Reading Culture at Buckler’s Mead Academy

Our Ambition

At Buckler’s Mead Academy we prioritise Reading for Meaning and for Pleasure. We are dedicated to  empowering all of our students with a command of language that enables them to articulate and communicate thoughts and powerful ideas with an authentic voice in which they can debate, argue, entertain and evaluate. Reading is at the fundamental core of Literacy across our Curriculum at our school. Our staff understand the significant arc between Reading for Meaning and Writing for Purpose. Subject leaders select and sequence challenging informational texts across their subject areas to ensure that all learners are exposed to rich vocabulary in spoken and written discourse. 

Our ambition is to ensure that all of our students are reading at, or exceeding, their chronological age by the end of year 9 so that they can access all texts at Key Stage 4 with confidence. Our ‘Read to Succeed’ programme ensures that all learners have the opportunity to engage in seminal world literature. This enables all learners to know how their context relates to the rich diversity of cultures across time and place, and to appreciate transcendent themes and concepts of the past in the present, and the present in the past.

Reading across the Curriculum

We are dedicated to ensuring that all students can access the language of the curriculum. We appreciate that certain vocabulary represents powerful ideas and concepts. Without this knowledge, students cannot access these texts as profoundly. Our ambition is to close this vocabulary gap. Tier 2 & 3 language is carefully sequenced across the curriculum. The “DESCRIBE” section of our Learning Cycle is dedicated to unpacking key vocabulary and consciously, and appropriately, sequence it within our curriculum to ensure it is understood within schemas and contexts across different subject areas. The most effective way of closing the vocabulary gap is to explore the morphology and etymology of words. 90% of all words have Latinate and Classical roots. In year 7 we explicitly teach the meaning of common affixations and roots. This remains a consistent approach to teaching all new vocabulary within lessons.

Fostering a love of reading is our first principle. Our English and Drama departments arrange annual trips for all students in year 7 and 8 to watch professional performances of Read to Succeed texts such as ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, this is in addition to our whole school production of ‘Oliver’ last year and ‘Legally Blonde’ this summer term.

Read to Succeed

“Reading in tutor time allows us to bond and have a commonality between us. It expands our views of culture and self-identity”

- Year 10 Tutee

Read to Succeed

We passionately believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a student’s success. We want our students to understand and appreciate the world around them. We build a platform that allows them to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading programme gives students an opportunity to foster a lifelong love of reading alongside improvements in accuracy and fluency. We are ambitious for our readers.  We cultivate the behaviours that they will need to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely using self-regulation strategies and discuss what they read. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunity needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. 

Every day in tutor time students read a carefully selected text, for 30 minutes, from within the four pillars of literature: 

- Morality and Law

- Diversity and Otherness

- Gender and Identity

- Autonomy and Agency

It is important that children read regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading and success. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading for pleasure is beneficial not only for academic outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster an appreciation of independent reading and build a community of engaged readers. 

The school day is structured around daily Read to Succeed sessions. We are committed to developing confident readers, striving for excellence and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum and daily life of the school too.

Each Read to Succeed session is structured so that every student has a nominated ‘talk partner’ with which they will discuss and summarise key narrative and character developments, and make predictions of what might happen in the next chapter. The Teacher will read aloud to students for ten minutes, circulating the room and modelling excellent reading fluency: expression, pace, volume and intonation. A log of new vocabulary is kept, defined and explored. Students are given the opportunity to engage in ‘echo reading’ where the teacher models how a specific paragraph should be read before the students then ‘turn to their talk’ partner and practise reading it aloud to each other using the same techniques the teacher has demonstrated. 

Every Friday students update their Frayer models with the vocabulary list that their class has collated. Each Friday the class picks out three words and completes the Frayer Models in their booklets. The class also discusses the novel and students write a summary of what has happened that week. Using discussion, students make predictions for what they think may happen the following week. Students also complete their ‘most interesting moment’.

We firmly believe that it is important for students to learn about the writing craft and process from professional authors. This is why we have invited Ele Fountain and Anthony Mcgowan to discuss the craft of writing behind the texts our students are reading during Read to Succeed.


Buckler’s Mead becomes an open hymn to World Book Day, especially our donations of books to students so that every household has literature in the home.  We are proud of our ‘Spoken Word Festival’ which happens every summer term and the championship is hosted every January. This encourages our students to develop confidence in speaking fluently. All students perform a speech in front of their peers and argue their viewpoint using the fundamentals of persuasive language of Logos, Ethos and Pathos.


Reading Curriculum Booklet

Please find a booklet outlining all aspects of our approach to the reading curriculum on the link below:


Reading curriculum booklet