Reading at Abbot’s Lea School

Reading Provision at Abbot’s Lea School

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”

Roald Dahl


At Abbot’s Lea School we see learning to read as every student’s right. Whilst many of our students face barriers in the process of learning to read, it is our duty to support learners to overcome those barriers and to learn to decode and understand the written word. We also see it as our duty to inspire our learners to see the value in reading. Many learners will need to support in finding a genre, author or style of writing from which they can derive pleasure and it is our job to do just that, whilst broadening learners’ interests and exposing them to new literature.


Early Reading

All staff delivering or supporting the delivery of early phonics are fully trained. We follow the Phonics Bug programme which is validated by the DfE. All students have access to Phonics Bug resources in physical format and online. This means that access is fully enabled if and when learners need to learn remotely. As per our reading protocol, all students will be listened to reading by an adult at least three times a week.

Those students who can access the KS2 phonics screening do so. For those students who cannot access these national tests, due to age or ability are screened for phonics and progress is tracked from the beginning to the end of the year internally.

Students above Key Stage 2 are also screened because many (especially if they have gaps in their education) have missing knowledge of certain sounds. Where this is the case phonics interventions take place

Miss Kate Last supports KSLs with leading on reading and supports further events for students, staff and families.

For learners who have passed the “phonics” stage of reading, a valued emphasis is still placed on reading. The school has invested heavily into different genres of books including books with easier decodable words and older content.

At this level all students have their reading progress tracked in two ways:

  • Book bands
  • NGRT reading age tests where students are able to access these

All students are screened annually for visual stress to ensure that this is not a barrier to reading. All staff know which of their learners struggle with reading and for these learners, interventions in place. These interventions are measured and adjustments made where necessary.

In KS4, DEAR has been introduced weekly upon which students create a newsletter for the school based on interesting articles they have read. This has helped with student engagement, progress and enjoyment.

The English curriculum is based around texts, but we have chosen not to follow a specific scheme of work which decides the text for the class, as we were concerned this could, for some students decrease engagement. A system has been put in place on Evidence for Learning to ensure that all texts studied are marked against a student’s profile so that they do not repeat the same text during their time here.

Reading for pleasure

In choosing which awareness days we celebrate, an emphasis is put on promoting reading for pleasure. The school celebrates world book day and extends this to a week, but we are careful that there is more to this day then simply being a fancy dress day. Students study authors, meet authors and this year, created book boxes. We surveyed students as to their favourite genres and based on the results, led a “anime” workshop on World Book Day.

A library was developed 18 months ago and all students visit the library at least weekly. Students report to enjoy this. Library monitors are in place, so that those with a particular love of reading get the opportunity to put this love into practice in a way that gives them responsibility.


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