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English - Texts put to the test

What it's all about

At our community academy in Basingstoke, some children arrive with reading levels below the national average, so we needed a reading intervention scheme. But it had to be an effective assessment system that would not put them on the spot in front of their peers, writes Julie Rose.

Our pupils in Years 7-10 (P7-S3) spend 25 minutes a day reading with their form tutor, with an extra 30 minutes spent reading on their own. We back this up with Accelerated Reader software, which quizzes the pupils on the title they have read, calculates whether they have read the whole book and understood it, and gives teachers vital information about what level the pupils have reached.

A pupil who has read one of the Harry Potter titles or a book from the Time Riders series by Alex Scarrow might be asked 10 questions about the main plot. These quizzes have encouraged our pupils to read. The biggest motivator is successfully passing the quiz, but Accelerated Reader also has built-in reward systems, including "100 per cent" boards and a word millionaires' club for pupils who have read more than a million words.

We now have an extremely positive reading culture. Our pupils have read 1,900 books in the past five weeks - more than 1.5 million words a day. And assessment results over the past year show that Year 7 pupils have improved by nine months, Year 8 by 15 months and Year 9 by 11 months.

What else?

Encourage pupils to become passionate readers with mirrymir's reading journals. bit.lyReadingJournal

Or use Miss_s_k's reading skills lesson to turn pupils into successful readers. bit.lyReadingSuccess.

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