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Reading, Literacy & Oracy Curriculum

Regular Diagnostic Assessment

Through English, Literacy and Inclusion, a range of diagnostic assessments are regularly conducted to track student progress and to determine where additional intervention is required. The range of assessments include:
• CATs tests
• Spelling tests
• Baseline reading comprehension and writing tests (school-devised)
• Reading age (comprehension, speed and accuracy) test NARA- Neale Analysis of Reading Ability (delivered by teachers in person)
• WRAT 5 -Wide Range Achievement Test, 5th Edition – single word reading test
• Regular in-class quality-marked assessments (QMAs)
• GL Assessments (NGRT – New Group Reading Test) – twice annually to check progression against national averages (online test)
• CTOPP Processing test
• DRA Diagnostic Reading Assessment
• DASH handwriting assessment

English Schemes of Work

All KS3 Schemes of Work in English are all based around specific texts and expanding students’ experience of reading. At KS4, some units are based around specific texts for one of the literature papers, and some are based around a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts of the type used in language exam papers. Throughout their time at Culcheth, students are explicitly taught a range of reading strategies and encouraged to appreciate great literature and quality writing.

English Homework Schedule (Extended Reading)

The English homework schedule covers a range of skills from accurate punctuation and grammar to comprehension and writing skills. At the centre of the English homework schedule is an innovative programme of weekly reading, which includes online texts and video /audio of teachers reading the text, so that students can follow along with the teacher if they wish; it is based on a diverse range of engaging texts. Students’ understanding is tested through regular quizzes set on Google forms through Google Classroom. Running alongside this, there is a programme of comprehension homeworks, which requires students to read a wide variety of other texts, ranging through famous speeches, articles, autobiographies, biographical writing, fiction extracts. There are also regular proof-reading activities to focus students on the fine detail of the texts they read.

Drop Everything and Listen (DEAL)

Every fortnight, students in KS3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)‘Drop Everything and Listen’ to their English teachers act as role models by reading a range of challenging, diverse, engaging and often topical texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to their classes. These texts can be listened to for pleasure, to be informed, to be challenged or to stimulate further debate of discussion. The texts are specifically chosen to match the theme of the year: Antagonists (Y7), Morality (Y8) and Principles (Y9).

ILC Lessons and extra-curricular time

Every fortnight, students in Y7 and Y8 have ILC/Library lessons, where they learn about the Dewey Decimal system of classification, how to effectively use contents pages and indexes to locate information, and how to order books, as a series of starters. Each lesson is then based around ‘DEAL’ (see above). Students, of course, have time to change their books to promote a love of reading.

The ILC is available at break and lunch times for students to read, change books, order books and study. The librarian is always available to support. A reading ‘loyalty card’ system is in operation, which rewards students for the books they read.

The Literacy Intervention Programme

Students are selected for the literacy intervention programme based on careful consideration of KS2 levels, CAT scores, baseline assessments and individual educational needs.

The literacy intervention programme runs through Years Seven, Eight and Nine. There are approximately 35 students each year who join the programme. Students have two hours of literacy a week in addition to English (three lessons a fortnight in Y9). Like the English curriculum, the literacy intervention programme is also structured around a sequence of carefully chosen texts that are linked to, and support, learning in English. Literacy intervention sessions are heavily staffed with well-qualified teachers and teaching assistants to allow for more individualised support and intervention. In each year, there are two literacy intervention pathways: Standard Literacy and Intensive Literacy.

Individual Literacy Plans and Cross-Curricular Monitoring of Students on the Literacy Intervention Programme

Every student on the literacy Intervention Programme has an Individual Literacy Plan containing a range of useful information and strategies to help the student. Teachers access these ILPs through Classcharts.

Cross-curricular monitoring, including lesson drop-ins, student voice interviews, staff voice interviews, and work scrutiny, is carried out every year. The purpose is to raise the profile of the literacy intervention students, to constantly evolve and improve provision for them, to track what provision is being made to meet their needs across all subjects, and to assess how they are working.

KS4 Orange Pathway

Students following the orange options pathway complete the functional skills in English course comprising speaking and listening, reading and writing elements. The course consists of a series of themed units designed to support and develop students’ English development. Students can achieve a gold or a silver award.

Literacy Intervention for Pupil Premium Students (Including Y7 Reading Group)

During registration time, students in receipt of Pupil Premium funding are enrolled on a range of English and maths focused interventions to support their progress. Intensive literacy intervention, based on phonics, is also offered to those students who struggle the most. There is also a reading group for struggling readers.

After-School Pre-Learning Sessions (for Students with Dyslexia, and Others)

Two regular sessions (one hour after school on Mondays for Year 11 and one hour after school on Thursdays for Year 10) for around 20 students with dyslexia (some also with visual stress or other barriers to reading) run each week, after the programme was set up in the academic year 2021-22. The sessions focus around pre-learning, where students will explore the learning materials soon to be encountered in class, and are approximately two weeks ahead of the English curriculum. Research suggests that this method of pre-learning enables students to process information in the lesson more effectively, increases confidence and reduces frustration. The programme also includes work on skills that benefit students with dyslexia and / or visual stress such as spelling of key words, visual discrimination, and tracking work.

An example from the scheme of work:

Whole-School Oracy

Effective oracy skills are promoted enthusiastically in CHS. Research-based, whole-school oracy resources and classroom tools have been developed and disseminated. A number of whole-staff training / CPD sessions have run. Staff are required to submit evidence of how oracy has been used effectively in their classroom twice each year.

Reading Displays

A set of custom-designed posters, developed in collaboration with all staff, displayed in every single classroom, to promote the consistent teaching of reading strategies across all subjects. The CPD programme promotes and supports the effective deployment of these strategies across the curriculum.

Peer Reading Sessions (Y10 for Y7)

Once a week, Y7 students who would benefit from some support to increase their confidence with reading are paired up with a Y10 mentor who models good reading for them, listens to them read, helping where required, and asks questions to check comprehension. From November 2023, 16 Y7 students will be mentored by 18 Y10 students.

Y9 Cross-Curricular Reading Anthology – Weekly Reading Homework Programme

Every week. Students in year nine are set a challenging and enriching text to read for homework. This is followed by a brief quiz. Each week a different subject area sets the text and the quiz. Texts are designed to elevate students beyond the curriculum, whilst complimenting it, and enrich students’ experience in a range of disciplines.

Silver Stories

Wonderfully simple but with the most incredibly positive impact for both Silver Listeners and Silver Readers. Children (known as Silver Readers) telephone a Silver Listener every week and then read a short story or poem to them. This not only helps the children to become more confident in their reading skills but also links our children to the older members of our communities and helps diminish their chances of feeling isolated.

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