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Literacy at Northfield

Literacy is the key that unlocks a child’s future – we believe literacy is that important and it’s why we dedicate time and resources to developing literacy for all. 

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We know that, when children can read with fluency and accuracy, they can learn more simply because they can access not only our curriculum but also gain new knowledge for themselves.  To that end, we have a number of strategies aimed at developing literacy, details of which can be found below.

We are driven by the desire that every child should enjoy reading, not just for the academic benefits that it brings but also for the sheer pleasure of doing so and as such we have a wide range of strategies aimed at promoting a love of reading.  We have a fabulously well-resourced library which, from very early in Year 7, pupils are introduced to and have lessons in. We use the Accelerated Reader package that helps us to ensure that pupils are not only reading at a level that will help them to develop their reading skills and associated vocabulary and fluency but also track their reading habits so that we can suggest new and exciting avenues of discovery for them.  We ensure that pupils are rewarded for the progress that they make within Accelerated Reader, no matter what their starting point happens to be.

We believe that literacy should be woven into as much of school life as is possible, so much so that we have a colleague that oversees Literacy Across the Curriculum.  In every subject, opportunities to develop literacy have been identified on long-term plans and staff have identified our ‘Recommended Reads’ with the intention of inspiring curiosity whilst also enabling pupils to extend their knowledge outside, and independent of, the classroom.  We use these texts as rewards wherever we can; we have given recommended reads to those pupils with exceptional or improving attendance, as summer holiday reading, for demonstrating our core values or simply as a reward for showing a real enthusiasm or thirst for learning in lessons.

As part of the Accelerated Reader package, we collect and make use of reading ages.  At one end, using a reading age might see a teacher ensure that a piece of text used in a lesson is appropriate for the pupils in front of them.  At the other end of the spectrum, it may help us to identify those children who are really struggling to read and as such need extra support with phonics.  We have a number of colleagues who are trained to deliver a recognised phonics programme and some of pupils have discrete phonics lessons on their timetables.  These pupils are thoroughly screened so that colleagues can support them with exactly what they need.  Some pupils, whilst presenting with a reading age below their chronologic age, might not need support with phonics but still need help to develop their reading fluency and comprehension.  This is where our work on reciprocal reading and oracy is especially useful, the academic basis of which comes from the EEF (reciprocal reading and oracy).  These strategies are used by colleagues in a variety of ways, for instance in a one-to-one session or perhaps as part of a whole class scenario when dissecting a piece of extended writing or some exam stimulus.

One question that we love to hear is ‘how can I help at home?’.  We are absolutely delighted to have that kind of support from home and so we’ve prepared a few easy-to-follow prompts that can easily help develop the reading of any young person.