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Reading and Literacy

Every child at Park High School will be taught to read with fluency and understanding. All children will develop the skills and confidence to read increasingly challenging texts independently in order to support them in all aspects of their curriculum. Vocabulary is explicitly and systematically taught to enable students to understand the relationships between words and nuances of meaning. A wide vocabulary will empower students to articulate their thoughts, emotions and ideas effectively as well as enabling them to engage more deeply with the written and spoken word.

The KS3 reading and literacy curriculum builds on the knowledge and skills developed in KS2 to allow students to become increasingly sophisticated communicators with a comprehensive grasp of grammatical terminology and the ability to apply this knowledge to their own writing.

“Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually… All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.”

For students who need additional support with reading skills we offer three different interventions, depending on the needs of each student. All of these interventions not only help students to be better readers, but also aim to help them to enjoy reading more.

Lexonik Leap helps students who need some additional help with phonics, the sounds of letters. In this intervention, each student is assessed individually and the support is focused solely on the area or areas where they have a gap in their knowledge. Students work individually with the teacher for short periods of time (15-20 minutes) 3-4 times per week until they have mastered the content. Students who have completed Leap will probably move into one of the other two interventions, Lexonik Advance and/or guided reading groups.

Lexonik Advance helps to build student fluency and vocabulary skills. Fluency is the ability to read at an appropriate pace, with expression, and pauses in the right places. This programme is taught in groups of 4 students, once a week for 7 weeks. Students are assessed at the beginning and end of this course. Some students who complete the Advance programme will then move into a guided reading group.

Guided reading groups focus on reading comprehension skills and serve students in KS3 (Years 7-9) only. There are 15 different reading strategies that we help students to learn and use in reading groups. These groups are limited to 8 students and meet twice a week for the whole school year. When students graduate out of reading groups, they are not only reading at or above their age, but also have the necessary skills to work towards understanding when they come across more difficult texts.

ʻStories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories, we wouldnʼt be human beings at all.ʼ Philip Pullman, author of the books recently made into the BBC series ʻHis Dark Materialsʼ.