Literacy at Wilmington

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” — Maya Angelou.

Literacy is an essential life skill for maximising our students’ academic achievement, employability and life experiences. At Wilmington Academy, every teacher is a teacher of Literacy. As a school, we are committed to ensuring that our learners experience quality first teaching across the curriculum and we recognise that the explicit teaching of literacy is integral to quality first teaching.

The overarching theme for Literacy is : ‘Literacy Unlocked’

One of our key strategies for this academic year will be to enhance our ‘word-rich’ classrooms by developing our students’ knowledge and understanding of tier 2 vocabulary through:

  1. Developing  the ‘Word of the Week’ in lessons and at tutor time.
  2. Teachers building explicit teaching of vocabulary into their lessons enabling students to become ‘word-rich’.
  3. Teaching academic vocabulary explicitly and clearly, with coherent planning throughout the curriculum.
  4. Promoting high-quality academic talk in lessons.
  5. Enhancing ‘ word-consciousness’ in our students.
  6. Teaching students independent word-learning strategies.
  7. Utilising ‘word walls’ effectively in lessons to demonstrate the use of key-words and new vocabulary in context.
  8. Highlighting Disciplinary Literacy across the curriculum.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time—proof that humans can work magic.” —Carl Sagan

More about Literacy at Wilmington

The Learning Resource Centre is a buzzing, vibrant and exciting space. Day after day it is packed with students busily working away on their laptops; taking Accelerated Reader quizzes; doing their homework; completing coursework or actively reading to develop their skills.

There are an abundance of cosy spots with comfortable seating where students can relax and unwind. We have a very strong reading culture with a big emphasis on reading for pleasure and each day students can be found engrossed in their books. With over 18,000 books (both fiction and non-fiction) catering for all tastes and abilities and a comprehensive selection, we have created an Academy of readers.

The LRC is the centre of major literacy and cultural events across the Academy.  In the past we have held a Readathon, Create-a-thon, Christmas Markets, played host to Chinese New Year Festivals, celebrated Diwali – the Festival of Light, held numerous award winning World Book Week festivals, organised a “Murder by the book” event, hosted Poetry-by-Heart Competitions and participated in the CILIP Carnegie Children’s Book Award. This year, we have already celebrated Christmas in the library with many more celebrations yet to come. This includes another amazing World Book Day Event with a themed focus on Fantasy Fiction. There will also be dozens of exciting activities to participate in during break and lunch times to celebrate ‘stand-alone days’ such as Winnie the Pooh Day, Morse Code Day and Sherlock Holmes’ birthday. 

The LRC has always been the focal point for the annual big event in the Academy calendar – our award winning World Book Day Festivals.  A Tolkien Festival, Comic Con, our very own Hunger Games, a Tri-Wizard Tournament, a Sci-Fi Convention, Spy Games and a celebration of Reading Around the World have all been hosted by the LRC.  These reading festivals have had a huge impact on strengthening the reading culture within the Academy and together with the Accelerated Reader programme; both book-loan statistics and reading ages have recorded their highest increase ever from 1,108 loans in 2007 to more than 19,000 loans since the start of the decade, showing the impact the library has on raising attainment and that access to a wide range of resources really does make a difference. The Programme has seen students in Year 7 and 8 progress 8-12 months in their reading.

Our students love being in the library.  They have a say in the books they want to see on the shelves and which things they may want to celebrate, this means that they all feel they have a safe place they can truly feel comfortable and call their own.

Opening Hours

  • Monday – 8:00-16:00
  • Tuesday – 8:00-16:00
  • Wednesday – 8:00-14:00
  • Thursday – 8:00-16:00
  • Friday – 8:00-16:00

Important Links

The LRC at Wilmington Academy
Students in front of a T-Rex model

Accelerated Reader at Wilmington Academy

The Accelerated Reader Programme is one of our main reading interventions to improve literacy at Wilmington Academy. Accelerated Reader is a very successful programme because it is designed to meet the reading needs of every individual student. Out of the 18,000 books in our library, reading books are selected  to meet individual levels and through the programme, we are able to monitor student progress throughout the academic year. Each year we see fantastic gains in the reading ages of our students, having a positive impact on learning across all subjects in the academy.

All Year 7 and 8 students participate in the programme. Students are assessed at the beginning of the year to determine their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), which is their personalised reading range. Reading and quizzing usually start at the lower level and students then work their way up to the higher level.  Every student reads a book of their choice at the correct level for their ability. Year 7 and 8 students have a designated one-hour lesson of AR each week in the LRC.

Every book in the library which is included in the scheme, has been labelled with a book level and colour coded to assist students in their choice. Once students have chosen a book at their level, they engage in reading it first, then a quiz is taken.  Passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what they have read and their results will determine whether they can move up in their reading level. 

At regular intervals in the academic year, we test students through the STAR test (Standardised Testing And Reading). This tests the chronological reading age of each student when they commence the year, during the school year and at the end of the school year to enable us to closely monitor any changes to their reading ability.

Throughout the Year, the Academy Tutor Time programme includes opportunities to develop student literacy, promote reading for pleasure and to enhance comprehension and fluency skills:

  • Word of the Week – this is a literacy focus on Tier 2 words. Each week, students practise a new word in their form groups to increase their word hoard over time. Using the Academy WANT announcements, ‘Word of the Week’ is published throughout the school to ensure that the key TIER 2 words are embedded in student learning. Spelling tests are conducted at the end of each module on the ‘Word of the Week’.
  • Vocabulary notebooks – students create a vocabulary bank of keywords in these books to support their spelling and to develop their knowledge and understanding of vocabulary to increase their word hoard over time.
  • Explicit teaching of TIER 2 words in form lessons – students are taught the etymology and morphology of words to support their understanding and recall of these keywords.
  • Form time reading – every student has access to a bespoke novel for form reading. These are rotated within colleges every term. Students read books from various genres and time periods to develop their reading skills and to enhance their reading for pleasure. Tier 2 words and key vocabulary are highlighted, discussed and spelt. Tutees demonstrate their understanding of these novels by discussing and responding to reading comprehension questions during form time.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to more pupils not reading well enough for their age so we have made reading a priority at Wilmington to prevent pupils from falling further behind with their education by developing their literacy skills in small group interventions in our SEN department. Consequently, we have prioritised the new Y7 students with KS2 data below 90 and also those with a KS2 reading score of below 90Students are assessed on the Fresh Start programme and grouped according to reading needs.  The group of selected students attend regular sessions over a sustained period and are carefully timetabled to enable consistent delivery.  Furthermore, reading support is enhanced through the delivery of post 16 -peer tutoring during form time to develop independent reading skills.