Literacy

We are committed to promoting whole school literacy across all year groups in order to support their learning and raise standards.

Literacy underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ ability to: speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. We know helping students to express themselves clearly orally and in writing enhances and enriches teaching and learning in all subjects.

Knowing how to spell correctly, how to read and write well, and how best to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings are all vital life skills that will help children not just in school or in exams, but in the wider world of work and life as a whole.

We are committed to developing literacy skills in all our students, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards in all subject areas. Language is the prime medium through which students learn and express themselves across the curriculum, and all teachers have a stake in effective literacy

  • Ensuring students have opportunities to read in English lessons as part of our mastery curriculum
  • Using our tutors as role models to express enthusiasm and passion for reading
  • Every tutor group (Year 7 -11) having three tutor times per week dedicated to reading
  • Using data from reading assessments at key transition points to identify students who need additional reading support
  • Encouraging your child to read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Encouraging your child to make predictions about the book they are reading
  • Take them to local libraries or bookshops and encourage them to select books they are interested in
  • Ensure your child’s book is appropriate for their ability - too challenging will put them off and too easy may not be rewarding
  • Read yourself. It is helpful if children see their parents reading
  • Audio books could be used to help create interest in an author and improve creativity and imagination
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to express views on the text e.g. plot, setting, mood and character
  • Identify language devices a writer uses e.g. adjectives, similes and metaphors
  • Research the context of the novel e.g. World War Two, the Victorian era or a particular culture or country
  • Identifying the technical vocabulary for every scheme of learning/topic and ensuring they are available either as a list for exercise books or displayed in lessons
  • Supporting students with the use of accurate SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar)
  • Rewarding high standards of presentation in exercise books
  • Promoting strategies in every subject to encourage and support students who struggle to write
  • Providing literacy support for struggling writers
  • Ask to see their exercise books regularly and ask them about what they are doing
  • Aid them in correcting spelling errors
  • Encourage your child to improve their vocabulary by selecting different words to enhance their range. Admit any spelling difficulties of your own but encourage an inquisitive approach by looking words up online
  • Encourage your child to learn challenging spellings especially technical academic language
  • We have a set of five agreed strategies all teachers will use in all subjects to support speaking
  • Always using full sentences
  • Promoting the use of formal standard English
  • Actively listening to the teacher and peers
  • Supporting students by using sentence starters
  • Using and promoting technical vocabulary to support students in accessing academic text and to speak in the manner their subject requires
  • We are developing a culture of debating across the school    
  • When your child comes home try talking to them about their day and the things they have been doing.  You can also try the websites listed below for guidance. The websites include activities for your child and information and advice for parents. Try to use “open questions” that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead of “Did you have a good day?” try asking “What was the best part of your day today?” This will encourage your child to share more information about their school day
  • Talking with others is a great way to develop vocabulary; the more we talk, the more we pick up on different words that other people may use
  • Encourage your child to talk and share their opinions
  • Encourage your child to talk to people of all ages, they could read aloud to younger siblings, explaining the story as they go or sit with grandparents and older relatives and talk about their own experiences in life
  • Weekly literacy boost lessons – all Year 7 students do an extra lesson a week (separate lessons from and different to English lessons) focusing on specific literacy skills such as: spellings, grammar, punctuation and reading comprehension. This allows for bespoke, targeted intervention.
  • Regular reading age testing and intervention – students are tested termly for their reading age, which will be tracked and monitored carefully to ensure your child does not fall behind. Reading age is vital; most GCSE exams have a reading age of 16.
  • WOW words (Word of the Week) – students focus on ‘WOW’ words once a week in form time. We look at the Greek and Latin stems/roots to better prepare students to develop networks of understanding. Students are challenged and encouraged to use these WOW words in their lessons and verbal responses.
  • DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) – DEAR occurs weekly for Year 7 and 8 students on a rotating basis for 30 minutes. In this time, students read a non-fiction text that builds up their reading for meaning and oracy skills through group discussion.
  • Book Buzz – all students in Year 7 will get a free book, as arranged by the school’s Librarians, Mrs Thornley and Mrs Rushton.
  • Reading genre challenge – new for September 2020, Year 7 to Year 9 students will be given a ‘reading passport’ with a list of recommended novels based around the topics and units they will study in English lessons. Students can win bronze, silver and gold badges to wear on their blazer lapels and wear with pride for accomplishing the tasks and rising to the challenge!
  • Writing competitions – there is regular opportunity for writing com-petitions. If your child is a budding J.K. Rowling in the making, a future Poet Laureate or the next playwright of the century… this will be perfect for them to unleash their creativity!
  • The writing revolution – students’ writing skills will be developed using the ‘Writing Revolution’ method in all lessons.
  • Learning Resource Centre (LRC) – the LRC is at the heart of the Academy’s love of reading. We have over 11,000 books to choose from including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels and manga!
  • Book fairs – we hold scholastic book fairs at least once a year allowing students to buy books at discounted prices.
  • Buddy reading – our prefects and student volunteers spend form time with selected Y7 students in the LRC, listening to them read.
  • Author visits – previously, we’ve had author Matt Dickenson come to the Academy for the second time to talk to students about his climb of Mount Everest and to give out signed copies of his books The North Face and The Everest Files! Other visiting authors have included: Paula Rawson, Joh Mayhew, Tom Palmer, Dreadlock Alien, G.P. Taylor, Kjartan Poskitt, Matt Dickinson and Andy Briggs!
  • Trips – previous trips include a visit to Bromley House Library, a stunning independent lending library in Nottingham! Other trips also include a visit to the prestigious British Library.
  • National and local events – we get involved in local and national events such as Derbyshire School’s Book Awards, The Carnegie Medal, National Poetry Day and World Book Day to name but a few! Students are invited to join reading groups for these events which are very well attended and show how a love of reading can lead to a successful career.

For more information contact our Literacy Co-ordinator, Miss Green [email protected]