Literacy

Literacy is an essential part of our work at the Hart School. It is a key that can unlock both academic success and wider life fulfilment for our students.  

As a school, it is therefore our moral imperative to do everything that we can to support our children with Literacy.  

It is our vision that every child leaves us able to read at their chronological age, with a love for reading, and the ability to write and speak with eloquence, accuracy and confidence.  

We have recently launched our new literacy framework that encompasses our strategic direction for literacy in the coming years. 

To support our students with reading, we READ 

Reduce barriers to effective reading

At the Hart School, curriculum plans and pedagogy are designed with a focus on reducing known barriers to reading across the curriculum. By reducing barriers to reading and providing regular opportunities to engage with academic texts, we aim to help students to develop their reading skills, comprehension, and understanding of complex concepts. This approach will not only enhance their academic performance but also equips them with the necessary skills to succeed in higher education and beyond. 

Our Hart Habit for Vocabulary is used across our subjects to teach students essential words to help develop their vocabulary. We use I say, you say, define it, use it, bank it to help students remember and use words. 

Across subjects, students regularly read academic texts to help them to develop their subject knowledge, vocabulary and reading skills. Every half term, students participate in Read First! Week, where they read academic texts across the curriculum. 

  • Engage students with texts that they love 

Research indicates that one of the key ways to develop students’ reading ability is to support them in developing their own reading for pleasure habits. It is our goal to harness every student’s interest in reading, by supporting them to explore books that interest them and are pitched at an appropriate level for their reading ability, allowing them to feel “successful” as readers. This is achieved in a variety of ways, through both curriculum time, home learning and the wider school day. 

The Hart Library 

Our school library is a vital tool in developing students as readers. Our library is a special, calm hub where students can come and browse shelves and read peacefully during the school day, and before and after school. The library is open from 8am – 4pm every day, so that students can visit in their own time to read or complete home learning. Our library is well-stocked with books to support both curricular learning and reading for pleasure, and we regularly order in new stock to keep students engaged in the most recent reading trends. 

Our library is always full of exciting themed events for students to enjoy. For example, at Halloween we celebrated with a spooky stories competition and had teachers reading spooky stories by the fire. We always have crafts, board games and other activities for students to take part in. 

We host a termly reading challenge that invites students to read three books per term to win prizes. Students love getting involved in this and we are always inundated with entries!  

Reading Homework

Alongside their curriculum-based home learning, students are set 20 minutes of home reading per week via Sparx Reader. This is a fantastic platform that provides students with books that match their reading level and checks student comprehension. Rewards are built into the platform and are used by teachers to inform praise phone calls and praise postcards. At the end of each term, rewards are given for Sparx reader as part of school rewards assemblies.

For more information, please visit https://sparxreader.com/  

Library lessons 

Library lessons take place fortnightly during English curriculum time. These are used by teachers to promote reading for pleasure as well as supporting reluctant and struggling readers through a clear library lesson structure and intervention system. 

Register and Read

Reading is a vital part of our form tutor programme. Form tutors read with their forms three times a week. There are clear expectations for tutor reading that all staff have been trained on as part of whole-school training 

During sessions, tutors read aloud to students to model fluent reading and to allow all students to engage with the text. Books have been specially chosen for each year group, with a range of themes covered and explored to help develop cultural capital and broaden horizons.  

Enrichment, Rewards and Book Fairs

A regular programme of enrichment takes place to promote reading and the literary calendar. Throughout the year, themed events run to promote books and authors, and there are regular competitions to promote reading and books. 

Parental Support

We work hard to support our wider school community and families with reading. This is done in a variety of ways, through both parents evenings, school communication and outreach. 

During parents evening, English staff are based in the library. Teachers provide all parents/carers with support materials to promote reading such as support guides and reading recommendations, and teachers encourage parents to explore the shelves in the library with their children before they leave. 

We also run regular parent workshops for parents. Here are some photos from our most recent workshop. For more information, please check your home-school communication. 

Community Reading Volunteers 

We engage our wider school community in our drive to promote literacy by inviting family members and members of our local community in as “reading volunteers.” We have a dedicated group of volunteers from both students’ families and local businesses who attend the school library to hear students read on a regular basis.  

Deliver targeted interventions to support struggling students 

It is our mission to ensure that every child in our care can read at their chronological age or above as rapidly as possible. We have a thorough intervention procedure in place to deliver targeted support to close reading gaps and build students’ skill and confidence in reading. 

We use a variety of intervention schemes and strategies to intervene with students including 

Students who struggle to read proficiently are assessed and placed onto one of the following intervention pathways, where they are taught by specially trained staff members. 

We have seen great successes already in terms of student progress and are looking forward to working with more students to develop their reading in the coming months. 

Each year, students from Year 9 are given the opportunity to take part in a debate competition with other schools in the Trust. Students can volunteer to be part of the team, with heats taking place to secure places. Students then have the opportunity to have training sessions with a barrister in preparation for their heats before moving on to the event final in London!  

We are always looking for ways to develop literacy further and are keen to support parents and carers with further information should they need it. 

If you have any questions or require any support please email 

Mrs C Elliot or Mrs T Payton at enquiries@hartschool.org.uk