Developing Literacy and Reading

At Fakenham Academy, we believe that creating a culture of reading is vital in ensuring our students have the ability to achieve their potential in school and beyond.

We aim to foster a love of reading which will stay with our students into their adult life; cultivating readers with a passion for a wide range of materials will ensure that children’s love of reading will extend beyond the classroom.

A culture of reading is also crucial to the academic progression of our students. Our students’ success in terminal examinations is reliant on their ability to read with confidence. Most GCSE specifications are expecting more independent reading from students; their own research and revision rely heavily on their ability to read and interpret texts; their exam responses require an ability to read and understand that the examiner requires; their own responses need to be carefully checked. We focus on reading in KS3, ensuring students have the foundations needed for their GCSE studies

We have a 20 minute reading session everyday where students actively follow teachers as they demonstrate the “Magnificent 7” reading strategies we have developed. Students are provided with a wide range of reading materials with eh aim of both helping them improve their reading and increasing their wider knowledge and, what is sometimes referred to as “cultural capital”.

The 7 key reading strategies at Fakenham Academy

Fakenham Academy readers are STRATEGIC readers who actively use the following “Fakenham Academy Magnificent Seven” evidence-based approaches to support their understanding:


1) They read to fluency, imitating the modelled reading of their teachers who: read to punctuation, with expression, at an appropriate pace and self-correct as needed.

2) They reread parts of a text to ensure their understanding.

3) They consider their own prior knowledge of a topic before they read a text.

4) They question what they read before, during and after to clarify their understanding.

5) They know how to skim and scan to retrieve key information.

6) They navigate a non-fiction text knowing the purpose of conventions e.g. italics

7) They consider vocabulary using context, synonyms, morphology to support their understanding.


All Fakenham Academy teachers take every opportunity to explicitly model using these strategies, demonstrating their own thinking aloud (metacognition of learning).


Standard reading 20 minute session format


1) Look at title and images – consider prior knowledge (strand 3)

2) Question – what might this be about, who is writing it? Why? Do they have an agenda?

3) Teacher models reading – at least 75 % of the text, modelling the Magnificent 7 strategies as appropriate.

4) Students will actively engage with the reading sitting up straight following either with a finger or their reading ruler and generating their own questions. As they model the reading, teachers will monitor their students’ engagement in and tracking of the text.

5) Once the teacher has read, students will complete a short number of questions about the work varying from simple fact-finding using skimming and scanning to more nuanced questions that explore the implications of the text.

6) Students will carry an exercise book for writing answers. The same standards around presentation as any other piece of work will be expected. Work will need a title, date and the name of the teacher leading the session. 

7) After students have been given time to answer the questions the teacher must lead them in correcting them using a green pen. Teachers must use this opportunity to discuss the skills used to find the answers (metacognition)  


Reading Lists:

KS5 Reading List

Year 7 Reading ListYear 9-11 Reading ListYear 8 Reading List

Reading is challenging

We develop our understanding and command of the English language through our experience of and exposure to challenging texts in all contexts: students will be introduced to challenging texts in all subjects. They may read an artist’s explanation of their thinking when planning a piece of art; they may read a first person account of a key historical event; they made read a text which attempts to manipulate reader response and analyse its features.

Reading is varied

Reading comes in many forms essential to everyday life. Reading of blogs, newspaper reports, magazine articles, research pieces, images, moving image and surveys are as valid as reading longer fiction and non-fiction texts. We encourage students to vary their reading materials and aim to foster a love of reading which enthuses students and allows them to explore their interests as well as develop new ideas and experiences. 

We place a high value on reading through the following activities and approaches amongst others:

  • Students are required to have reading material as part of their daily equipment. 
  • Students will take out their reading material along with other equipment at the beginning of each lesson.
  • Where appropriate, lessons may start or end with some independent or guided reading. 
  • Students are encouraged to read when they have any spare time within or outside lessons.
  • Students use the library during lessons and outside of lesson time.  
  • There are reading times within the tutor programme and students are expected to read or discuss their reading within tutor groups.
  • Year 7 and 8 students have a fortnightly reading lesson (as part of their English lessons). 
  • Lessons in all subjects incorporate guided reading or group reading of challenging texts (part of our Curriculum Intent)
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