We believe that students have an entitlement to experience a wide range of text throughout their time at Armthorpe Academy, regardless of socio-economic background, SEN status or access to reading books outside the academy. Students at Armthorpe benefit from a daily timetabled session for Reading delivered by every member of teaching staff. During these sessions, all staff are ‘teachers of reading’, where they model the reading process to enhance fluency, comprehension and overtly teach reading strategies to the students in their groups. The texts chosen are deliberately ‘thorny’ (Doug Lemov) to promote students’ resilience and reading stamina, which enable them to access the curriculum more readily and ultimately benefit from in later life. Our texts are intentionally thorny, texts have been chosen based on Lemov’s Reading Reconsidered and Quigley’s Arduous Eight. Throughout each year the students will experience texts that include Archaic language, culturally rich narrative, extracts that lack context development and broken timelines. Many of our texts also supplement the PHSE curriculum and enrich the provision delivered across the academy under the RSHE curriculum 2020. Phase one was the development of a graduated reading intent and whole school commitment to structured reading sessions each day. As part of this we have focussed professional learning specifically on the ‘teaching of reading’. We are currently embedding this phase before we move on to focus on disciplinary literacy. As we begin to move into Phase two, we will begin to implement timely and rigorous interventions, testing and support of our most vulnerable readers.
Our graduated response to reading is detailed below:
A whole school reading curriculum alongside aligned strategies which give students the opportunity for disciplinary reading within each subject area. Where students access these strategies, they read “widely and often” across the curriculum. Teachers use a combination of guided reading which comprises of reading and questioning to check for understanding and Reciprocal Reading is used to enhance students’ ability to predict, clarify pre-loaded vocabulary, question the text and summarise the key points, this all aid comprehension whilst reading and enjoyment.
The COVID pandemic and high infection rates across Doncaster has had a significant impact on students with low reading ages, this was seen quite overtly with the September 2021 Year 7 cohort, where 34% of students had a reading SAS below 74. GL reading ages were used with this cohort for the first time to group appropriately, previously groups had been ‘setted’ across all curriculum areas and there was very little movement as they went through their 5 years at Armthorpe, these sets created sink groups. The class of 2022 and Year current 11 were the first to access wave 2 intervention as they had less access to the reading curriculum, less time to develop their reading processes and a significant amount of Covid isolations in addition to national lockdowns.
We are now at a stage where our graduated response to reading intervention can be heavily informed by data. Every year group that joins us is tested using GL assessments to provide a baseline on entry and again at the end of the academic year. We use this data to inform our interventions and setting across the curriculum.
Where students haven’t made sufficient progress through these provisions, or further testing and interventions are needed we begin to investigate further. This is where the provision works alongside the SEND team to identify students that may have been able to mask or hide throughout primary school.