The Accord Multi Academy Trust believes that good literacy skills are essential for all pupils. As a trust we understand that without good literacy skills pupils are held back at every stage of their life from health and wellbeing to employment and finance. We believe that every pupil, regardless of their ability or context should be supported to develop the very best literacy skills possible including being able to become confident speakers, attentive listeners, fluent readers and skilled writers. We understand these skills are key not only to the academic success of our pupils across their curriculum, but more importantly to their future successes beyond education.
Within the Accord Multi Academy Trust we strive to achieve the following:
- Ensuring all pupils are supported to develop as critical thinkers, articulate speakers, fluent readers and skilled writers through our ‘Think it, say it, read it, write it’ approach.
- Ensuring our approach is targeted as and when required and focuses on supporting of pupils with lower literacy levels to ‘catch up’ with their peers.
- Ensuring that all teachers and support colleagues understand their role in supporting the development in literacy of all pupils.
- Ensuring that our policy and practice is evidence based and that all teachers have access to high quality professional development opportunities to support them in their role.
Literacy in the Classroom
The ‘Think It’ aspect of our Literacy strategy will give pupils time to think about what they are learning in an intelligent and informed way. Pupils are actively encouraged to carefully consider their thoughts and frame their answers before responding to questions. This approach helps pupils to organise and structure thoughts and ideas in a way that will support their quality of talk and writing. Pupils should be able to use the language of their curricula both precisely and coherently in order to respond to and build on their ideas constructively.
Our pupils across their curricula are encouraged to think in a scholarly way, like a Scientist, a mathematician, an artist or a musician for example.
The ‘Say It’ component of our approach encourages all curriculum areas to consider the vocabulary of each subject as a key component for underpinning high quality academic talk. A strong emphasis is placed on pupils using tier 3 vocabulary in their spoken language alongside a drive to ensure that pupils are supported to engage in high quality structured talk.
“Say It” can be supported through various strategies such as:
- Exploring tier 3 vocabulary by breaking down the etymology and phonetics of words by exploring suffixes and prefixes and making links to pupils’ prior knowledge of these.
- Offering sentence starters that insist on formal spoken responses.
- Offering Think It and Say it tasks whereby tier three vocabulary is used to support recall prior knowledge and secure learning.
‘Read It’ provides pupils the opportunity to engage with a range of different types of reading; academic reading, reading for pleasure and reading to support writing.
The trust proactively plans to support pupils with the weakest levels of literacy particularly in year 7. Tiered support is in place through literacy programmes and specialist interventions. Reading assessments are regularly used to match pupils who are struggling with literacy to appropriate types of intervention and to further monitor the impact of those interventions. Pupils are well supported to ‘catch up’ with their peers at an early stage in their secondary education. Our interventions include:
Fresh Start – a synthetic phonics-based package for use in secondary schools.
Reading Buddies – for work with confidence and fluency
Literacy Planet – An online literacy intervention which focuses on spelling, grammar and comprehension.
Through our approach pupils are exposed to a range of complex academic texts. They are supported across disciplines to actively engage with what they are reading and use their existing subject knowledge to support their comprehension. Pupils are supported to engage in a range of different active reading strategies such as:
- Activating their prior knowledge,
- Making predictions,
- Questioning what is being read,
- Clarifying areas of uncertainty,
- Summarising the meaning of sections of text to consolidate their understanding.
Reading for Pleasure
Pupils are actively encouraged to read for pleasure and fulfilment. The Academy promotes a positive image of reading and seeks to actively promote the merits of reading amongst pupils and staff members. Each department has in place a beyond the classroom strategy to encourage reading for pleasure. Our LRC has purchased over 60 subject specific books for pupils to borrow. Below is an outline of the books identified by each subject at each Key Stage.