Literacy

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.

This document gives some examples of the strategies we use 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.

Literacy Strategies

Intent

Implementation

Impact

We have the expectation that all staff deliver a weekly literacy lesson working on specific spelling, punctuation and grammar skills during form time.

Fortnightly literacy activities are tailor-made for all form tutors to use. They are designed to address and rectify specific weaknesses in basic spelling, punctuation and grammar. Whole school CPD is delivered to all staff as compulsory training to ensure teachers are aware of how important this is for pupils and are confident in their delivery of this.

  • Pupils become accustomed to reading transactional writing that not only builds their vocabulary to discuss our Theme of the Fortnight, but enhances their cultural awareness and encourages discussion.
  • SATS data, termly assessments, and reading assessments have been used to determine specific weaknesses and targets in literacy that need to be worked on during these sessions.

We have embedded a weekly practice of independent DEAR time once a week. During form time, form tutors instruct pupils to Drop Everything And Read for an extended period of time.

The whole school reads routinely once a week during registration time. Pupils are expected to read a book for the whole form time. Reading books are a part of required equipment for our pupils. Reading for an extended period of 20-30 minutes as guided by Ofsted encourages pupils to habitually read for pleasure and enjoyment. It allows staff and pupils to celebrate reading and completing books and feel accomplished when this is achieved.

  • This independent reading programme helps students build a lifelong reading habit and refines and develops both their written and verbal oracy skills.
  • Pupils see that Literacy and reading is a whole school initiative and it’s important no matter what room they’re in.
  • Pupils who struggle to read independently can work 1-1 with their form tutor in a guided reading style to aid specific literacy struggles.
  • Tutors can select a ‘Class Read’ and read as a whole class to support confidence in reading aloud and encourage positive discussions about books and what pupils enjoy.

Our Year 7 and Year 8 cohort are timetabled a Library Lesson once a fortnight as a part of their English lessons. We use the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme to determine pupil reading ages and levels. Pupils are guided to select a book, read it and quiz on AR it within the fortnight.

Our library lessons are centered around the Accelerated Reader programme. It is a whole-class reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster the habit of independent reading among primary and early secondary pupils. Using AR, pupils take a ‘Star Reader’ test and are given a reading age and level. During this library lesson hour, students are guided by teachers towards books that interest them within their reading age. All teachers are aware of students’ current reading levels and can use this information to guide students towards progress. Via AR, teachers can set retention testing, spelling tests and vocabulary tests that are completed at the beginning or end of either these lessons or an English lesson. Pupils can take computerised quizzes on the books they have read and earn Accelerated Reader points related to difficulty. As a way of engaging our students, we also run ongoing yearly reading challenge competitions.

  • All of our pupils are able to loan books to enhance reading development.
  • All pupils have a safe and silent space to read within.
  • Class teachers are able to monitor reading ages, recommend texts and guide pupils through novels for pleasure.This actively promotes reading for all.
  • Positive effects on reading comprehension and reading achievement.
  • Once ‘Star-Reader’ tests are taken, AR suggests novels for pupils to read to challenge and inspire them.
  • Pupils are always being stretched and are never sitting within a comfort zone.
  • Accelerated Reader appears to be effective in engaging male pupils in reading, and fosters a sense of achievement and pride in their scores.
  • Pupils at very low levels of reading can grow into independent, and proud readers despite needing initial support.
  • Our school can lead robust evaluations of our planned literacy and reading interventions. During term 1 of the 2021-2022 academic year, we identified the need for 11% of KS3 pupils to receive urgent 1-1 literacy intervention. Following assessments in terms 2-6 saw a steady rise in their literacy skills.

Every child within the academy has an individual myON account; a digital reading platform providing pupils with a range of fiction and non fiction texts. We have the expectation that pupils use myON at home and within lessons when directed to.

Every pupil has access to myON. Pupils are provided with their login details when they arrive at the Academy. Pupils are able to select age and ability appropriate texts and browse the digital library for a particular topic or genre. Teachers can use myON to create reading projects, tasks and homework. myON syncs to pupil AR accounts and enables them to quiz on the texts they have read.

  • All pupils have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts which removes barriers to pupils accessing books at home.
  • myON can be accessed during independent DEAR Times.
  • Pupils are exposed to a variety of genres (fiction/ non-fiction/ magazines/ newspapers). Pupils can develop an awareness of how language changes with different types of texts.
  • Being able to quiz on myON texts encourages pupils to have a sense of personal achievement in their reading.

We aim to ensure all pupils are supported in their reading and literacy ability. Those that need extra support are selected to participate in our pupil Peer Reading Mentoring Programme.

