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Literacy/reading

At the academy, we are working to improve the literacy levels of students, particularly since the introduction of exam reforms in 2017 which have increased rigour and made high levels of literacy a pre-requisite for being able to access the curriculum at all key stages. Our literacy strategy has been written to focus on: vocabulary, reading and writing.

Vocabulary has been a key focus of curriculum design and there has been a whole school approach to teaching new vocabulary. Key vocabulary is being built into lessons to encourage students to use them in their written and oral answers. Staff encourage academic talk in their lessons and ask students to say their answers again but better, if they are not appropriately academic in tone. There is also a word of the week shared in tutorial so that tier 2 vocabulary is taught across the academy.

We are trying to develop reading for pleasure amongst all of our young people. There is a young librarians scheme, regular competitions in the library and book reviews highlighted in assemblies, broadcasts and social media. In addition, we have recently introduced tutor led reading in Key Stage 3. Within tutorial once a week a tutor led reading session will take place (please see the tutor-led reading section on the site). Students will be given a 'class read' which is a book to share and discuss together with the aim of encouraging and improving reading and raising the profile of reading for pleasure. Students will engage with the text by using the reciprocal reader technique. The texts will be no more than 5 hours to read. A full list of our texts can also be found in the tutor-led reading section.

Alongside reading for pleasure, within the curriculum there is a focus on ensuring that students have access to quality texts. All of our teaching is linked to an academic piece of reading. This may be a short article, journal, extract from a book etc. The aim of this is to allow students to engage with high quality texts as well as exposing them to different vocabulary.

Additionally, all students in Year 7 have English library lessons whereby they read an appropriate reading level book and complete accelerated reader tasks. Students continue with the Accelerated Reader programme into Year 8.

To support our weakest readers we have a robust reading intervention programme led by our SENDCO. Students in Years 7 and 8 work in small intervention groups and develop their phonics or take part in accelerated reading to ensure they develop their fluency. Our weakest readers in Year 9 and above are improving their reading through the use of the 'Star' reading programme. Moreover, our SENCO works with teachers to ensure students receive targeted help they need in lessons.

book of the month