Our vision is to foster a culture of reading across the school in which students read ambitious and diverse texts for pleasure, whilst gaining cultural capital.
Students will develop the habits that enable them to read with fluency and confidence throughout their academic journey and in later life.
"The best moments in reading are when you come across something which you had
thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone who is even perhaps a long time dead…. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
The History Boys, Alan Bennett.
Vision and Philosophy
Here at HAOC, we believe that the embedded weekly practice of guided reading for thirty minutes, twice per week is essential in broadening vocabulary, enriching cultural capital and ultimately improving exam performance.
According to Renaissance UK’s biggest-ever literacy study of more than 1 million children across hundreds of schools from all different demographics, exam results improved massively where guided reading was routinely practiced.
Guided reading helps students develop greater control over the reading process through the development of reading strategies which assist in decoding meaning. The teacher guides or ‘scaffolds’ their students as they read, talk and think their way through a text, completing various small text directed, focused tasks such as sequencing, text completion, scanning, skimming and inferring.
When readers have the opportunity to talk, think and read their way through a text, they build up self-confidence as well as their own systems in the future of decoding and ultimately enjoying reading. Quality literature is highly motivating to both students and teachers. Students prefer to learn with these texts and given the opportunity will choose these texts over traditional, ‘easy readers’.
Moreover, coupled with reading eclectic and ground-breaking books, the students will also experience a diverse range of short non-fiction texts throughout the year linked thematically to the novels. These are designed to help students comprehend more challenging texts through activating prior knowledge; understanding issues such as racism, religious extremism or PTSD before encountering them within a novel.
During the autumn term our scholars begin the year reading a novel that will enrich their understanding of culture, identity and diversity; year 7 read The Bone Sparrow, year 8 The Edge and year 9, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
Then students move on to a compelling, nail biting thriller in the spring term; year 7 read Wolves of Willoughby Chase, year 8 War of the Worlds, and year 9 the chilling and edgy horror novel Carrie.
Finally, the summer term sees them exploring prestigious, and much celebrated classic novels: year 7 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, year 8 Lord of the Flies and year 9 Brave New World.
Immersed with the novels are a range of non-fiction texts to support comprehension through the activation or prior learning. Among others, they will read a true account of a lynching in Mississippi, they will read about Russel Brand’s crippling drug addiction, the inhuman child slave labour of Victorian England, and Nando Parrado’s 2 and half months existing on a frozen mountain in Chile after a plane crash. They’ll read a stirring speech delivered to survivors of domestic abuse, they’ll learn of the terrible trolling and bullying of Little Mix’s Jessie Nelson, about the London 7/7 bombings and the terrible tragedy that was Grenfell.
To find out more about our guided reading curriculum, please click HERE.