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The Norwood School

Our Reading Strategy

We recognise that reading is closely linked to academic success as well as emotional development, confidence, self-esteem and overall mental health and wellbeing. As such, we are committed to embedding reading for pleasure and progress as a core value of all students. The overarching aim of our Reading Strategy is to ensure progressive reading fluency across and outside of  subjects.

The three dimensions of reading at secondary school are:

  • Reading independently and for pleasure;

  • Reading through school subjects;

  • Supporting struggling readers.


Our commitment to reading for pleasure and progress consists of:

  • A library devoted specifically to Key Stage Three, with a remit of inculcating a culture of reading;

  • A separate study hub provision for Key Stage four and five students;

  • Discrete library lessons in Year 7 as part of the English curriculum;

  • Regular review of library titles to ensure an excellent, diverse collection with a wide range of books;

  • Appointment of student Library Leaders;

  • Recommended reading lists distributed across year groups;

  • Regular dialogue  and promotion from all staff about what they are currently reading

  • A variety of whole-school events (e.g. World Book Day, author visits)


A key factor in student attainment is how well they are able to access complex academic texts. As a school, we recognise the importance of Disciplinary Literacy, an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum. It recognises that literacy skills are both general and subject specific, underlining the value of supporting teachers in every subject to teach students how to read, write and communicate effectively in their subjects. 

In addition, all staff are aware of the specific vocabulary that is essential for students to know to access the curriculum of their subject, both in terms of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. 

What are  Tier 2 and Tier 3 words?

Tier 2 words are high frequency words that occur over a range of subjects, feature heavily in academic language situations and are therefore essential in accessing challenging texts across the curriculum. Examples of tier 2 words would be: masterpiece, fortunate, industrious, measure,and benevolent.

Tier 3 words are low frequency, specialist words that occur in specific subjects. Examples of tier 3 words would be: economics, isotope, asphalt, Revolutionary War and,crêpe

What does developing reading through subjects look like in practice?

  • Identification by all subjects of the  most important tier 2/3 words to be explicitly taught to  years 7-10 (10 per half term);

  • Explicit teaching of tier 2/3 three words in lessons;

  • Use of the Frayer model by all teachers , for explicitly teaching vocabulary;

  • Direct instruction and explicit  modelling and scaffolding of extended writing (e.g using I do, we do, you do);

  • Creation of exemplars and success criteria to inform a uniform approach to what good writing (speaking, listening or reading) is for each subject (e.g. ‘Write like an Art critic/ the 10 Keys in MFL);

  • Explicit modelling by teachers of the use of Tier 2/3 vocabulary in structured discussions;

  • Teaching of  pre-reading, during reading & after reading strategies;


There will be a very small proportion of students who join us without having yet fully mastered the basics of fluent reading, in terms of accurate decoding and automaticity of reading. This can be for a variety of reasons, including an underlying SEND need, or delayed English acquisition due to EAL. In addition to any intervention, what is essential is that students have ample opportunity to practise reading at the level that is most suited to their developmental stage.

In terms of supporting struggling readers at The Norwood School, we offer the following interventions:

  • Literacy assessment of the entire Year 7 cohort at the start of Year 7, to reliably benchmark performance and track progress against national averages;

  • Then, through a tiered approach: 

  1. Whole  class teaching (e.g.Disciplinary Literacy through classroom subjects, Quality First Teaching, dyslexia strategies).  Teacher referral to SEND when interventions are insufficient for students to access the curriculum.

  2. Small group reading interventions, delivered by a trained LSA  to students with a similar reading need (overseen by the Literacy Specialist)

  3. 1-1 delivery of a systematic literacy programme, delivered by the Literacy Specialist.

  • Dyslexia assessment for high priority students (teacher referral to SEND and consultation with the literacy specialist)

  • Our Buddy Reading Programme.

For comprehensive advice on supporting your child with reading, please follow the link below to guidance from the Department for Education: