Ways to support reading at home

With the evidence on the impact of reading demonstrating how overwhelmingly important it is to ensure our students can read proficiently by the time they leave WHS, it is vitally important that we have home support in this too.

Please find below a number of strategies you can use at home to develop your child’s reading skills:

- find the time to read with and to your child – this only needs to be 10 minutes per day. This is absolutely the most important suggestion on this list. It will help you to know first-hand your child’s reading ability and attitude to reading. It will tell them you value reading. It will give you both time to spend together (so precious in these busy lives we have!). It will give your child an interested ear. It gives you an opportunity to praise and advise. It will also give you time to read!

- ask them about what they are reading during tutor time. Find out what the characters are like, what’s happened so far (recapping skills are important for reading comprehension), what they think might happen next, whether they are enjoying it or not (and why), what it is like in comparison to other things they’re reading about etc.

buy them a book that you think is ‘too grown up for them’ – children often like to feel they are being trusted with something that is more grown up than they are! Choose carefully though!!

talk to them about your own feelings about reading. Do you enjoy it? What are you currently reading? Do you wish you were better at reading? Why? How is reading important for your job? Etc…

put the subtitles on when you watch TV. Studies have shown that this simply act can double your chances of becoming a good reader.

- invest in books – charity shops are treasure troves for cheap books, often selling at only 50p per book!

join the local library and take short trips there together.

- subscribe to online book platforms like Audible, Borrow Box, Kindle etc – use technology to help your child feel reading is accessible for them. Audiobooks are a great way to get kids ‘reading’ without them needing a physical book in their hand (although this helps!).


Literacy at Withernsea High School

Facts and figures:

Reading has become the subject of many studies in recent years, as the link between a child’s ability to and enjoyment of reading and their academic success and future achievements continues to grow. Please see the following sites and documents for more detail and information about the link between reading and achievement and life chances.

Read On. Get On, National Literacy Trust, 2014

The impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment, The Reading Agency, 2015

The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy, World Literacy Foundation, 2015

Literacy Changes Lives, National Literacy Trust, 2014

In summary of some of the information contained in the documents above, here is a list of some of the more profound and important facts and figures relating to the link between reading and achievement and life chances.

• 1 in 5 children leave primary school unable to read at age related standards (National Literacy Trust, 2014)

• 25% of students aged 15 have a reading age of 12 or below. (GL Assessment 2020)

• At least one in six adults in the UK has a literacy level which is below that expected of an 11-year-old. (National Literacy Trust, 2014)

• 63% of men and 75% of women with very low literacy skills have never received a promotion (National Literacy Trust, 2008)

• 37% of businesses are dissatisfied with young people’s literacy skills and use of English. (Inspiring Growth: CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey, 2015)

• Poorer physical health and mental wellbeing are associated with poor literacy. (National Literacy Trust, 2008)

• An illiterate adult will earn at least 30 per cent less than someone who can read. (World Literacy Foundation, 2012)

• Illiteracy costs the UK £81billion per year, through lost earnings, government welfare and health care. (World Literacy Foundation, 2012)

• Readers need to understand 95% of the words in a text in order to make sense of what is read. (Quigley, Closing the Vocabulary Gap, 2018)

• Children of all backgrounds who were read to regularly by their parents at age five performed better in maths, vocabulary and spelling at age 16 than those who were not read to. (Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: the role of reading, 2013)

• A child’s reading ability has as much of an influence on their achievement in science, history, maths and geography as it does in English. (GL Assessment, 2020)



The Withernsea High School strategy 

Factors such as social deprivation and rural isolation can exacerbate the already significant challenges faced by young people in developing good reading skills and levels of literacy seen across the national picture, as outlined by the facts and figures above. Our community, like many others, experiences pockets of these documented disadvantages.

At WHS, we know that the single biggest gift we can give to our students and community is the gift of literacy. Not only does it open up the spectrum of academic study and success, but it paves the way for future successes in adult life. Our Literacy Strategy places reading at its core.
Tutor Time Reading Programme (TTRP)

Tutor Time Reading Programme (TTRP) 

From September 2021, all students in Years 7 to 10 will take part in an extensive Tutor Time Reading Programme (TTRP), which will see them reading engaging, challenging, diverse, current and classic literature with their form tutors three times per week. Books for the TTRP have been carefully curated to reflect a number of important requirements:

- to support, supplement and develop curriculum content. Our books have links to studies in English, maths, science, Art, Personal Development, technology and PE.

- to reflect and highlight important social and cultural issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia, education, morality, mortality etc.

- to be diverse and inclusive so all members of our school community see themselves represented in literature.

- to provide examples of entertaining and engaging literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

- to expose our students to a wider variety of vocabulary.

A full list of the books our students will be reading across the year can be found here: Tutor Time Reading Programme 2021-2022

Accelerated Reader (AR)

As well as reading during tutor time in a morning with their tutors, students in Years 7 – 9 will also have one lesson of Accelerated Reader each fortnight as part of their English provision. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a programme which tracks and monitors how much independent reading students are taking part in, and matches their reading ability up with a range of books that will maximise and accelerate their reading growth.

These lessons take place in the library and students are expected to spend the one hour time slot of the lesson silently reading their chosen AR book. Once a student completes a book, they are expected to complete a short quiz, which reviews how well the student has understood the book they read. Quizzes allocate points and word counts to a students’ profile, which culminate over the year in prizes and competitions.
To get the most out of this programme of AR provision, students are expected to:

- start the year with a reading test that gauges reading ability and matches them with a book range;

- always have an AR book with them at school;

- choose a book within the book range from their reading test;

- read this book at home (independently or with additional home support) for at least 10 minutes every day*;

- take time to recap and review the book before completing the AR quiz.

* studies have shown that just 10 minutes of reading per day can have the following benefits:

- improved mental health and a reduction in levels of stress

- improved concentration

- increase in the number of words students are exposed to (students who read for around 15 minutes per day will encounter an average of 5.7 million words over a year, compared to students who read for less than this, who will encounter 1.7 million words on average)

- improved reading test performance

Academic Reading 

Reading is the master skills of school (Quigley, 2020). It is a skill required in almost every subject across the curriculum at Withernsea High School, and much of what a student learns in each subject is communicated through materials the students read. Books, text books, worksheets, web pages, exam papers, even PowerPoint slides all contain written material that students NEED to be able to read and understand in order to learn new information, process it and apply it, in order to achieve the grades they deserve to move on to higher education and good employment.

Academic reading is the kind of reading that is important for each unique and individual subject. It varies from subject to subject, and as a result, students need to be explicitly taught how to read accurately in their different subject disciplines. At WHS, we are making a long term commitment to ensuring that teachers actively promote reading (both for learning and pleasure) within their subject areas. More importantly, we are also asking our teachers to ensure that time is spent in lessons working with and on reading skills, reading materials and reading strategies, so that students are practising these vital skills regularly, on a daily basis through their high school careers.