Reading and Literacy
Reading and literacy are a core part of the pupil experience here at Woodmansterne. We understand that success in this area is linked to high attainment across all subjects, as well as stronger life outcomes and the development of empathy. We aim to foster a love of independent reading in all pupils, creating time and space for young people to develop the habits and skills required to succeed.
Reading across departments
Every department at Woodmansterne takes an active role in the promotion of reading and literacy, from contributing to the collection in our modern library to recommending linked reading at all key stages. Departments also work to embed best literacy practice within their instruction, focussing on relevant areas such as the development of Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary or modelled writing using the visualiser.
In addition, we foster an active tutor time reading programme. Pupils are expected to carry an independent reading book with them at all times and once a week, they engage in independent reading during morning registration. Some forms may decide to listen to an audiobook or another shared texts. Tutors may take their classes to the library as needed to allow pupils to return and check out new material.
Woodmansterne’s secondary library is a bright, modern space run by a dedicated school librarian. The collection is new and ever-expanding, with dedicated sections for every key stage. Pupils are encouraged to request books to be added to the collection and a new order arrives at least once a term. Through carefully auditing, we work to ensure our collection is diverse, reflecting both our local community and broader cultural inclusion.
As Lit in Colour Pioneers, Woodmansterne has collaborated with Penguin and OCR to ensure that we deliver a diverse, representative curriculum and that pupils have access to exciting, modern, inclusive texts in our school library. Nationally, only 1% of all GCSE pupils study a book by a writer of colour so we have worked hard to ensure our programmes of study and library catalogue celebrate authors from all backgrounds. As part of this initiative, our school library received a donation of more than 200 new books by writers from diverse backgrounds.
The library is open and break and lunch to specific year groups to ensure pupils have regular opportunities to read, study and use the ICT resources available to complete home learning. As well as a week of celebration activities for World Book Day and an annual book swap, Woodmansterne pupils have the opportunity to meet authors, participate in book and film clubs and volunteer as library monitors.
Additional reading programmes
Because reading is so foundational to success, we offer a variety of additional reading programmes to keep our pupils engaged. In Years 7 and 8, the school takes part in Book Buzz, a programme created by the Book Trust to ensure all children have their own books. Pupils choose from a selection of new titles by well-known authors and receive a free book to keep in their first term. More details of the programme can be found here: Bookbuzz school reading programme for Year 7 and Year 8 | BookTrust
The English department also supports a Key Stage 3 summer reading programme where every year group is loaned a copy of a shared text to read over the summer. We start the school year with a short series of lessons discussing these texts and exploring how authors use their work to create empathy for all people. The set texts are as follows: Year 6 into Year 7 read ‘Wonder’ by RJ Palacio, Year 7 into Year 8 read ‘Look Both Ways’ by Jason Reynolds, and Year 8 into Year 9 read ‘We Are All Made of Molecules’ by Susin Nielson.
Literacy catch up
We know there are pupils who may require additional support to make good progress in reading and writing. To this end, we work with Bedrock Learning to give our Year 7 and 8 pupils accounts that allow them to develop their vocabulary in a customised, adaptive way as part of their regular home learning in English class. Furthermore, identified pupils may also receive specific intervention, including small group reading instruction with a trained member of staff.
Find out more about Bedrock by clicking the links below: