A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.
- Sasha Salmina
What is Literacy?
Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world. Literacy and numeracy are the fundamental skills that every young person needs to be able to function and make progress at school, work and in society in general. Improved literacy leads to improved self-esteem and motivation; it enables students to learn independently and it is personally empowering.
Literacy at Westbourne
We believe that literacy should be intrinsically woven into the fabric of school life and involve all staff; particularly considering the increased rigour and challenge of the new Key Stage 4 examination courses. Literacy skills underpin student progression across all subjects and consequently, all teachers at the academy, regardless of subject specialism, are teachers of literacy and take opportunities to embed literacy practice within their lessons.
Literacy across the Curriculum at Westbourne
We are fully committed to improving students' literacy skills at every opportunity. Teachers take part in regular INSET training on literacy in order to best support student progress in lessons. Some of the approaches to literacy in the classroom that are implemented at Westbourne, are detailed below:
Literacy Marking Symbols
Academy staff mark pupils’ work according to a consistent set of guidelines, allowing students to recognize the symbols and be able to make improvements more easily. These symbols are printed onto the front of all student exercise books and folders across the academy. Students respond to feedback given and make corrections and improvements to their work using purple pen.
Subject Literacy Mats – Subject specific literacy mats are used in lessons to help develop the skills and knowledge of the students. They feature key vocabulary, command words, examination concepts and extended writing frames.
Literacy Focus – A fortnightly literacy topic is shared with students and highlighted in lessons by staff to develop student literacy skills within the specific areas. These are also displayed on screens around the academy to increase visibility and engagement. The archive of Literacy Focus topics can be found here.
SPaG Superhero – A fortnightly quiz taken by students in all year groups during VT time. The focus of the SPaG Superhero quiz is linked to the literacy focus topic for the fortnight and aims to improve pupil’s knowledge and understanding. Tutors record pupil results and house points are awarded for students who maintain or improve their score.
Accelerated Reader – A programme aimed to support and monitor pupils’ reading practice. All students in Years 7 & 8 follow the programme which involves them reading books and completing quizzes on them. When students pass the quiz they move on to a more difficult book. On four occasions during the academic year we test students' reading ages. These reading ages are shared with their class teachers so that they can plan work at the appropriate level. A Parent’s Guide to Accelerated Reader can be found here.
Reading Books – Students in all year groups at Westbourne are expected to carry their reading books with them as part of their daily equipment. Students are asked to read silently during tutor time at least once a week.
Additional Literacy Support
As an academy, we aim to support all students who require extra help with their literacy skills, in terms of reading, writing and spelling. We offer a range of intervention programmes and ensure that students are placed into the appropriate intervention group, according to their specific needs. Parents are informed by letter of the literacy interventions in which their child is involved.The interventions that we currently offer are as follows:
- Catch Up Literacy
- 1:1 Dyslexia
In addition to the above, we will shortly be launching a handwriting improvement programme.
Working Together to Improve Literacy
We believe that regular reading is vital to academic success. Please help your child to improve their reading abilty by listening to them read at home. The Department for Education have published a booklet for parents, with advice on supporting your child with reading. This can be found here.
Accelerated Reader has a website called Home Connect which enables you to check on their progress: https://ukhosted5.renlearn.co.uk/2589695/HomeConnect
You will need your child's username and password to log in. You can use the website to view their overall progress and how they have scored in the quizzes. Additionally, the website also provides details on your son/daughter’s reading targets. The 'My Bookshelf' function allows you to see the books which they have read and how they have scored with each individual quiz. You can also opt in to receive emails when they have taken quizzes by clicking on the 'Email Setup' button. It is important that students read for at least 15 minutes every day - regular reading is the key to excellent progress.
Should you have any questions or queries with accessing the Accelerated Reader website, please contact Ms Abbott via e-mail: email@example.com