Literacy

Accelerated Reader

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”― Mark Twain

The Accelerated Reader Programme is in its seventh successful year here at the academy. Last year saw enormous gains in the reading ages of our students, and has had a positive impact on learning across the academy:

All Year 7 and 8 students take part in the programme. Students test at the beginning of the year and are given a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), which is a numbered level they can use to see what level of book they should be reading. They then go and find a book at that level (all books have their level on their spine) and start reading.

When students have finished their book they take a quiz. If they achieve a pass rate of 100%, or if they achieve a certain number of points, they collect a raffle ticket to collect a prize at the end of the day.

In the 2017-2018 Academic year, the Year 7 cohort gained 10 months overall with an 8 month gain for students with special educational needs and a 9 month gain for PPG students. In the Year 8 cohort there was also an 11  month gain overall with a 6 month gain for students with special educational needs, and a 12 month gain for PPG students.

The programme continues to be a major component of our strategy to ensure all students are highly literate and able to be successful across the curriculum.

Student Opinions

“You feel better when you read a book and go up a level as you know you are improving. There is also a wide variety of books because in our amazing library.” Maria, Year 8

“I think Accelerated Reader is great because it doesn’t just improve your reading, it also helps your English skills and it gives you a large range of books to read from lots of genres.” Charlie, Year 8

“The non-fiction section has got practically every subject so it is very helpful for learning areas other than just English.” Toby, Year 8

 

Seeds of Success

All faculties are responsible for including Literacy provision as an integral part of their curriculum. At the core of this process is the ‘Seeds of Success’ programme, where a specific element of literacy is used in staff training, the teaching of lessons and the marking of student work.

Module 1 Capital Letters
Module 2 Full Sentences
Module 3 Spelling
Module 4 Connectives
Module 5 Apostrophes
Module 6 Homophones

All staff are expected to mark for literacy by circling the errors (corresponding to the module focus) and using the following codes. Students are then to receive time to review the feedback, respond (as per the Learning Conversation) and make corrections as highlighted. These codes are to be displayed in folders, on classroom walls, and in exercise books.

SP = Spelling                  P = Punctuation

C = Capital letter             //= New paragraph

Gr = Grammatical error   / = New sentence

= Exceptional point         TN = Tense

? = Confusing sentence structure / idea

^= Word missing, please insert

Lexicology

Lexicology is a phonics based reading support programme created by Carol Ann Joyce. Our SEN department have completed the training and use accredited resources to run the programme with small numbers of students in Year 9-11 during tutor time. Students complete the sessions over a term and are able to use what they learn to enhance their reading comprehension, spelling and vocabulary acquisition across all subjects.

Over the past four years, the academy has been fortunate enough to be the recipient of many prestigious Kent Literacy Awards. One of our major achievements is that every year we have won a District or Regional Award for our World Book Day Reading Festivals, which have become a highlight on the academy calendar.

2015 Awards:

Best Book Week Theme – Dartford District Winner

Best Book Week Theme – Overall Kent Winner

2016 Awards:

Best Book Week Theme – Dartford District Winner

Best Book Week Theme – Overall Kent Winner

2017 Awards:

Best Book Week Theme – Dartford District Winner

2018 Awards:

Best Book Week Theme – Dartford District Winner

Most Engaging Topic to Promote Writing – Dartford District Winner

Most Engaging Topic to Promote Writing – Overall Kent Winner

 

 

Spy Games Festival

For World Book Day 2018, Wilmington Academy turned into the Ultimate Spy Agency for ‘Spy Games’. Working in conjunction with some of our talented Post-16 students, there were all kinds of exciting missions to complete including laser mazes, spy stories, spy surveillance and a matchbox challenge.  

Library Loans

Over the past five years, a central goal of Wilmington Academy has been to develop a reading culture and improve the reading ability of our students. While there are several ways we track this progress, one factor is the loans data from the Learning Resource Centre (LRC).

This loan data reflects a constant commitment by staff to encouraging and supporting reading in all year levels, as well as being a credit to our wonderful librarian Debbie Kennedy.

 

Advice for Parents

One of the greatest factors that will make a difference in helping your child be successful with improving their literacy during their time at secondary is the support of parents and carers. We know this, so in this section you will find helpful information and resources to ensure that every student has the ability to become successful in reading, writing, spelling, and speaking and listening.

Support for Reading:

Tip 1: Making a Regular Time Together

• Set aside a time each week (maybe over dinner or before watching a favourite show) to talk about what they are reading;

• Share with them a book that you are reading, or a story you enjoyed when you were younger.

Tip 2: Praise

• Showing interest in your child’s reading habits and praising and rewarding them when they read can work wonders!

Tip 3: Be a reader

• Your own attitude to reading has a huge impact on how your child will view it. If they see that you read and view reading positively they will be more likely to do so also.

Tip 4: Join the Summer Reading Challenge

This takes place every year and your child can sign up at their local library. To find out more please visit https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/.

Support for Writing:

Tip 1: Writing can do done anywhere

• Journals on holidays are an excellent way to encourage writing. Want to use a more tech-savvy approach? You can encourage your child to start a private blog that they share with friends (www.wordpress.com, www.blogspot.com) or put updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Tip 2: All Forms of Writing are Fun

• Take advantage of all opportunities you can to get your child writing.

• Write a thank you note for a gift

• Write a review on a website like TripAdvisor

• Write a letter of complaint or gratitude after an event

Tip 3: Enter Competitions

There are several writing competitions that are run every year in this country. Here are some links to the some of the largest:

• Young Writers UK run competitions throughout the year with excellent prizes – www.youngwriters.co.uk

• BBC Young Writer’s Award – Supported by Book Trust, this competition runs every year and entries are submitted in February – www.booktrust.org.uk/prizes/21

• National Writer’s Award is run by Explore Learning and is a short story writing competition – www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters

• The National Literacy Trust runs a range of competitions for students across all key stages to improve their writing – www.literacytrust.org.uk/schools_teaching/competitions

Tip 4: Redraft

• Encourage your son/daughter to proofread their work.

• Encourage them to redraft something they have written and be willing to provide constructive criticism on anything you see that needs correcting (the best work is never the first attempt).

Support for Spelling:

Many people think that once a student enters secondary school that they no longer need to learn about spelling; this is simply not the case. Students continue to develop their knowledge of phonics all the way through into adulthood and their working life.

Tip 1: The Tools of the Trade

• Make sure a dictionary is available at home for students to check their spelling in their work.

Tip 2: LOOK, COVER, WRITE, CHECK

• This is a great strategy to check and practise new words; the student writes the word, covers it, checks that they wrote it correctly, and repeats the process 10 times.

• The most common words used in the English language are only 200 words! They make up 80% of what we say. They can be practised from this website: http://teacherjoe.us/Vocab200.html

Support of Speaking and Listening:

Speaking and Listening comes naturally to all of us, right? We speak and listen everyday, but sometimes we forget that using language correctly needs as much support as improving reading and writing.

Tip 1: Pause, Prompt, Praise

• Encourage your child to read with you, or present an oral task for school to you. When they make a mistake, ask them to PAUSE, PROMPT them with the correct answer, and PRAISE them when they make the correction.

Tip 2: Talk Time

• With so much going on in our busy lives, it can be hard to find time each week to talk. Make sure you set aside some time though, even if it is only 10 minutes per day, when the families talks together; it can be about each other’s day, a major story in the news, or telling each other jokes or funny stories.

Tip 3: Online Support

There are many websites that provide support for improving speaking and listening:

• www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english/speaking – A site full of activities to improve presentation skills.