The link between reading and success is not always immediately clear to young people. However, the National Literacy Trust suggests that 92% of the British public believe that literacy is essential for getting a good job and indeed, vital for the economy. This stat shows how our children’s future employers feel about being able to read, write and speak with cohesion, confidence and an understanding of cultures and society. It is important and at FCC we take it very seriously.
The first approach to making reading more accessible to students is to ensure there are times in the week that they only read. We call this Morning Reading. Twice every week, tutors and tutees read the same book, out loud, together. In the Autumn term, the tutor models how to read aloud. In the Spring and Summer terms, students take over the reading. All books that are read are taken from our FCC Canon. The Canon is a list of 50 books we want every child to experience through their school career.
The second approach is to link reading with learning new and important vocabulary. Exposing students to these words through reading aloud gives them a taste of the word but they then need to practice and recall it many times over, and in different scenarios. This happens across lessons and we are in the process of creating a brand new resource that students and parents can interact with that will show all the key words children will need to know across each Key Stage and subject.
The best thing parents can do is to read with their children, right up into Key Stage 3. We have included some Top Tips to help make reading become part of all children’s daily diets at FCC and at home.
These two initiatives work alongside what teachers do every lesson, as they ask students to read aloud in lessons. These, coupled with a recent Oxford University study linking reading for pleasure to improved chances of attending university and gaining higher paid careers, emphasises the need for our students to engage in a positive reading ethos.
To support students who struggle with reading, we are continuing to use Accelerated Reader with our Year 7s. This aims to improve reading ages by as much as twenty-four months in one school year. Please contact our librarian Mr Simon Thraves for more information on AR.