The importance of reading for our students cannot be underestimated and is a priority at The Holgate Academy. It benefits students in many ways including:

  • Strong reading skills improve students’ academic attainment across all subjects.
  • Reading can benefit employment and career prospects by giving students a better vocabulary, sparking creativity, reducing stress and fostering empathy.
  • Reading is great for well-being. Focusing on a book and the methodical turning of pages helps students to switch off from the stresses of daily life. It is proven that reading makes you calmer.
  • Reading helps to improve concentration levels, and helps students to gain a deeper understanding of the wider world.

Assessment of reading and intervention

Students are assessed at least three times a year to track their progress in reading. We want to know that students are making progress and developing their reading strategies so that they can access the demands of the curriculum with confidence.

Renaissance Star Reading is a complete online assessment of students’ reading growth which identifies the skills each student needs to focus on to improve their scores.

For students that require additional intervention to close attainment gaps, we use the following interventions:

  • Individual Star Reader focus skills
  • In-class support by teachers
  • Fresh Start intervention (decoding, fluency, comprehension)
  • Fluency reading practice with our librarian

Reading for pleasure and knowledge

We have a well-resourced library with a qualified librarian to support and advise students on their choice of books.

Key Stage 3 students have fortnightly library lessons that focus on reading for pleasure. In these lessons, the librarian promotes new and established authors to extend students’ knowledge of a wide range of genres, content and styles of writing.

In library lessons, students listen to their teacher reading a novel to them as they follow with their copy. Listening to an adult, expert reader helps to improve comprehension, imagination, and exposes students to a calm and enjoyable reading experience.

Texts delivered in English lessons are selected to ensure that students are exposed to literary heritage literature, as well as contemporary literature by new authors, to broaden their knowledge of the world.

Renaissance summer reading – A free online service delivering age-appropriate digital news articles for students, reporting on timely topics and current events. Articles include engaging multi-media – video, slideshows and photo galleries – to help students better understand the news.

Click on this link for free log-in details: Renaissance MyON Log On Details

Reading across the curriculum

All teachers understand that vocabulary is key to reading comprehension. As students learn to read more advanced texts, they are explicitly taught the meaning of new words that are not part of their everyday vocabulary.

Vocabulary can be divided into 3 tiers:

Tier 1 – high frequency in spoken language (table, slowly, write, horrible)

Tier 2 – high frequency in written texts (gregarious, beneficial, required, maintain)

Tier 3 – subject specific, academic language (osmosis, trigonometry, onomatopoeia)

In lessons, or in tutor time, teachers model reading strategies to teach students how to navigate texts more confidently. For example:

  • highlighting or underlining key vocabulary, phrases, or sections of text
  • clarifying the meaning of new and unfamiliar vocabulary
  • annotating texts to model interpretation
  • note making to summarise meaning
  • using questioning to check understanding of independent reading

‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’