One of our most important priorities is to improve the literacy of all our students. Research indicates that there’s a strong correlation between high literacy levels and academic achievement – and, interestingly, the likelihood of leading a happy and fulfilled life.
Many children leave primary school with fairly proficient reading skills. However, reading as a life skill requires so much more than this. Today’s curriculum requires students to be able to access increasingly complex texts as a means of achieving qualifications in a variety of subject areas. We also take every opportunity to celebrate and promote reading for pleasure – students have the opportunity to read weekly with our D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) sessions.
The focus on reading during 2018-19 had a fantastic impact on the reading ages and ability of students at Carleton. Year 7 and 8 students saw their reading ages shoot up in months, and even years, much faster than ever before, with Year 7 on average making almost 12 months progress in 7 months, and Year 8 making 14 months progress in 7 months! We're thrilled with the impact of DEAR, Accelerated Reader, Lexia, and the overall focus as a school on the importance of reading.
2019-20 now extends the use of Accelerated Reader into Year 9, continuing all the strategies from before, but also 'Diamond Literacy' lessons for students in Year 7 and 8 who need a little more support with reading, utilising Ruth Miskin’s Fresh Start programme, as well Lexia and grammar work in small groups. We're seeing great gains with this carefully targeted Diamond Literacy programme.
Many children leave primary school with fairly proficient reading skills. However, reading as a life skill requires so much more than this. Today’s curriculum requires students to be able to access increasingly complex texts as a means of achieving qualifications in a variety of subject areas. We also take every opportunity to celebrate and promote reading for pleasure – students have the opportunity to read weekly with our D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) sessions, every week in KS3 with library Accelerated Reader lessons, and most days at form time.
Accelerated Reader (AR)
To further promote reading for pleasure, all students in years 7 and 8 are enrolled on a programme called Accelerated Reader (AR). Pupils must read within their Book Level Range, which is set by termly reading tests. Their book range is called a ZPD, short for Zone of Proximal Development, designed to be just at the right level that is both accessible, and challenging enough to improve their reading ability. All books in the school library are marked with a ZPD range, but students can also find out the ZPD range of books from home.
Students are expected to read for 20 minutes each evening to meet their minimum reading target. When a student finishes a book, they complete a short quiz on it, to prove they’ve read it carefully. If they pass this quiz they receive points for the book based on the number of words read.
The quizzes should be done in school, and students have time in English lessons once a week to do this. At times, they can be completed online at home by visiting https://ukhosted93.renlearn.co.uk/2250431
The minimum target each year is to read 12 books and pass 12 quizzes (4 per term) but most students quickly surpass this. Reading books for AR is as important as any other kind of homework, and students may face detention if they don’t do it.
Carleton High school also has a fantastic library. It includes:
Fiction: we offer an extensive and growing collection of fiction books, suitable for all ages, abilities and tastes. We also have an extensive collection of easy reads.
Non-fiction: we stock a wide range of information books to support research, assist homework tasks and allow students to pursue their own interests.
Magazines: we subscribe to several magazines.
Computers: in the library we have a banks of computers. Students can use these during lessons or to complete homework at break times and after school.
Students are expected to have a reading book with them at all times while they’re in school. They can borrow most library books for a month at a time, and our librarian is always willing to help students find books they’ll enjoy or which will help them to improve their literacy. We do keep the library as a silent reading and working zone; there are lots of places in school to be sociable, but the library is about quiet study and reading – blissful peace and quiet!