(For the love of) Reading
At The Belvedere Academy, we value reading for pleasure and the positive impact it has on wellbeing, as well as its enriching effect on academic achievement. To this end, reading is embedded into everyday school life, with every Lower School English lesson beginning with ten minutes of silent reading, and during every Friday form time.
The library is the heart of the school and from here, a relaxing, social space, a love of reading fans out to all students.
Each half term a reading newsletter will be populated to keep all students, parents and staff up to date with reading around the academy.
Encouraging Reading at Home
For advice on how to encourage your child to enjoy reading at home, please see resources below.
Accelerated Reader All our Year 7 and 8 pupils take part in Accelerated Reader. This successful programme is designed to develop reading skills, improve literacy and foster a love of reading! Our pupils enjoy taking part in Accelerated Reader and are motivated to succeed.
All pupils take a STAR reading test which gives them a ZPD. ZPD stands for Zone of Proximal Development. It is a reading range tailored to each pupil. It ensures pupils read books that are neither too easy nor too difficult but at the right level for them. The pupils’ ZPD to increase as they become better readers. Pupils are retested each term to measure development.
Library books are labelled with their Accelerated Reader level. The girls choose an appropriate from the library and read it independently.
Every fortnight, each class spends an Accelerated Reader lesson in the library. During these lessons the class works independently; reading, choosing new books and taking quizzes.
Once they have finished reading their book, pupils take a short quiz to assess their understanding. These quizzes can be taken in school, or at home, when logging on to our school’s AR website.
Pupils earn points for every correct answer and high percentage scores will earn certificates and prizes. As these quizzes are catered towards individual reading levels, pupils of all reading abilities can achieve certificates and progress through the levels.
The librarian and English teaching staff regularly assess pupil quiz results, highlighting any potential problems and giving guidance to each pupil on how to improve.
The data from these quizzes, diagnostic reports and STAR testing helps us to support pupils with their reading. Intervention strategies include small reading groups within library lessons and paired reading enrichment.
The 'Parent’s Guide to Accelerated Reader’ and ‘Parent’s Guide to Renaissance Home Connect’ explain how parents can log in with their child’s details to get an overview of their reading progress, including books read, average percent correct on quizzes, number of points earned and results on the last quiz.
Pupils who want to know what the level their book from home is, can log in to the BookFinder website and check if it is within her ZPD.
For further enquiries about the programme, please contact the librarian, Miss Murphy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renaissance Home Connect: http://ukhosted15.renlearn.co.uk/2260769/HomeConnect/
AR BookFinder: www.arbookfind.co.uk/
We host visits and take groups out for author events with regularity. The students enjoy them enormously! As well as hearing how they write, and asking them questions, there is always the opportunity to buy books and have them signed by the author. We have visited events given by Eoin Colfer, Hilary McKay, Cathy Hopkins and Lisa Williamson. We have hosted Kathryn Evans, Holly Smale, best-selling author of the Geek Girl series, Cathy Cassidy, Jon Mayhew, Sophia Bennett and Robin Stevens, best-selling author of the Murder Most Unladylike series.
We have also twice hosted award-winning professional storyteller Ursula Holden Gill, who held her audience spellbound with her tales.
Every year Lower School are encouraged to participate in the Readathon - a national sponsored read which, as well as promoting books and reading for pleasure, raises money for hospital charities and earns free books for our library. Annually we raise between £200-400 for Read For Good.
For our annual Prize Giving, recipients of the Margaret Bryce Smith Award choose two paperback novels as their prize, from a hand-picked selection including classics as well as the latest releases.
Little Free Library
Belvedere has its own Little Free Library - a little wooden house outside, stocked with second-hand books. Anyone can take a book, read it, keep it or pass it on. Students are also welcome to donate any unwanted books to the Library. It was officially opened by popular author Cathy Cassidy and attracts interest from students all year round.
Sixth Form Classic Crime Book Club
To aid their understanding of the Crime genre, our A Level Literature students participate in a Classic Crime Book Club. We meet every few weeks to discuss our novel; the characters, plot, red herrings and how it fits in with the crime genre. Books discussed have included The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Red House Mystery and Whose Body?
Year 7 Literacy intervention
Students selected for extra Literacy support meet weekly in the library for small-group activities based around reading comprehension, punctuation and grammar.
The Student Support Department also runs a weekly reading club in the library during form time, with Sixth Form reading buddies assisting staff with one-to-one reading with students who need support.
Every year, Belvedere hosts a Scholastic book fair. For one week, the library is transformed during break and lunch times, into a pop-up shop selling books, posters and stationery. Always a popular event, we also earn commission on books sold which in turn leads to many, brand new titles added to the library for students to enjoy.
World Book Day
Always a big event at Belvedere, activities have included a carefully planned murder mystery party (with teachers getting into character); staff dressed up as book characters; Book Doctor sessions in the library; vlogs of students’ favourite books; filming book trailers; the library becoming a ‘book restaurant’; A Hunger Games inspired spa where Sixth Formers painted nails and did hair and henna tattoos for younger students - everyone left the library looking more outrageous than when they arrived!
The library hosts many activities centred around books and reading. These have included a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party; a Harry Potter celebration and a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 1920s themed party; book bingo; school menus, circuit training sessions, a Capitol spa, quizzes and craft sessions inspired by The Hunger Games, which was a whole school read; coffee and book mornings and Jolobokaflod (the Icelandic celebration of reading new books at Christmas) to name but a few.
Book of the Term posters
Every term the librarian chooses a different book and this is promoted via posters around school and in form rooms.
The librarian works with the PHSE co-ordinator to deliver one-off lessons based on issues raised in popular books. Year 11 sessions were based on healthy versus toxic relationships using the Holly Bourne novel The Places I’ve Cried in Public and a Year 7 body-positive session based around Tasmin Winters’ book Jemima Small Versus the Universe.