Why reading is key to GCSE success

Did you know that 25% of 15 year-olds in the UK have a reading age of just 12? Or that students who are weak readers are as likely to struggle in maths and science at GCSE, as they are in English?

This website explores one of the largest studies of students reading, as well as providing you with ideas, case studies and commentary from schools, localities and Trusts involved in closing the reading gap. Particular focus is given to the Blackpool Key Stage 3 Literacy project, a targeted initiative that aims to raise the reading abilities of children in one of the most challenging areas of the country.

Top tips for improving literacy throughout a school

  1. Ensure you know the nature of the problem. Do you know how your students compare nationally, which need support and what that support should look like?
  2. Make sure staff are on board with any changes. They need to know why literacy is so crucial and what it means for the teaching of their subject.
  3. Emphasise that literacy is a whole-school endeavour. It is not the sole responsibility of any one department.
  4. Sweat the data. Use it not only to measure progress but also to identify and diagnose potential problems.
  5. Less is more. Make one or two big changes and stick to them.
  6. Read first thing. Get children into the habit of reading as soon as they start school in the morning.
  7. Invest in quality textbooks. Teach children how to get the most out of them and don’t rely on handouts.
  8. Encourage subject literacy. Introduce reading materials into each subject that acquaint children with specific subject vocabulary and concepts.
  9. Invest in staff CPD. Colleagues have to know what the data is telling them and where students need to be supported or stretched.
  10. Walk don’t run. To be sustainable, progress has to be properly embedded, so don’t introduce students to material they can’t fully access.

Find out more about our reading assessments

Ongoing assessment of your students’ reading allows you to identify any gaps they may have - and our New Group Reading Test® (NGRT) is an ideal starting point. NGRT is a standardised, termly assessment that reliably measures reading skills against the national average, and it can be used alongside other assessments to pinpoint where support is needed and demonstrate the impact of your interventions.

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Find out how we can support you

Natasha Cartwright

We offer a broad range of training and support options, to help you get the most out of your assessments and build a complete picture of your students’ strengths and needs. We also have a dedicated Assessment Insights team to assist you in making the best use of your assessments. Natasha, our Secondary expert, is on hand to answer any questions from talking through what your data is showing you to which reports are most useful for your school’s needs.

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