At Friesland School, we take Literacy seriously and we recognise that language is crucial to the development of thought. Through language, learners explore their world and their views of it. Speaking and listening, reading and writing are therefore inseparable, interdependent and of equal importance. Literacy is taught as an integral part of the whole school curriculum and holds a key position as such. In all subjects across the curriculum, we strive to support students in their Literacy development. We fully believe that these skills are not only essential for being successful in accessing the curriculum, at Friesland School, but also vital for life outside of school and to enable students to make a positive contribution to the world we share. All Friesland School staff receive regular literacy CPD, and we have many whole-school initiatives to promote and improve Literacy.
Trust Literacy Strategies
During tutor time, each week, students are introduced to the Trust wide ‘Word of the Week’. Reading Reconsidered by Doug Lemov has informed our approach to word of the week and students are taught a specific model of vocabulary instruction. They are provided with the definition, the word in a variety of different contexts and an opportunity to discuss and apply their understanding of the word. All students have a vocabulary book they keep with them to add, not only the ‘Word of the Week,’ but any other new vocabulary they learn.
All teachers, at Friesland School, have recommended a fiction book to students and these are displayed around the school to promote a love of reading to our students. They are also used as a discussion point, during DEAR, to expose students to as many new fiction choices as possible.
From March 2022, all students will have access to a fiction reading list with recommendations, from librarians across the Trust, of books they may wish to access via the library. These recommendations vary in their level of challenge to make them accessible to all of our students. They are also part of the Accelerated Reader scheme at school.
In lessons, students are expected to speak in full sentences to ensure that they are articulating themselves clearly and developing their understanding of new content and ideas. This will then enable students to express themselves, in greater detail, during their written work as well. Students are supported to ‘say it better.’
School Based Literacy Strategies
Year 6 students, from all primary feeder schools, receive a free book to read over their summer break, together with an activity pack to support their comprehension. This book then feeds into the English curriculum for the first half term. This is to show our new students how seriously we take reading at Friesland School.
As part of their English curriculum in years 7, 8 and 9 students take part in Accelerated Reader and have a weekly library lesson. In order to support this, students read for the first ten minutes of period 1 and period 4 each day.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers and librarians manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) Accelerated Reader gives children, teachers, and librarians feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
Teachers and librarians help your child choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
Further information can be accessed via this link
As part of Accelerated Reader, we are able to keep track of each student’s word count. Using this information, students are challenged to climb their reading mountain by demonstrating commitment, resilience and enthusiasm for their reading. The intrinsic motivation which sits behind this means every student can climb their mountain. Students may well find the terrain and altitude tough but their ambition to succeed will take them to the summit.
Students also have a reading record to allow them to keep track of their reading and word count. As students reach each summit, they are issued with a certificate of recognition by their English teacher.
- Kinder Scout: 100,000 words
- Ben Nevis: 250,000 words
- Mont Blanc: 500,000 words
- Mount Fuji: 750,000 words
- Mount Everest: 1,000,000 words
In order to support the development of literacy skills, targeted intervention takes place in Year 7 and 8, if deemed necessary, to help pupils to catch up with their peers as quickly and effectively as possible, in order to maximise access to the secondary curriculum. These lessons are run by experienced ‘booster’ teachers who work in small groups, providing a bespoke literacy scheme designed to maximise progress and support students.
Students who are identified as ‘on watch’ through Accelerated Reader, also have ‘inference training’ as a form of regular intervention. These lessons follow a set lesson format, where students closely read an extract from a text and complete a variety of activities which develop their reading and inference skills. Progress in these sessions is identified through the use of the Accelerated Reader testing.
Each half term, students are given the opportunity to drop everything and read, at the start of every lesson, for ten minutes. This is to raise the profile of extra-curricular reading and to show students how seriously we take reading at Friesland. During this time, teachers read with students and discuss their own reading and favourite books. We hope by doing this to cultivate a love of reading in our students.
The school librarians run a ‘gifted reader’ group for students in Year 7. Students who are shown to have a very high reading age, via the NGRT reading test, are invited to this group. During the meetings, students are involved in book club discussions, writing book reviews to promote a love of reading and extra curricula activities linked to reading. It is designed to sustain a love of reading in our most gifted group of reading and ensure they have access to challenging books.
All students have their reading age tested every year, via NGRT. This is in order to ensure students are progressing in their reading and are accessing reading material at an appropriate level. It also allows teachers and support assistants to identify any potential gaps and support students as necessary. Furthermore, it allows all teaching staff to ensure work is pitched at appropriate level and scaffold up, as necessary.
How you can help
- Ensure your child reads for pleasure on a regular basis
- Reading for at least twenty minutes a day will ensure your child progresses in their learning
- Listen to your child read and discuss the book with your child
- Share novels together at home
- Listen to audio books to expose your child to new vocabulary
- Encourage your child to take their Accelerated Reader quizzes
- Ensure they learn their spelling corrections