Reading at Roundhay (4-18)
We are a Reading School!
We have developed our Reading Curriculum using the following building blocks:
We are determined to make sure every pupil learns to read and keeps reading at Roundhay. Each building block provides strong foundations to ensure our children become skilled readers who read for information and pleasure.
Reading at Primary
Our children not only get off to the strongest start with their phonics and early reading, but we also place a huge emphasis on the other components of reading:
Communication and Language – We greatly focus on speaking, listening and language. We explicitly teach our children through dedicated talk time sessions, and our ultimate aim is to ensure every child finds their voice. We know that understanding comes before expression, so we emphasise this for our pupils.
Listening and Reading Comprehension – From the start of your child’s journey, we teach pupils to develop their listening comprehension skills through our repeated reading routine. We have developed a reading spine that ensures your child listens and responds to a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts from Reception to Year 6.
Alongside this, starting in Year 1, we explicitly teach reading comprehension skills through the use of ERIC, which will help your child to read for meaning and understanding. Children in KS2 also have an additional reading rituals session where they read carefully selected texts to support their growing fluency and knowledge of the world around them. All of this ensures that, over time, our children become confident, skilled readers.
We have also recently further developed our reading community using the Reading for Pleasure research principles. We aim to ensure that once our children are readers, they keep reading and developing their unique reader identity by providing purposeful opportunities for book talks and making connections.
Find out more about our phonics and early reading offer here...
Reading at Secondary and Sixth Form
When pupils transition to Year 7, we prioritise reading from day one, and a book is an essential piece of equipment for all pupils in Key Stage 3. We encourage pupils to read independently and spend social time in the Library, which lies at the heart of our reading community.
The Library was refurbished in 2021 when we raised £17,000 in generous donations from local businesses and the school’s charity, Friends of Roundhay School. There is a warm and inclusive atmosphere, and pupils choose from a wide range of exciting age-appropriate books, clearly categorised for Younger Readers, Young Adult or Adult Fiction.
A timetable of reading-based clubs provides additional extracurricular opportunities for pupils to have fun and make friends. Junior Librarians and Reading Ambassadors lead many activities and share the space with KS4 pupils, who use the Library as an independent study space after school. The Library opens daily at 8.00am and closes each day at 4.00pm during term time. It is often open during school holidays for independent study.
Reading lessons are timetabled for pupils in Years 7 and 8 every two weeks. They engage with texts carefully chosen by Our librarian (and Waterstones bookseller of the year!) Ms Walton carefully selects texts for our students. She uses our whole school reading strategy (Before, During, After) to plan lessons which develop pupils’ fluency and comprehension skills.
Reading resilience is further nurtured through a programme of morning reading, which is a crucial part of our Form time offer. It promotes fiction, seeks to increase reading for pleasure and engagement in KS3, focuses on news articles in KS4 Stage 4, and progresses to academic papers through Read 6, our online reading platform for sixth-form students.
Our Reading Curriculum
We base our all-through school approach to reading on the fact that every pupil can and will learn to read regardless of their background or ability, and every child needs to read fluently and confidently to access the curriculum.
Staff teach reading within their subject areas, providing explicit vocabulary instruction and disciplinary literacy to support learning and teaching in their curricular areas. Staff enjoy engaging pupils in book talk, hearing about what our pupils are reading, and recommending texts from their own class libraries.
We regularly assess pupils’ reading skills, identify groups of readers who need additional support, and refine our reading programmes so pupils can receive appropriate intervention. Phonological awareness is crucial to developing phonics for reading, spelling and vocabulary acquisition, and a coordinated approach ensures no one is left behind. In KS3, the Inclusion Team delivers Fresh Start, a mature phonics programme offered to small groups at least three times per week. And the English department provides interventions targeting fluency and comprehension skills.
Pupils also enjoy paired reading sessions, which support less confident readers in Year 7 and are delivered by Sixth Form volunteers.
At Roundhay, we are all teachers of reading, working together to build our reading community and sharing a love of books with the pupils in our care. Whether the pupils are 4 or 18, we know that instilling a love of reading is the greatest gift we can bestow upon them, and we will do whatever it takes to get them excited about books.
When students arrive at Roundhay Sixth Form we continue to prioritise reading. Every student in Year 12 takes part in the Sixth Form reading programme, Read 6. The programme aims to foster a love of reading by providing dedicated time for reading and ‘book talk’ and a chance to gain confidence in reading comprehension.
All students read one text each half term in their supported study sessions. Our Senior Tutors deliver these sessions, as passionate readers with excellent relationships with the students. The tutors work closely with the reading team to ensure that the reading sessions delivered are of excellent quality. We choose each half term’s text because of its relevance to our students. For example, in half term 3, students read a chapter from Mae Martin’s book, Can Everyone Please Calm Down: A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality.
To ensure reading is accessible to all students, tutors use our whole school reading strategy: Before, During, After. In addition, students are taught a comprehension strategy each half term and practise this independently. These strategies include scanning to choose a text, summarising the big ideas, and making connections to a text. After every reading session, we discuss the themes in the text. Students enjoy talking about related issues, showing the importance of reading to enhance debate.
As well as asking all Year 12 students to read six texts in the year, students are encouraged to achieve gold or silver in the Read 6 challenge by reading additional texts each half term. To encourage aspirational reading, we also offer lunchtime drop-in reading groups every two weeks, and students have free access to the Hodder educational magazine.
The Reading Team