At Benfield School, we value communication skills with the belief that communication skills can impact students on both an academic and personal level.

Communication skills (including the areas of reading, writing and speaking and listening), are core skills required to be successful across the curriculum and therefore across the subjects that students access in their time at Benfield. Further, by developing these core skills, we believe that we also develop our students’ love of learning and key personal skills of resilience, independence and creativity- key skills required to prepare our students for the wider world after Benfield.

Therefore, students are provided with a wide range of opportunities in order to develop their communication skills both within and beyond the school gates. We encourage students to read for pleasure, develop their vocabulary and refine their writing skills in the opportunities that we provide for students.

Why should I be a reader?

  • Young people who engage in reading often from the age of 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gain higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly.
  • At age 14, young people who enjoy reading, have, on average, a better reading age compared to children who don’t read.
  • Reading for pleasure has been shown to be the most important indicator of the future success.
  • Young people who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing compared to those who don’t.

Our reading strategies

  • You need to be able to read texts or extracts for all subjects or in exams
  • Reading can help prepare us for lifelong learning such as further education, a new caree or completing application forms.
  • Reading develops and allows us to become more confident in communication
  • Reading can be an escape to help us relax, improving well-being
  • Reading increases our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy and gives us an insight into the world view of others
  • Think of all the tasks you wouldn’t be able to do day-day if you could not read!

How to support your child reading

Shared reading is a great way to develop students’ language and communication and to boost their reading skills.

    1. Concentrate on reading quality (it isn’t all about reading lots!) Don’t worry too much about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of reading each day. Books are great—but leaflets, comics, recipes and instructions on a webpage can all be great too. Following a recipe to make some cupcakes is valuable reading. Be on the lookout for reading, wherever it is.
    2. Ask your child lots of questions about the texts that they are reading. All reading matters. Shared reading is about ‘reading with’, not just ‘reading to’ (even for older children). So, ask lots of ‘Wh’ questions, such as Who? What? When? Where? Why? Try them when talking about books: for example, ‘what do you think Harry is feeling?
    3. Ask your child to make predictions about what they have read. If it is a book, look at the front cover—or the last chapter—and talk about what might happen next. Look for clues in the book and be a reading detective! 
    4. Ask your child to summarise what they have read. When you’ve finished reading, talk about what happened. Acting out the things that happened in the story or describing the big idea of a chapter is really fun and maximises learning. 
    5. Ask your child to write about what they have read. Write, or draw pictures, from anything you’ve read! Big writing and pictures are even more fun. 
    6. Read and discuss reading with friends or family. Make books a part of the family. Encourage your child to share them with a relative or friend, over a video call. Laugh about them when you are making meals together. 

Reciprocal Reading 

Currently, in Form Time three times a week we facilitate Reciprocal Reading. Students are reading a  variety of texts which grow in challenge and with themes linked to both GCSE study and Cultural Capital. 

Students follow a clear reading structure with opportunities for both whole class reading and independent reading. They are encouraged to recount the key events, clarify any misunderstandings and predict the direction of the text. 

Reading Overview

Across the curriculum, students are encouraged to learn key vocabulary both specific to the subject and their more general reading. We also offer a state of the art Reading Room, personalised reading interventions and a range of extra-curricular activities involving reading.