The Long Eaton School believe that reading is the gateway to all learning. Literacy underpins the whole school curriculum by developing students’ abilities to communicate, read and write for a wide range of purposes.
High levels of literacy have a positive impact on what students can access in school and how they see themselves. Crucially, we believe that literate students will ultimately emerge as confident and articulate communicators, fully prepared to enter the adult world, whether to continue their academic studies or to excel in the workplace.
We believe that students should be actively engaged in developing their literacy skills at every stage of their development. To that end we are developing a number of initiatives to improve students’ ability in all disciplines of literacy.
How do we support the development of pupil literacy?
Literacy support in lessons
All our staff know a school priority is to support students to become fluent readers. As a result of this, across the school staff are using strategies to help the support of literacy in their everyday practice. Word Walls with tiered vocabulary are on display in classrooms to enrich the learning environments in each subject. Whilst staffs’ lessons take advantage of a range of literacy techniques as part of our offer of quality first wave teaching. This could be reciprocal reading strategies, Frayer models to understand key vocabulary or asking open ended questions to develop students oracy skills.
We have invested in a brilliant online resource that helps us to support targeted students to develop their reading ability. As part of our literacy support, students will use the programme to develop and test their comprehension of key vocabulary and content within a story. Thus aiding students’ memory and helping them to comprehend the text being read. This is all done alongside a member of the teaching support staff (reading mentor) that helps them with their fluency and word recognition, through the use of reciprocal reading techniques. Our staff are trained to help support learners with reading and the platform gives us a wealth of data to track and monitor progress for our targeted groups.
Tutor Time Reading
At The Long Eaton School, we know how important reading is for our students and we want to encourage all of our students to challenge themselves with books that broaden their horizons and imaginations. Our tutor time reading programme builds a community of reading through a shared experience of powerful stories that explore elements of young peoples’ lives and some of the social, emotional and mental challenges they endure.
KS3 read routinely once a week during registration time. This programme helps students build a lifelong reading habit and refines and develops both their knowledge of vocabulary and oracy skills through the use of reciprocal reading techniques used by staff. Teachers read with their form groups during this time, modelling the fluency and pronunciation of vocabulary with students. Year 7 and 8 read different fiction texts throughout the year. While Year 9, are given a diet of non-fiction texts with a focus on different subject area specialisms and current affairs.
Our Year 7 and 8 cohort have opportunities to visit the Library as part of the English curriculum. During this hour, students are guided towards books that interest them; leading on to activities which further develop their individual reading age. These activities could consist of retention testing, vocabulary quizzes or reflection tasks on texts studied. These are completed at the beginning or end the lesson.
All teachers have access to students’ current reading levels and can use this information to guide students towards progress or support them within their subject area.
Additional Literacy Lessons
Reading and writing are key to a child’s development and are skills needed to access the adult world fully. Whether students attend university or not, as they get older, they will be expected to complete more sophisticated reading and writing tasks. To support Year 7 and 8 pupils an extra English lesson has been added to the curriculum. This has allowed the English department to deliver Ark Mastery lessons to students to develop their understanding of written English and the rules of grammar. It has also allowed us to introduce an extra reading lesson separate to the English curriculum to allow staff to develop students reading ability and recognition of vocabulary.
As a school we use a phonics intervention programme to assist students in accessing the mainstream curriculum and further embedding their literacy skills. The additional curriculum is led by trained staff and has been developed as an extra support for targeted students, who arrive to us with low levels of literacy understanding.
At The Long Eaton School we feel it is important to set about making excellent progress in your child’s learning by reinforcing crucial information beyond the classroom. Research indicates that the most effective homework for younger students is carefully organised and monitored. To help structure this important aspect of their learning they are issued with a Knowledge Organiser. The purpose of this is to set well-structured and challenging homework that strengthens their understanding of key information, concepts and subject specific terminology directly related to the syllabuses that inform their GCSE examinations.
Using these Knowledge Organisers, pupils prepare for lessons by learning Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary, spellings and definitions of new words in advance. Not only making lessons more accessible, but improving subject-specific literacy. In all subjects, students are tested sometimes daily, often weekly and always termly on their retention. Below is a link to our knowledge organiser page:
Our Library at The Long Eaton School is an amazing resource for students, packed full with an array of brilliant fiction and non-fiction books to support reading for pleasure. Competitions and extra-curricular clubs help our students to feel confident and comfortable in this brilliant space.
If you need any support or any more information in regards to literacy, please get in contact with Mrs L McMaster, Literacy Coordinator.