At Salford City Academy we are passionate about developing every single student’s reading ability. We aspire for students to not only become proficient readers, but also to foster a lifelong love of reading, as we know this is key to their educational success. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure helps students with vocabulary acquisition, preparation for exams and perhaps even more importantly: their mental wellbeing.
This is why we have DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) Time every single school day at Salford City Academy. DEAR takes place in a student’s form group for 25 minutes, and during this time every form tutor will read to their students, whilst students follow along using their DEAR bookmark, with their own copy of the text. During this time, we also deliberately practise reciprocal reading strategies to help students to become even better readers. Reciprocal reading strategies include: activating prior knowledge, predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising.
Each year group will be reading the same novel, at the same time, to encourage discussion and talk about the novel they are reading. We want students to encounter texts in which they can see themselves, but also to take our students beyond their own worlds and expose them to beliefs, people, places and values they might not otherwise encounter.
Our Whole School Reading Programme (DEAR) also follows these key themes and genres:
- Year 7 start their journey at high school by joining Bilbo on his journey in ‘The Hobbit’. They explore the Bildungsroman form, as well as the theme of conflict, both in the fantasy genre with ‘The Graveyard Book’, and later on in the year in Kabul through ‘The Breadwinner’ which prepares our students for their next key theme – social justice.
- In Year 8 students recap the adventure genre with ‘Northern Lights’ whilst considering identity, power and relationships including social justice, gender and religion. These themes are continued within ‘The Lie Tree’, with another female protagonist, and finally class, gender and identity are explored in ‘The Outsiders’ alongside toxic masculinity.
- Year 9 continues both with the theme of social justice, and relationships/identity with ‘Noughts & Crosses’ whilst also linking to issues around race in the first Y9 text ‘Of Mice & Men’. Students then read ‘After the War’ which links to the History SOL and is part of our Holocaust Beacon School status. Finally, students are offered a new narrative perspective through the eyes of Christopher in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ which also links to the detective genre text ‘Sherlock Holmes’ whilst exploring issues around identity and disability.
- Year 10 continue to explore social issues with ‘The Hate U Give’ and can make links to both their Y8 & Y9 texts and social issues explored in different cultures and settings. We also know understanding the impact a writer can have on their reader is key to appreciating Literature, so have chosen this text for the impact it has had. Year 10 continue to explore identity and race through ‘Pigeon English’ which offers a progression from ‘The Outsiders’ in Y8. Finally Year 10 explore religion and sexuality through ‘Oranges are not the only Fruit’; through these texts we want our students to be offered both a mirror to their own worlds and open windows to new ones.
We hope that students will be discussing these texts during their social times and with you at home, so please feel free to ask your child about DEAR and what happened in the section they read that day!