A specialist School for Art, Media and English

Reading at Patcham High

Why is reading important?

The written word is everywhere. Reading is a fundamental skill which is increasingly needed in almost every sphere of life. Reading skills are essential for an individual to take an active part in today’s society.  Reading skills improve your life chances.  In essence, acquiring the ability to read is a basic requirement for the social and economic demands of 21st century society.

Proficiency in reading is one of the principal goals of schooling  and also one of the principal means of learning.  Reading is defined as the ability to understand, use and reflect on written language forms in order to achieve personal and social fulfillment.  It is, as Pierre (1992) describes, ‘the relationship (we) develop with the written word’.  At Patcham High, we want all of our students to have a strong relationship with the written word. 

What’s the difference between learning to read and reading to learn?

There is a distinction between ‘being able to read’ and ‘being a reader’.  Students who have learned to read can employ this complex skill when they begin the process of ‘reading to learn’. 

Pupils use their reading abilities to learn other skills in every subject across the curriculum.  This is why we place such a high emphasis upon reading and why we want to encourage every pupil, of all ages and all abilities, to read widely and for pleasure.  Reading underpins learning. 

What is the school doing to ensure my child develops as a reader?

Patcham High School is committed to reading. We want all of our students to become confident readers and develop strong reading habits. In order to achieve this, Patcham High School dedicates 15 minutes of the daily school timetable to reading. Every day at 11.10am, all students and all staff stop and read.  Our Drop Everything And Read programme requires all students and staff to read a book of their choice from the library.

Every student has a reading target that is reviewed termly (every 12 weeks).  When a book is completed, students take a quiz to check how well they have understood various aspects of the writing. It is vital that students take a quiz quickly so that they remember what they have just read.  Success in quizzes gives immediate feedback to both tutor and child.  It tells both parties that books are appropriate for reading ability. Tutors support reading during Friday ‘book talk’ when they review progress against targets set.

What can I do support my child at home?

As students progress through school they are faced with increasingly demanding reading comprehension tasks in all subject areas. 

To support your child and encourage positive reading habits it is recommended that parents and carers do the following: discuss books together; read the same book alongside your child; ask lots of questions about the books; ask your child to recall and summarise the story so that they realise there is a structure; encourage reading about topics your child is already familiar with.  Finally, read some teenage fiction and become familiar with what’s current.

Reading communities can be any size; it’s talking about the book that matters most.

Mark Warner