A targeted, year-long enrichment session that is specifically designed to boost literacy levels of specifically selected pupils throughout the academic year. Run during form times, these sessions target each year group individually. Pupils are selected carefully based on reading age data. Academy Sixth formers, Year 10 students and Year 9 students are paired up with their mentees to support and guide them in 1-1 reading. Another way of branching out across phases, we also have our KS3 cohort reading alongside our Nursery students.

  • These sessions enrich students who are below their expected reading age to support students in developing their reading skills to put them in line with their age and peers.
  • The program provides a ‘safe space’ for low ability pupils to make, learn from and grow as a result of their reading mistakes.
  • It removes the pressure of teacher intervention and enables pupils to feel secure.

We aim to ensure all pupils are supported in their reading and literacy ability. Those that need extra support are selected to participate in our literacy intervention sessions using Lexia PowerUp.

Designed to help pupils primarily in KS3 to improve their basic reading and comprehension skills. However, it can also support pupils in KS4 who are struggling to access the GCSE curriculum. The program helps teachers address gaps in fundamental literacy skills while helping students build the higher-order skills they need to comprehend, analyse, evaluate, and compare increasingly complex literary and informational texts.

  • Helps to engage, challenge, and motivate students to take ownership of their learning.
  • The program features game-based motivational elements, which include: auditory and visual feedback, animated rewards, age-appropriate songs and humour and video hooks.
  • To support independent learning and maximise time on the program, it can be used at home and is available on multiple devices.

We ensure all pupils are supported in their fundamental reading and writing skills. The Step Up curriculum provides specific pupils with these skills.

The Step Up curriculum is a booster for fundamental reading and writing skills. The approach is focused on skills-based activities and tasks which covers English and literacy. Pupils undertaking these additional lessons will be taught to read a range of texts (literature/non-fiction) in a variety of forms (letters/leaflets/diaries etc.). They also cover comparison and comprehension skills.

  • Pupils are developing core literacy skills needed to access the curriculum.
  • Establishes and expands comprehension skills that engage with the content of a variety of text types and formats.
  • Pupils will cover how to effectively use vocabulary, punctuation and grammar so that their writing is coherent and accurate.
  • Pupils will also have the opportunity to develop spoken language skills.

We have the expectation that all subject Knowledge Organisers and Exercise Books have a specific focus on literacy. Literacy skills are also a part of our whole school marking policy.

Our pupils use Knowledge Organisers in all of their subjects. Using these, pupils prepare for lessons by learning specialist vocabulary, spellings and definitions of new words in advance. In all subjects, pupils are tested sometimes daily, often weekly and always termly on their retention. Our exercise books also support literacy. On each cover, pupils have access to key spellings, formulas and equations to ensure that pupils recognise the importance of successful literacy in all of their subjects. All staff use our literacy marking policy alongside their own subject mark schemes when marking pupil work.

  • Knowledge Organisers make lessons more accessible and they improve subject specific literacy. Pupils are constantly enhancing their vocabularies and appreciate the value in knowing key words and their definitions.
  • Pupils have immediate access (both at home and in class) to the spelling of key words, grammatical rules and definitions.
  • Our literacy marking policy ensures that literacy skills, weaknesses and targets are a key focus for all staff and pupils.

Within each department across the academy, a member of staff is selected as Literacy Ambassador. They guide their department in using the fortnightly literacy bulletin focus and key literacy skills.

Our Literacy Ambassadors promote the use of myON within each department by creating projects, virtual bookshelves and reading lists specific to their subject. Ambassadors also support our Literacy Focus of the Fortnight; a specific punctuation or grammar focus that subjects will support and work on during lessons. Ambassadors share resources and up to date literacy strategies to support literacy within their subject.

  • This initiative encourages a whole school literacy discussion across departments and ensures all members of staff are teachers of literacy.
  • Ambassador initiatives within departments enable pupils to recognise how to be successful in literacy within a specific subject.
  • A culture of nurturing literacy is established across the academy.

We have the expectation that all staff celebrate and encourage reading for pleasure. Using social media we have a weekly #FictionFriday initiative.

Every Friday our social media accounts display what staff are currently reading to pupils and parents. A weekly venture, this aims to encourage pupils to ask staff about the books they are reading and advertise the importance of reading frequently for pleasure.

  • By advertising staff reading habits to parents and pupils, we are creating a culture of ‘reading for pleasure’.
  • Staff model their reading habits for our pupils and encourage pupils to read independently and develop a love of reading.
  • Encourages a conversation between staff, pupils and parents about reading.