Our vision is to equip students with the reading skills necessary to thrive in the world beyond school and for them to leave Ryedale School with a life-long love of reading.
It is well documented that being able to read fluently and choosing to read for enjoyment are vital not only for academic progress but also for general mental well—being and engagement. Being able to read fluently is the cornerstone of a school curriculum, so at Ryedale School we support our students in working hard to improve their reading skills and in developing their curiosity about the world around them through reading for pleasure.
Nationally, around 20% of students leave primary school unable to read fluently and accurately to decode words, and one in six adults in England have very poor literacy skills. We want Ryedale School pupils to be equipped with the confidence in reading to thrive in the world beyond school and for them to leave Ryedale School with a Iife-long love of the written word.
At Ryedale School our approach to reading is underpinned by four key values:
Enjoyment, Comprehension, Fluency, Vocabulary
“There is strong evidence linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes. We know that academic attainment is of vital importance, but the benefits of reading for pleasure go beyond this and stretch throughout a person's life.” The Reading Agency
Students are encouraged and supported in reading for pleasure in form time, in English lessons and at home; we value very highly the role of parents in supporting and encouraging their children’s reading habits.
It is the school expectation that students will have a book with them and reading takes place during form time, the starts of lessons and is encouraged during social time too. Teachers are encouraged to share reading with their form with activities such as whole class reading or discussions about recently read books, and the library regularly runs reading challenges and competitions. There are also whole-school events such as the Readathon, Year 7 Ghost Story Walk and National Poetry Day that helps to promote enjoyment in reading.
We then have reading trees, peer recommendations, online catalogue and a very knowledgeable librarian to help pupils find their perfect book.
Comprehension and Fluency
All teachers at Ryedale School are responsible for teaching reading skills and our approach to this is based on the guidance from the EEF’s Guidance report “Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools” and on Oxford School Improvement, “Building an Outstanding Reading School” 2017.
The English department is at the forefront of developing good comprehension and fluency. Reading skills are developed in English lessons using the strategy below:
- Prediction-students use their prior knowledge to make predictions about what they are about to read.
- Modelling- the teacher reads a section of text aloud to model fluency and to ensure students understand what they are reading
- Structured Practice- students read a specified section of text either silently and independently or aloud.
- Development- students are required to think hard about what they have read: for example by making inferences or thinking about the language.
- Summarising – students are asked to consolidate what they have read by summarising it either verbally or as a written task.
We are currently working on developing a similar approach for reading in the school as a whole where the skill to comprehend, and then fluently analyse and interpret a text, is specifically taught within each context.
“Regardless of the causes, low levels of vocabulary set limits on literacy, understanding, learning the curriculum and can create a downward spiral of poor language which begins to affect all aspects of life.”
Kate Nation, Professor of Experimental Psychology,University of Oxford
As a school, we are developing a cohesive approach to the teaching of vocabulary that accounts for the overlapping terminology found in many subjects, often with differing applications. We believe an understanding of the etymology and a link to other uses of the word strengthens the knowledge of this vocabulary and promotes the effective learning and use of it in the future.