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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College

Forensic Reading

Introduction of Forensic Reading

For many young people today reading is not a routine part of their experience and we believe that this is a loss.  We believe that the promotion of reading, a love of finding out new ideas and experiencing new worlds is central to the development of informed adults who establish a passion for lifelong learning and an enhanced level of vocabulary.  We would like our students to enjoy reading and to challenge their understanding of how great writers write.  We would like students to become more critical, more informed and more confident, and to be in a position in the future where they can participate in debate and discussion in an incisive and articulate manner.

Ivybridge Community College has invested considerable time and effort in trying to build our students’ love of reading.  It is great to see so many of our young people engaged in daily reading and talking with passion about the books they read.  Despite this, staff and parents will often cite that many students find it a real challenge to do themselves justice in examinations, as they struggle to decode challenging text and then use the complex academic vocabulary, required to be successful.  We must deliberately and intentionally plan to address this – hence the implementation of the Forensic Reading programme across all WeST Secondary Schools from January 2021.

What is Forensic Reading?

The aim of the programme is to support our students to establish a strong foundation of knowledge, vocabulary, understanding, phraseology and experience, which helps form a basis for success in difficult examinations and the challenges of adult life beyond their time in College.  Forensic Reading will expose our students to challenging, complex and academic texts which will not only develop their vocabulary but also their ability to appreciate what makes a great writer.  In essence, the focus is on putting language under the microscope to arrive at a deeper understanding of it (hence the word ‘Forensic’).

The Forensic Reading programme core purpose can be summarised as:

  • Supporting reading for pleasure.
  • Developing a fascination for learning new things.
  • Building the ability to contribute from an informed perspective.
  • Developing language analysis of high quality/challenging texts.
  • The development of oracy (discussion and debate are central to Forensic Reading).

There are six strands to the programme which include:

  1. Women, Suffrage and Misogyny
  2. The Spirit of Life
  3. Fragile Earth
  4. Journeys and Futures
  5. The Plates of Global Power
  6. Secrets and Lies

Each child will be given a high-quality anthology in which all of the Forensic Reading texts can be found.  They contain other visual stimuli including pictures, photos, advertisements, timelines, as well as blank boxes in which students can undertake writing activities.  The content is unapologetically hard-hitting and thought-provoking, intended to spark discussion, interest and opinions in young people.

Students in Years 7 to 9 will receive one lesson of Forensic Reading a week within their normal curriculum timetable.  Students in Year 10 will receive one lesson a fortnight.  Years 11 to 13 will currently not be participating in the programme.  The programme will be delivered by teachers from across different subject specialisms in support of the importance of literacy across the curriculum.  At Ivybridge Community College, Forensic Reading lessons will commence in September 2020.  Students will engage in a bespoke programme of wider contextual reading that mirrors the format of the Forensic Reading Anthologies and introduces the structures and expectations of these lessons.  Further information will be shared with parents/carers this term.