is it written in a particular style? What kind of text is it (instructional, descriptive, evaluative, etc.)? Share the reading strategies you are using. What do you do when something doesn’t make sense or you meet a new word or phrase?

Check pupils’ understanding through questioning: It is essential to check that all your pupils understand what they are reading. Try to use a range of questions to check the level of comprehension. What is the text about? What do we learn from reading the text? How can we relate the information in this text to others we have previously read?

Never underestimate the power of talk: Effective collaboration/talk and questioning are essential strategies to help pupils engage with texts. Give pupils opportunities to talk to each other about what they have read. Provide a range of reading opportunities: In order to widen the reading repertoire, it is essential that we provide opportunities for pupils to read a variety of different texts. Use reconstruction and analysis activities: DARTs (Directed Activities Related to Texts) are group and individual activities that encourage pupils to read actively by engaging in reconstruction and analysis activities.

Check the presentation of your own resources: This is particularly important for struggling readers and pupils with dyslexia.

Provide glossaries/displays: Glossaries and displays provide useful support for unfamiliar vocabulary and key words. Try to include a visual representation alongside the selected word definition and provide a context for using the word, e.g. within a sentence.

Reading prompts

  • Sounding out words (using the sounds the letters make in that word)
  • Finding smaller words inside longer ones (es-cape)
  • Using the rest of the sentence to help with a difficult word (to find the meaning)
  • Using other clues on the page to help pupils read accurately (including graphics and pictures)
  • Re-reading the preceding words when stuck (this might mean a word or two, or part of a paragraph)
  • Breaking down longer words. 6 Remember: By explicitly referring to the techniques you use as a successful reader and the strategies and reading prompts that your pupils need to use in order to access a text, you are modelling and reinforcing reading skills.

Strategies deployed to support those who struggle to read at Notre Dame Catholic College

Baseline testing

All students’ reading ages are tested on entry to Year 7 to inform differentiated lesson planning and to decide which students should have additional reading intervention. All students’ progress in reading is measured and monitored throughout the year and students are retested in June.

A baseline reading test and a reading age test at the beginning of Year 7 are followed up by reading assessments in English throughout the year. This enables close monitoring of each student’s progress in reading and allows for appropriate interventions to be put in place by the SENCo or Head of English, if required.

The reading levels and profile of 9 each year group generated by the baseline tests are analysed and the findings presented to, and discussed with, staff. Reading interventions Interventions are put in place for students whose reading is below expectation on entry. Students entering the college with a reading age significantly below that expected of a child their age are given additional opportunities to practice reading in a 1:1 or small group setting with our SENCo or a LSA. Additional reading lessons and literacy lessons have been timetabled in English at Key Stage 3 in order to promote reading for pleasure and to deliver a catch-up literacy programme (designed by SIL) to support students who are struggling because of lost curriculum time due to Covid-19.

  • Identified students between Years 7-11 receive literacy and reading intervention using STAR reader and MYon, an online reading platform that links books to the pupils reading age and supports them in improving their level of reading. This can be accessed in school and at home.
  • Students with cognition and learning needs receive intervention using the Hornet Literacy Primer, a manual for teaching literacy skills with a focus on reading and spelling. The Hornet’s early exercises are concerned with learning the basic phonic sounds of the alphabet code.
  • Students with cognition and learning needs receive intervention using the Word Wasp, which, like the Hornet, is a manual for teaching literacy skills, both reading and spelling. The structured programme is based on phonics and those rules which govern English.