At Highfield Middle School, we aim to enable the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective learners. We recognise that success in English has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum; is crucial in a child’s overall development and ultimately success in later life.
A strong reading culture is at the heart of our school. Pupils in Year 5 and 6 enjoy a dedicated reading lesson to complement their English lessons, while we have created many opportunities for all our children to read for pleasure during the school week. We believe pupils develop reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books. For that reason, we use a whole school initiative called Accelerated Reader, which is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice while promoting reading for pleasure.
We recognise that not everyone finds reading easy and sometimes pupils come to middle school with gaps in their ability to understand age appropriate texts. Therefore, we use a phonics programme called Read Write Inc. Fresh Start which rescues older readers aged 9 and above who are below expected standards in reading and writing.
We celebrate learning English at Highfield with regular events such as World Book Day, visiting authors and theatre visits; while a group of students known as English Leaders help to promote reading in our school and beyond.
Each year some of our Year 8 Students, who are passionate about English, are chosen to be English Leaders at Highfield.
Their responsibilities include being enthusiastic about reading; representing the school appropriately at all times; and supporting others with their reading. Their role involves promote reading for pleasure; organising whole school reading events; acting as ambassadors for the school; and recording and documenting English events.
The English Leaders have been involved in hosting visiting authors and promoting and organising our World Book Day activities. They carried out a survey of how reading for pleasure is promoted across the school and supported teachers in creating new ‘Reading Zones’ in all of our classrooms.
They are currently heavily involved in running a weekly Book Club for other students.
The English Leaders are a pupil led organisation and meet on a weekly basis. They are continually coming up with new ideas to promote reading and support learning here at Highfield. So watch this space for updates on their activity!
Mr K Bell