Inspiring a Love of Reading: Rydal Penrhos Celebrates Notable Reading Age Progress
June 7, 2023

Rydal Penrhos is delighted to share the excellent progress its pupils continue to make with regards to their reading and literacy.

Rydal Penrhos recognises that reading is a fundamental skill that plays a crucial role in a pupil’s academic success and personal development. Time and again, it has been demonstrated that if a pupil’s reading age is not sixteen or better by the time they sit their GCSEs, their grades suffer across the board, not just in English.

With this in mind, we are thankful that the latest round of reading age testing for Rydal Penrhos pupils in Years 7, 8, and 9 has yielded remarkable results. The progress made by pupils in their reading abilities showcases the dedication of pupils, parents, and teachers to fostering a strong reading culture.

We are delighted to share some of the highlights from these recent findings.

Notable Progress in Reading Age

With an increase of 5 months in chronological age between the Autumn tests and the latest results, pupils have demonstrated significant growth in their reading abilities. The average increase in reading age is particularly noteworthy, with Year 7 pupils showing a remarkable advancement of 13 months and Year 8 pupils improving by 6 months. A sign of great teaching and keen learners!

Reading Age Surpassing Chronological

One of the most exciting outcomes from the test results is the number of pupils whose Reading Age surpasses their chronological age. Among the pupils who completed both tests, 65% of Year 7 and an impressive 75% of Year 8 demonstrated a reading ability beyond their chronological age. This achievement is a testament to our pupils, who always push themselves to be their best.

Bridging the Gap

In terms of progress, the data reveals that 57% of Year 7 pupils who initially had a Reading Age lower than their chronological age managed to narrow the gap between the two since the last test. This improvement indicates that pupils are improving faster than they would normally be expected to, all things being equal, which is an encouraging sign for the future.

Cohort Progress

In the five months from December to April, Year 7 pupils collectively showed an average progress of 6 months in their reading abilities. Year 8, meanwhile, made even more substantial strides, with an average progress of 10 months in that same five month period. These results evidence how well our pupils achieved academically over the latest term.

Outstanding Achievements

To date, as part of the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” Reading Challenge, eight pupils have surpassed the remarkable milestone of reading a million words this year. Among them, Olivia Lees and Carys Evans have gone above and beyond, each reading in excess of a staggering 4 million words. Well done to all our voracious readers!

How are these outcomes achieved? 

To name just a few contributing factors:

A Well-Designed Curriculum

Year 7 and 8 pupils participate in five and four English lessons a week, respectively. This represents over 12% of their timetable a week; a very high proportion, considering a pupil in these year groups will participate in approaching twenty different classes between Monday to Friday.

Inspiring Library Spaces

From the beautiful Lyndon Library in the Prep to the historic Watkinson Library and Reading Room, our pupils have dedicated spaces that allow pupils space and time for reading to take primacy. All the school’s library spaces are extensively stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction books, spanning a range of genres. KS3 pupils regularly spend dedicated time in English lessons selecting their books from the Watkinson Library and quietly reading.

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is a reading program that assesses and tracks pupils’ reading comprehension. Covering hundreds of thousands of different books, the program assigns books a difficulty level and quizzes pupils on their understanding of the content. Accelerated Reader promotes personalized learning, motivates students to read more, and offers teachers and parents valuable data to monitor progress.

Literary Events

Across the year, several themed days, competitions and challenges are put in place to further focus pupils’ minds on reading. You have already heard about our ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ Challenge, but this is only the start. For World Book Day in March, alongside a ‘heroes and villains’ dress-up day, pupils participated in a literary-themed scavenger hunt, which saw pupil’s knowledge pushed to the limit.