Literacy at the Academy

We believe that all teachers are teachers of Literacy. A range of activities are ingrained within each subject’s core curriculum and in every day Academy life. The development of strong literacy improves the life chances of young people and gives them the key skills that are the fundamentals of everyday life.  Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking and listening; all of which are developed each day and are a core element of all curriculum areas. 

The document on the link below give some examples of the strategies we use with pupils to nurture and develop the literacy of all of our pupils. These are strategies that are not confined to the Academy and they are areas that can be practised and developed at home. 

Below are some examples of the strategies we use with pupils to nurture and develop the literacy of all of our pupils.

Spelling strategies

  • Break it into sounds (d-i-a-r-y)
  • Break it into syllables (re-mem-ber)
  • Use a mnemonic (necessary – one collar, two sleeves)
  • Say it as it sounds (Wed-nes-day)
  • Words within words (parliament – I AM parliament)
  • Use a key word: process as a key word for excess, recess, etc.
  • Visual memory (look-cover-write-check)

Introducing new key words and subject specific vocabulary

Introduction to the word:

  • Introduce the word & write it on the board.
  • Say the word.
  • Ask pupils to say the word out loud.
  • Ask pupils to read the word as it is used.
  • Ask pupils to use the word in a description or explanation. Write it on card and put it on display for the rest of the scheme of work
  • Use subject specific vocabulary in starters, use total recall quizzes to test the retention of subject specific vocabulary

Literacy in Form Time

The whole school reads at some point in the week during registration time. Drop Everything and Read is an initiative, which has been wholeheartedly embraced across the Academy. This independent reading program helps students build a lifelong reading habit.

Teachers will work with small groups and read a novel to them during this time while others listen to students reading their novel out loud. It’s great to see the whole school community engrossed in their book!

Further intervention in place for KS3 includes the literacy focussed ‘HoH Spelling Bee’ which takes place during form time and is led by form tutors across the Academy to develop and challenge the spelling ability of students.

Twice a year a book fair aimed at KS3 is held by the English department encouraging readers to further develop their interest in reading at home.

Afterschool clubs which help to promote positive engagement with literacy such as NaNoWriMo club, which challenged students to write a novel in the month of November, are also available to all students.


Peer Reading Mentoring Programme

This is a targeted, year-long enrichment session that is specifically designed to boost their literacy levels throughout this academic year.

The scheme is a great opportunity for your child to spend quality time with a variety of texts that build on their existing reading skills. This will benefit their performance in English and across other subjects.

The Peer Reading Mentor Programme enriches students who are below their expected reading age. With regular, monitored reading exercises. Academy sixth formers, year 10 students and year 9 students are reading mentors to younger students, supporting targeted students across KS3 with their reading, once a week, during form time. Miss Kenny (Key Stage Three English Leader) leads this programme.

Library lessons

Years 7 and 8 have a library lesson each fortnight, as one of their English lessons, in which the class teacher and Librarian guide students toward books which interest them; leading on activities, which further develop individual reading age. All teachers are aware of current reading level of their students and can use this information to guide students toward progress. Sometimes teachers will work with small groups and listens to them read, while other groups will read a novel as a group to support their reading.

Further to this, each week groups from the primary school are invited to listen to stories, read to them by year 8 pupils in the library space. In this way, the library environment alongside reading is ingrained as a skill from the outset.

To help support your child’s progress even further, there are a number of things you can do to help at home:

  • Reading for as minimum of 30 minutes every night.
  • Reading a variety of genres (fiction/ non-fiction/ magazines/ newspapers) to develop awareness of how language changes with different types of texts.
  • Writing reviews/ offering recommendations
  • Visiting the local library
  • Read the book then watch the film – discuss differences and similarities in the story and why there are any changes
  • Creating a ‘To Read’ list for the year with a target to complete ‘x’ amount of books.


Extra Literacy Lessons – Read Write

Reading and writing are key to a childs development and are skills needed to access the adult world fully. Whether students attend university or not, as they get older, they will be expected to complete more sophisticated reading and writing tasks.

To support Year 7 and 8 pupils in further embedding their literacy and numeracy skills, Read Write has been developed as an additional support for targeted pupils, in the place of accessing a Modern Foreign Language. This involves engaging with and mastering literacy and numeracy across a wide range of activities including silent reading, spellings, brain gym and a differentiated core literacy skill.

Reading a variety of texts in these lessons, helps students to develop their general, social and cultural knowledge of the world around them. Non-fiction reading also contributes greatly to this development, as tasks such as reading a medicine prescription, parking ticket, information leaflet or household bill, can present a challenge if reading age is not addressed. Seasonal projects are designed to enable students to engage in speaking and listening tasks, such as: presentations, hot seating and debates allowing students to practise the relevant skills required for their language GCSEs. The projects are designed so that students do not feel pressured or embarrassed about speaking aloud to an audience, which many of them do!

Completing varying basic and 'day-to-day' writing tasks; including but not exclusive to letter writing, postcard writing, descriptive, emotive and narrative writing, allows students to further develop their abilities to access key writing skills needed for life. Further to this, many people find writing to be therapeutic, and a helpful way to express feelings that cannot be expressed so easily by speaking.

Read write allows all children to access the basic skills needed to develop all of the above.