All about reading!
You will have read in previous e-Newsletters that our prime objective at NAISAK this year is to raise academic standards. We are tackling this exciting challenge through a whole-school emphasis on basic skills, especially English. Mrs Lamb mentioned last week that we are introducing the MAP tests from Year 4 to Year 9 as a way to bring external validation to what is happening in class and inform the next steps. In Primary School, the Read Write Inc. programme was introduced from Year 1 upwards to develop and strengthen those basic skills that are reading and writing in a language.
There is plenty of research, old and recent, that highlights how essential reading is in a child’s chances of success. In Secondary School, most of you will know that we work with a programme called Accelerated Reader. I mentioned the importance of lifelong learning and teacher training last week when I wrote about the courses our Science team took part in. Our English First Language and English Second Language teachers were given the opportunity in September to attend four training sessions delivered by Accelerated Reader in the evenings.
Accelerated Reader is a programme, as its name states it, that has the noble two-fold ambition to help students make swift progress in reading and develop a love of reading. However, like with most initiatives, the programme only works if students are active and regular participants. The students start off the academic year with a baseline test to establish the level at which they are reading. Reading books that follow the Accelerated Reader programme is categorised by reading levels. Knowing a child’s exact reading level will inform which reading books are best suited to support the development of their reading skills and of their engagement with reading. Such inform also helps teachers of all subjects adapt their lessons so all students can access the materials used in class. At the end of every term, students are again tested to evaluate their progress and their reading level. Every week, students at Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) have one English lesson in the library, during which their read their Accelerated Reader book under the guidance of their English teacher. At the end of every Accelerated Reader book read, students take a quiz on the computer to assess their understanding of the story and whether their reading was meaningful or not.
In order to make progress in reading, the programme recommends that students engage in reading 30 minutes per day, every day, ideally with an adult so they can discuss the content of their reading. As such, here is a plea to you, our parents, to ensure you organise your afternoons and weekends so your children have the time to dedicate themselves to reading. As mentioned, if you could read with your children, that would be even better, even if this means that you read a book in your own language. Our students would then see the value of reading and the importance it is given at home.
I will write soon about another tool we are using to raise academic standards, which is all about reviewing and customising the International Middle Years Curriculum to create our very own bespoke concept-based curriculum, specific to NAISAK: our context, our students, their aspirations, our shared ambitions.
Please remember to attend our Parent-Teacher Meetings this Wednesday from 14:30 to 17:00. There is nothing like discussions between parents, students and teachers to show a child how important she/he is and their education. Please make sure to attend those meetings with your child. If your child is yet to make appointments with her/his teachers, please do encourage her/him to approach teachers are the afternoon is getting rapidly full. If you are not able to book an appointment with a teacher you would like to meet, please do not hesitate to contact Reception and request to schedule a meeting at a mutually-convenient date/time.
Head of Secondary