Whole School Literacy
As we are all aware, we live in a digital world where literacy is an essential skill. Literacy is a building block for effective communication and ensuring our students develop strong literacy skills is at the heart of our teaching. We know students will leave us to become more successful adults if they have the tools to communicate clearly, accurately and articulately.
Accelerated Reader and independent reading
Students in Year 7 and 8 take part in the fantastic Accelerated Reader programme. They take a reading test – or ‘STAR’ test – three times a year, which gives them a personalised range of reading books they can borrow from the library. They can also use the system to find books they might want to bring from home and check if they are the right level. Students can take quizzes on books and receive prizes. Accelerated Reader is an important part of our drive to make students more independent in their reading. We read at the start of all English lessons in y7 and 8, and we have an AR lesson once a fortnight.
The ACS Closing the Vocabulary Gap Strategy
At ACS, we are proud to have launched our fantastic whole-school literacy strategy to improve vocabulary. Each week, students across the whole school are introduced to 10 words, which will be referred to in their lessons, IHL, conversations and will be visible on the website, in classrooms and around the school. Year 7 and 8 students will complete IHL on exploring the words further, understanding meaning and developing appreciation of context, while older students will be encouraged to use them when relevant in their different subject areas. Teachers will aim to explicitly teach academic words as well as use them in conversation to support students in ‘upscaling’ their vocabulary as well as developing their use of more academic words in the correct context. Words have so far included analyse, data, specific and principle. There are weekly ‘Kahoot’ spelling quizzes in English lessons too, as evidence suggests that frequent, ‘low stakes’ quizzing can help student engagement as well as learning.
The ACS Library (or LRC)
Our wonderful Learning and Resource Centre is a real hub at the centre of our school, where students can take part in clubs such as the Concorde Reading Group and homework club, complete research, use the computers, get book recommendations and much more.
Let’s Think in English
As part of the KS3 English curriculum, students at Abbeywood take part in a critical thinking lesson once per fortnight. Using a text such as a poem, short film, non-fiction text, play or piece of prose as a starting point, students learn through discussion, encouraged to develop ideas and build on other people’s opinions, developing skills of debating, critical thinking and much more.
The ASP code – or ‘Abbeywood School Proofreading’ code
…is designed to be a simple and efficient way of checking work through before a teacher marks it. Students are responsible for checking, correcting and editing their work so it is as accurate as possible before it is marked. This allows the teacher to identify mistakes that have been made accidentally more quickly and support the student in learning strategies to avoid making the same mistake again, whilst at the same time ensuring the student takes responsibility for checking mistakes they may have made when working in a hurry.
At Abbeywood Community School, we believe in encouraging our students to become independent, but well supported, learners. The ASP code is used across the school in all subject areas, by all staff. Staff will use the code to highlight key errors, patterns or common mistakes in marking. Students will be given time to respond to feedback in their books in order to work on any proofreading issues.
We have a policy of not ‘overmarking’ mistakes. We want to develop a supportive culture where students can be safe to make mistakes and learn from them, whilst at the same time ensuring we focus on the most important errors.
Ten Top Tips To Help Your Child Become a Reader for Life
As parents, you have an important role to play in helping your child to develop their reading. Research has shown children who read regularly are more likely to succeed. Here are our top ten tips to help your child read:
- Set aside 20 minutes to sit with your child with no distractions and listen to them read.
- Let your child choose the book, you will need to make sure it is not too difficult for them or they will struggle. Pick easier books to start with so your child can build their confidence and flow.
- Be positive. Boost their confidence with positive praise for even the smallest achievement.
- Be patient.
- Keep the reading flow going. If your child makes a mistake, give them time to self-correct. It is also sometimes better to tell them an unknown word to keep momentum and interest going than make them sound it out.
- Listen to your child read at least 3-5 times a week. Little and often will make a big difference.
- Talk about what they have just read. Ask your child to tell you about the characters, what has happened so far, what they think will happen and what their favourite part is.
- Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials: magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, comics as well as books.
- Ask your child to read aloud material which interests both of you, like a newspaper article about your favourite activity, a recipe you are trying to make or a review in the TV guide.
- Visit your local library to look for new books to read.