‘Language and literacy provide us with the building blocks not just for academic success, but for fulfilling careers and rewarding lives’
At Shoreham Academy, we are working hard to promote our students’ literacy and ensure they all achieve to the very best of their ability. We believe all teachers are teachers of literacy, that every teacher communicates their subject through academic language, and that reading, writing, speaking and listening are at the heart of knowing.
We place high value on reading fluently, widely and often. Students are encouraged to read books across a variety of genres and authors. We have an excellent librarian and library facility we are proud of with a range of interesting books for every learner and all abilities. Every child in Y7 and Y8 is gifted a book each year. We also have ‘book drops’ in the RED (ReadEveryDay) boxes so students and teachers can pick up and swap a book any time they like.
Our daily mentor time is structured so that students in Years 7-11 participate in our comprehensive reading programme. The reading programme is designed to expose students to high quality children’s literature and non-fiction articles and develop a love of reading. We have carefully selected a catalogue of novels and texts that mentor groups will read as a group throughout the year. The texts are read by students and the mentor aloud and there is always a focus on discussing important points in the story as well as gathering vocabulary and looking closely at the writer’s craft. The central aim of this programme is to model excellent oracy, develop students’ appreciation of literature and immerse students into different worlds enhancing cultural capital.
Throughout the school day, during lessons and around the school, students are encouraged to use Standard English and speak and write in full sentences in conversations with both their peers in addition to adults. Our whole school ‘Word of the Week’ displayed on the screens provides a discussion point for students and staff outside of the classroom.
Weekly spelling tests at KS3 encourage students to take care and notice the accuracy of their writing. We expect students to be learning and revisiting their spellings each week. Students should use the Look, Cover, Write, Check, model to learn their words each week and should aim to secure as many as possible.
We have a range of programmes in school to support students who struggle with their literacy. This could be in the form of small group intervention, breakfast club, in-class intervention or intensive courses delivered through our ILS department in the form of Lexia, D.I or SALT. We use a range of assessments to understand students’ literacy skills including external assessments such as National Group Reading Tests in Y7 and Y8.
To develop a love of reading we encourage students to be involved with many activities and events hosted by our Literacy team and Librarian. More information about this can be found on Firefly page Reading+.
Our approach to developing Literacy is underpinned by research from the National Literacy Trust and EEF. The National Literacy Trust believes that parents are their children's first role models and have a strong influence on their reading habits and ongoing learning. We encourage students to develop their love of reading and set the weekly homework of students at KS3 reading at least 30 mins, five times a week. In English we use CommonLit as a programme to support students with their written work and comprehension.
How can you support your child at home?
- Be enthusiastic and encourage your child to be a reader: even if you are not.
- Ask questions; show an interest in what they are reading, get them to predict what might happen, who their favourite character is… it makes a massive difference.
- Reading at home can include listening to your child read, reading with them or simply making sure they are given the opportunity to read independently.
- Encourage your child to read a range of materials such as newspaper articles, blogs and non-fiction text as well as fiction. Many students prefer non-fiction like biographies or anthologies of shorter extracts, this is perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged.
- Graphic novels and comics can often engage even the most reluctant of readers.
- Test your child regularly on their spellings and encourage them to look up definitions of unfamiliar vocabulary in a dictionary.
- Encourage your child to check their written work for errors. Sometimes this can simply be a case of reading their work aloud to you or to themselves. This can often encourage students to see their own errors.
- Be as helpful as you can in helping your child write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. Sometimes writing out a short plan can really focus students and help them to structure their work more effectively.