Reading At Beacon High
‘Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers’. -Charles W. Elio-
A child's reading skills are important to their success in school as they will allow them to access the breadth of the curriculum and improve their communication and language skills. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative time for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them.
Why is reading so important?
Studies show that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to children’s educational performance. Likewise, evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who do not, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. Dedicated reading time is built into our curriculum in Year 7 English lessons and further opportunities are given for independent reading across the curriculum.
Reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
What difference can I make as a parent?
You can make a huge difference! Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life – even more important than their teachers – and it is never too early to start reading together.
Even before they were born, babies learn to recognise their parents' voices. Reading to your baby from birth, even for just a few minutes a day, gives them the comfort of hearing your voice and increases their exposure to language.
Building vocabulary and understanding
Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out what is printed on the page. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. It is important for them to understand how stories work too. Even if your child does not understand every word, they will hear new sounds, words and phrases which they can then try out, copying what they have heard. To support your child with their vocabulary, all teachers will be using a programme called 'PiXL Unlock'; this focuses on the different tiers of vocabulary that your child should access throughout their time at Beacon High:
- Tier 1 words occur frequently in everyday life. Often they are words that people do pick up as they go along.
- Tier 2 words that appear across a range of domains, students may read but are not often used in every day speech, e.g consequential, derive.
- Tier 3 words consist of technical, subject vocabulary specific to a certain discipline of study.
Please do access and use the KS3 and KS4 Word Booklets that are attached to this page to become more familiar with the key words and vocabulary for each subject that your child studies.
Recommended Reading - KS3 and KS4
KS3 & 4 PIXL WORD LISTS
Please see below links to the PiXL Word Lists and Definitions documents for KS3 and KS4.
My child prefers non-fiction to fiction. Does this matter?
No, there will be many non-fiction books in the library which are part of the scheme and are being chosen to complement what your child is studying in other curricular areas. Encourage your child to take out books linked to a current topic being studied in another subject. They can then take a quiz on this book during their English lesson.
My child is a reluctant reader. What can I do?
Take an interest in what your child is reading. Make sure you have lots of books and magazines around the house and show your child how to access eBooks. Think about swapping the games console for a Kindle or e-reader! Try to incorporate whole family ‘reading time’ into the daily routine.
When should I stop reading to my child?
Never! Listening to others reading aloud encourages children to read with fluency and expression themselves.
How do I know what level my child is?
Ask your child for his or her STAR reading report. This gives lots of vital information. If he or she has lost it, please contact the school for a replacement.
How do we find a book of the correct level for my child?
Let your child check out the AR Bookfinder website. All they’ll need to know is their book level or they can ask the librarian for help.
My child says that they can’t find a book they like. What do you suggest?
First, ask the librarian which the most popular books are for their age and reading ability. Secondly, look at the ‘Recommended Reads’ board in the LRC. These are books recommended by students by students. With thousands of books to choose from, it is very unlikely that there will be nothing of interest to them.
Does it matter if we choose a book of the wrong level?
This very much depends if your child is enjoying what he or she is reading! If they are, let them carry on. If you see your child struggling, not getting past the first few pages, it might well be too hard for them. Be guided rather than restricted by their book level.
How long should my child be reading each day?
Ideally, a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day.
How else can parents help?
Mainly by ensuring that their children are bringing a reading book into school every day, not just when they have English. Also, remember that reading is an on-going and integral and part of their English and Accelerated Reader programme. If in doubt, please contact your child’s English teacher.