1. Overview

Regents Park Community College has a strong and well-established whole-school reading strategy that supports both students and staff to develop their confidence and skills in reading.

Our ‘Reading Curriculum’ is embedded across the school. The overall aim is to foster a life-long love of reading, and to develop students’ reading skills in a variety of contexts.

These strategies encompass tutor time, English lessons, extra-curricular activity and home learning, meaning students will see reading as a part of every aspect of their school experience.

Over the course of the last academic year we have launched a range of initiatives that have significantly raised the profile of reading across the school and enabled students to articulate how reading at RPCC is driving their progress.

2. Students encouraged to view reading as a valuable, enjoyable skill and activity.

Students in Years 7 to 10 benefit from our RPCC Read Aloud Programme: each tutor group has a class set of texts that is read to the group by their tutor, as well as by student volunteers.  This shared reading experience means that all readers, regardless of ability, can enjoy and access the same exciting texts.  We regularly gather and share Student Voice on the books read during tutor time, allowing us to gain the students’ perspectives on the 28 brand new sets of texts that promote inclusivity and diversity.

Departments across the school have developed their own Department Libraries of exciting and inspiring fiction and non-fiction texts. Science, History, Geography and English have so far taken delivery of a mixture of new and classic texts.

Students are encouraged to borrow these books – just like a regular library – to take home and enjoy at their leisure.  These books have been chosen by teachers in each subject area, with the idea that they will develop students’ knowledge even further, and enable students to see these subjects as existing outside of the classroom, and indeed outside of the school.

Staff from around the school also share staff reading recommendations, which are promoted on X.

3. Reading-rich curriculum

The curriculum at Regents Park ensures the wide range of literature studied is fit for our student demographic and meets the needs of all students. Literature studied includes prose, poetry, whole-texts, Shakespeare and seminal world literature.  We continue to improve the inclusivity and diversity of texts studied to ensure our students experience texts they can identify with through contemporary themes and characters.

Students also read a wide range of non-fiction texts such as newspapers, magazines, websites, travel writing, biographies, autobiographies and examples of social media content in order to give them a broad understanding of the way writers utilise language to communicate meaning.

In Years 7 and 8, all students enjoy one dedicated reading lesson per week.  For Year 7 students, this takes place in the library, as all Year 7 students follow the Accelerated Reader programme.  Students take the Star Reader test, which determines their reading age, and tells them which books are the correct level for them.  Students read a range of books at that level, and take quizzes on each book to measure their understanding.  Once they have mastered a particular level, they then progress and move up to the next level.  Year 8 students also enjoy one reading lesson per week, individually reading books they have chosen themselves.

4. Reading is high-profile at RPCC

Reading is everywhere at Regents Park! When walking up the main staircase, students, staff and visitors see a kaleidoscope of beautiful book spines – from classics, to children’s favourites to contemporary best-sellers. In the Headteacher’s office and Parent Meeting Room, book stands are filled with a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Students are regularly rewarded for their reading: words read on Accelerated Reader are celebrated and rewarded – for example students strive to become ‘Word Millionaires’. Students are also awarded Achievement Points for their reading. Our whole-school Friday Reading initiative continues to go from strength to strength. During the same period on a Friday, each teacher reads the same section of a story to their classes – meaning the whole school takes part in a shared reading experience, and students appreciate that reading is an activity that takes place in every department in the school, in every classroom, in every year group

5. Extra-curricular provision

At Regents Park we have a strong extra-curricular reading provision that supports students’ reading in a variety of ways. Students can choose to take part in the National Teen Book Club – a nationwide project that sees students from schools across the country read the same book at the same time, with online sessions and guest authors. Students can also opt to take part in the Southampton Schools Debate Competition to develop their debating skills and grow their confidence. At Regents Park, we also embrace a number of high-profile national reading initiatives, such as World Book Day, National Poetry Day and Readathon, which raise the profile of reading outside of the classroom.

6. Intervention to develop students’ reading ability

Students who require additional help to make progress with their reading at Regents Park are quickly identified, and robust intervention is put in place.

Our specialist phonics teacher delivers our phonics programme to students in Year 7 and Year 8 who require additional support.  These tailored, individualised lessons are delivered in six-week blocks designed to help these students strengthen their reading skills.  This programme also includes support for comprehension, spelling and grammar.  

Reading age data is available to all teachers to inform their layered planning.

Through on-going teacher assessment we identify students in Years 8 to 11 who also require additional help to make progress with their reading.  These students have access to Bedrock Learning to drive up their standards of literacy.

Bedrock provides lessons in 5 ‘blocks’ which roughly equate to one for each year group.  Each student takes an initial test which determines which ‘block’ they study.  Each student takes two 15/20 minute ‘lessons’ each week. The lessons are engaging, with a mixture of audio and video.

The main focus of these lessons is vocabulary and grammar – perfect in supporting those students who are struggling most with reading and literacy. Bedrock also supports our students’ disciplinary literacy; each student will get support to learn Tier 3 vocabulary from three different subjects – providing a significant level of support for whole-school literacy.

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