LPA Reads – A Reading Programme
We have an opportunity presented to us by the DFE Recovery Premium to have a long lasting impact on the culture of reading in our schools. We want for our children to become fluent, independent readers who have confidence in their reading ability and have developed good reading habits, enabling them to read widely outside of school. We know that there are clear links between children who read independently and their academic outcomes.
‘Reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status’. OECD 2002
Cultural Literacy: What every American needs to know. E.D. Hirsch
Limited reading ability for some of our children means that they are unlikely to be able to access some of the texts that we might consider important cultural capital for all of our children, for example Great Expectations or I am Malala (both have a reading age of 13). Nationally 25% of 15 year olds have a reading age of below 12, so many of our pupils couldn’t easily access these books independently.
Dickens wrote Great Expectations and other novels as an important comment on society, and the books were not meant to be exclusive. By reading these books aloud we allow all of our children in. We shoulder the burden of the fluency and pronunciation and intonation and grammar, and we open the door.
We have drawn upon a number of studies and research to determine how best to add the most impact for our pupils:
‘In listening to and following a text read aloud by a more capable reader, who provides scaffolding, a less fluent reader can experience autonomy and fluency and bypass frustrating ‘sticking points’ at phonemic, semantic or word level to focus on comprehension.’
Wood et al 1976, Kuhn et al 2010
‘Reading a text aloud creates a community of readers who produce their own situated reading practices in the classroom over time’
Brown et al 1989, Sutherland 2015
Participation in shared reading groups is linked to enhanced relaxation, calmness, concentration, quality of life, confidence and self-esteem, as well as feelings of shared community and common purpose.
[Longden E., Davis P., Billington J., et al (2015) Shared Reading: Assessing the intrinsic value of a literature-based intervention Medical Humanities
This programme was further refined following review of similar programmes which recorded the following outcomes:
Analysis by Kirsch comparing the engaged reading time of 2.2 million students found that –
- 0-5 mins per day = well below national average
- 5-14 mins per day = sluggish gains, below national average
- 15+ mins = accelerated reading gains
20 mins per day = likely score better than 90% of their peers on standardized tests. National Center for Education Statistics
‘Simply reading challenging, complex novels aloud and at a fast pace in each lesson repositioned ‘poor’ readers as ‘good’ readers, giving them a more engaged, uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period. In 12 weeks students made 8.5 months progress, but poorer readers made 16 months progress’. Westbrook 2019 – Just Reading: The impact of a faster pace of reading narratives on the comprehension of poorer adolescent readers in English classrooms
We also listened to educators who had done similar projects in their schools, Joanne Tiplady who is Trust Curriculum Research Lead at TEAL Trust wrote a great blog which influenced us greatly, and Alex Quigley’s book ‘The Reading Gap’ covers some of the brilliant work done around the country and lessons they learned, from which we were able to benefit.
The Result – LPA Reads
We determined that we would make space for 20 minutes in the day with tutors for them to read aloud to their tutor group. This must be every day.
Books would be chosen to be age appropriate but challenging – they should not be something a student could easily access independently, that would be missing the point – this is about access to something otherwise difficult to engage in without adult support.
The adult would read at pace. No child must be asked to read, the adult must shoulder the burden of the fluency of the reading.
‘We climb into the story together’.
Books have been chosen by a wide range of stakeholders in the Trust, the English subject community, the Equality, diversity and Inclusion group, the principals and senior leaders in schools and the Trust central team, including Trustees. There have been fierce debates and discussions with a clear focus on breadth of coverage, appropriate levels of challenge, diversity and ultimately that they are all powerful examples of literature which students wouldn’t necessarily be able to access independently.
Asha and The Spirit Bird
The Iliad And Odyssey
No Ballet Shoes in Syria
Noughts and Crosses
I Am Malala
All Quiet on The Western Front
Lord Of the Flies
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The great Gatsby
Things Fall Apart
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The Midnight Library
Joanne Tiplady – TEAL Trust https://researchschool.org.uk/greenshaw/news/making-word-rich-readers
Greenshaw Trust https://learn.teachfirst.org.uk
Westbrook, Sutherland et al. https://www.theconfidentteacher.com/2020/10/do-we-need-to-sort-out-silent-reading/