Literacy at Lavington School
At Lavington School we believe that improving all students' literacy levels will enable them to succeed in all the subjects they study and in life outside of school. We aim to give students opportunities to read regularly in and outside of lessons
We take a disciplinary approach to literacy and set out to do the following:
- Teach academic vocabulary, using specific strategies, within tutor time and in subject areas
- Develop reading for meaning within subject areas focusing reading like a scientist or a linguist (for example)
- Developing students' oracy skills to improve their writing skills in each subject
- Develop subject specific writing skills within each subject area
Alongside subject specific and whole school approaching we have a plan of intervention to support students who join Lavington with reading ages below their chronological age
At Lavington School in the 2021 academic year, we have 4 priorities of our whole school focus which are set out here:
Priority 1: CPD for all teaching staff to develop their understanding of reading and explicit vocabulary teaching
Priority 2: Ensure students with low reading ages are catered for in class and in intervention groups
CPD is delivered on the following areas
Students with low reading ages and those below ARE are identified early
Priority 3: Embed disciplinary literacy strategies within curriculum areas
Priority 4: Develop and embed whole school literacy approaches
We are taking part in the Wiltshire Year of Reading initiative developed by Wiltshire Council. The Wiltshire Year of Reading is a programme to inspire young people to read for pleasure, to enjoy the written word through a host of activities and encourage the wider community to take part.
As part of the Wiltshire Year of Reading, all schools in the county have been invited to sign up to a reading awards scheme that enhances reading in each school through a series of milestones to reach bronze, silver, and gold. Schools who achieve the gold award can become ‘beacon reading schools’, sharing their outstanding practice with others. To mark the achievement of each stage, schools will receive certificates.
We subscribed to the marvelous Bookbuzz scheme, for all our year 7 students. Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book (for free) to take home and keep from a list of 17 titles. They are all carefully selected by a panel of experts to ensure quality, suitability and to encourage reading for pleasure.
There are other activities throughout the year, book club, Carnegie shadowing, World Book Day, competitions involving recommending books, making models of books or characters, designing bookmarks, or contributing to displays.
The library also supports national and school initiatives/themes with displays and resources for Black History Month, Mental Health and Well-being week, LGBTQ+, Neurodiversity and so on.
The library is accessible to students at break times, the library catalogue and book recommendation lists are available to view online here: https://www.lavington.wilts.sch.uk/Curriculum/Library/
We also have a range of resources to support the curriculum as well as other interests of our students.
KS3 reading challenges
Within our English timetable, all our KS3 classes will visit the library frequently to access the range of books on offer in the library. Lavington students are encouraged to read for pleasure and KS3 students have a timetabled reading lesson every week. In these weekly reading lessons, students are encouraged to read widely.
Each term we introduce three termly reading challenges to engage and challenge our students. These challenges involve reading:
- A book which has been recommended to them (by a friend, a teacher or librarian)
- A short story or poem written by someone of a different culture
- A book that falls into the fantasy, thriller/mystery or science fiction/dystopian genre
- A bestselling book
- A book based on a historical event (fiction or non-fiction)
- A story with a female heroine or a male protagonist
- An autobiography or memoir
- A book which is the first in a series
- A book with a non-white author
- A play or drama
Students are awarded with E-Praise points for the successful completion of a termly reading challenge. Students are also regularly provided with opportunities to reflect on their reading by choosing from a selection of post-reading activities. These activities include writing a summary of what they have read, explaining what they thought about a particular character, event, or theme, reviewing what they have read, choosing a key moment in the book, and changing the event. The possibilities are endless!
During these weekly reading lessons, some classes may read or listen to a book together to support students' understanding. Other classes have been provided with reading journals allowing the individual student to reflect on their personal reading goals and achievements.
Tutor time literacy
All year groups follow a programme once per week in tutor time for 30 minutes each week
The activities include vocabulary teaching of morphology (prefixes, suffices and word roots) and exploring the etymology (word history) of academic vocabulary
Students will also read and listen to audiobooks of key texts
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers manage, monitor and improve students' comprehension and independent reading.
The first step is to take a STAR reading test, a computerised reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. The difficulty level of the questions is continually adjusted according to the student’s responses. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes
The test results will recommend a suitable range of reading levels the student should work within. Students choose a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they take a short quiz about the book on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication that they understood what was read.
Accelerated Reader gives both students and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help set targets, rewards, and direct ongoing reading practice.
Units of sound
Units of Sounds is an English language intervention programme, which supports the improvement of spellings through a multi-sensory approach. It is undertaken during tutor time with a Teaching Assistant up to twice a week. It can be combined with other literacy interventions.
Students with low reading ages, more than 2 years below their chronological reading age, in year 7 will complete a program based upon sight reading to develop fluency in the 100 most frequently-used words in term 1 & 2 of year 7 after reading age assessments are complete.
In tutor time Students with low reading ages, more than 2 years below their chronological reading age, in year 7 will complete paired reading with older students (year 11 and 6th form students)
A quick guide to paired reading which can be used by parents too:
A small number of students in year 8 & 9 follow an adapted curriculum
In Curriculum Studies, students develop their reading, writing and oracy skills. The aim of these lessons is to give students extra support in these core areas. Topics may include reading and exploring Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ and Louis Sachar’s ‘Holes’, recreating traditional stories, writing gothic stories and discovering travel writing. These lessons involve regular activities to improve student’s comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar.