Reading is the foundation upon which all subject knowledge in schools is laid. If a pupil cannot read well, they cannot access content, engage with worksheets and resources, understand, and use subject specific vocabulary, cannot answer exam papers.
Building reading literacy is the role of every teacher and must not be pigeonholed as solely the responsibility of an English teacher. With this in mind, everybody reads and all teachers teach children to read. We do this in Learning for Life time in the following way.
There are two designated 'Everybody Reading' slots in Learning for Life lessons every week. These are non-negotiable and are delivered using a scheme of learning that is provided for staff.
At these times, each form tutor (in Yrs 7-10) follows a scheme of learning designed for their year group and reads fiction novels that have been selected by the English Department in consultation with the Deputy Principal.
The scheme of learning offers specifics of points to read to within a book, questions to ask and guidance on reciprocal reading strategies that are expected to be used when reading the novels.
Pupils follow along the reading with their own copy of the book being read.
At appropriate points in a scheme of learning, staff deliver and discuss non-fiction texts that complement the novel being read.
The non-fiction texts build cultural capital and add breadth to the curriculum.
Engaging in the Everybody Reading sessions help pupils to develop reading comprehension, build vocabulary and enhance their social and emotional experiences. In being read to, pupils learn how to use language to make sense of the world; it improves their information processing skills, vocabulary, and comprehension. Research has shown that teachers who read aloud motivate pupils to read.
Teachers in every classroom teach reading comprehension almost every day. In almost every school setting, pupils work with text. One of the most powerful tools a teacher can use when teaching literacy is to read aloud to pupils on a regular basis.
The reading comprehension benefits are that pupils learn how to read by reading but they learn how to read fluently by listening to fluent readers. Whilst Accelerated Reader is used extensively and shown to have a very positive impact at Penwortham Priory Academy, if pupils' only encounters with reading are solitary, they may not comprehend anything beyond literal facts. Hearing a story, however, lets children focus on its flow. They are free from wrestling with words they do not understand and can instead engage the material more emotionally.
One of the key academic benefits of reading aloud to pupils is that it stimulates curiosity. Reading fiction or non-fiction about a concept or historic incident is likely to pique pupils' interest.
Reading aloud can make new topics and issues accessible in a way that focuses on the information, not on their reading ability. Pupils being read to helps them make sense of new materials and connect new information to their schemata.
Since a substantial amount of teaching reading comprehension involves vocabulary acquisition, reading aloud can introduce Tier 2 and Tier 3 words to pupils who may not have heard them before. When they hear words for the first time in a casual setting, pupils can ask questions, receive answers and participate in conversations.
The independent reading level of many pupils may lag behind their comprehension of advanced vocabulary and concepts. They may not be able to recognise words and read them on their own, but they have no problem understanding what the text says. By hearing more advanced texts read aloud, pupils gain access to information that interests them but may be beyond their reading level.
Research is clear about the social-emotional benefits of reading aloud, especially at the infant and pre-school levels. However, the same is true for other ages as well, including high-school and college classrooms: reading aloud gives pupils a sense of comfort and acceptance.