The Buddy Reading Scheme is an approach to supporting and encouraging reading that has been implemented for several years at Bishopshalt School. It involves ‘pairing’ younger readers at KS3 with older, more experienced students in KS5.
School based research has been undertaken by the English KS3 Coordinator to investigate the effectiveness of this approach in relation to the pupils’ motivation and engagement. Results prove it to be a positive scheme with changes being made to refresh the programme every year.
Every half term there is a literacy focus across the whole school. The objective is to ensure that students grasp the importance of literacy across all subjects. As exams become more focused on the need to write clearly and accurately, this is something all teachers aim to promote as much as possible.
Each class has a poster that demonstrates the literacy focus for that half term, and teachers aim to refer to that as much as possible. This year, the literacy foci are as follows:
- Autumn 1 – SPAG (Spelling, punctuation and grammar)
- Autumn 2 – Apostrophes for possession
- Spring 1 – Correcting your spellings
- Spring 2 – Using subject terminology
- Summer 1 – Asking questions
- Summer 2 – Green pen to correct mistakes
Within each class is literacy poster that details the marking symbols that all follow. This is to ensure a consistent approach by teachers and students when marking pieces of work. It is used in teacher, peer and self-assessments.
DEAR – an acronym for ‘Drop Everything And Read’ – is an initiative that promotes reading across the school. For KS3, there is one lesson a day which begins with students reading for 10 minutes; in English lessons for KS3 and KS4, this takes place in every lesson. Teachers also aim to do the same to model good practice for the students. This promotes a positive aspect to reading so that they enjoy it; at the same time it creates a relaxed and calming start to the lesson, which allows them to develop a focus. It has proved immensely successful, with more books being borrowed from the library than ever before.
Within KS3 English, students have one library lesson a fortnight. Here, they explore particular elements in regards to reading; this ranges from exploring genre and themes in novels, to learning new vocabulary and creating character profiles and book reviews. During Year 7 and Year 8 library lessons, there is also the opportunity to take tests on books they have read via Accelerated Reader.
For Year 7 and Year 8 (and in September 2016 for Year 9), Accelerated Reader is a programme that monitors and tests students in their reading skills. Once a book has been completed, and if it is on the growing library on the website, students can test their comprehension, understanding and spelling. It also helps to guide students as to what book they should be reading, matching books to their reading age. Their results are printed out and kept in their Accelerated reader folder, which is with their English teacher.
For more information, please see their website: renlearn.co.uk
Used as starter activities in English lessons throughout KS3, Jumpstart Literacy focuses on developing the core mechanics of writing through the application of key skills. This includes:
- Correct use of punctuation
- Understanding different parts of language
These are added to consistently; at the moment we have over 60 slides of activities.