Importance of Literacy 

At The Manor Academy, we take Literacy seriously and believe in equipping students with the essential Literacy skills which they will need to access each subject they study and for life outside of school. Therefore, it is our belief that Literacy should be an integral part of all teaching within the school. We advocate that every lesson should build upon, and nurture, the array of transferable skills Literacy provides.  

Literacy covers the three key aspects of reading, writing, and speaking and listening. In all subjects across the curriculum, we strive to support students in their Literacy development. These skills are not only essential for learning the full curriculum at The Manor Academy, but also vital for life outside of school.  Students need Literacy to engage with the written word used in everyday life. Literacy skills allow students to explore information, explore subjects in depth, and as a result, gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. All Manor Academy staff receive regular training, and we have many whole-school initiatives to promote and improve Literacy. 

A Two Counties Trust word of the week 

Each week, students will be introduced to a high-level ‘new word’ they will be provided with the definition, then an opportunity to practise the words in a range of contexts. Exploring ‘new words’ through writing and speaking will allow students to access a wider vocabulary pool.  

Teacher fiction recommendations 

Each staff member has a sign on their classroom door which recommends a fiction book to students. Also, during ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) time, teachers will host discussions with students and offer extracts from their favourite books which feature a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.  

Fiction reading lists for each year group. 

Each Literacy Knowledge Organiser holds a fiction reading list. Each book is available in our school library so parents do not need to purchase a copy. Students are encouraged to write book reviews for each novel that they read. If they complete all of the reviews, then they are issued a prize of a reading book of their choice.  

Oracy expectations 

In lessons, we expect students to speak in full sentences to ensure that they are expressing themselves well. We aim to support students in what they want to say and allow them to have the ability to structure thoughts, so that they make sense verbally to others. 

Embedding Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary across all subjects. 

Robust subject specific vocabulary supports reading comprehension and reinforces understanding of new and difficult language, especially in new option subject areas.  Using a tiered approach to vocabulary assists in the development of language and promotes a strong foundation for Literacy.  

Transition Literacy 

Y6 students from all primary feeder schools receive a free book to read over their summer break, together with an activity pack to support their Literacy memory recall. This book then feeds into the English opening activities in the first week of Y7.  

Drop Everything and Read in KS3 

We believe that reading underpins excellent communication so each week we participate in ‘Drop Everything and Read.’ On top of DEAR time, students are allocated fifteen minutes each week to read a book of their choice, in order to stress the importance of regular reading and to cultivate a love for it.  

Reading age tests for all students in KS3 & KS4 

We believe that by understanding the reading ability of students, we can support them in their studies as well as challenge them.  

Half Termly Non-Fiction Week 

In non-fiction week, we aim to engage students in a variety of non-fiction forms such as documentaries, newspapers and events from around the world.  

Weekly 30 min vocabulary building lessons and tutor time spelling tests 

We aim to support students with their tier 2 vocabulary as well. Within this session, students will work on vocabulary building skills. By teaching this vocabulary directly, and by ensuring that students know how to use new words correctly in a range of contexts, we set them on the path towards success. The more words that we teach, the more words that our students learn, therefore the greater their chance of success.  

Weekly 30 min reading lesson 

We aim to offer 30 minutes a week to our KS3 students to read a book of their choice for pleasure. 

SPaG plenaries across the curriculum 

The aim across the curriculum is to allow for students to recognise their own basic errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar (capital letters, full stops and paragraphing). Rectifying this, in preparation for assessed pieces of work, will allow them to gain marks in these crucial areas.  

The most valuable thing that families can do is talk to their child about their Literacy in school. It is important to encourage children to read regularly for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.  

Reading 

Reading regularly is proven to develop imaginations, improve vocabulary, spelling, writing, and speaking skills. Reading frequently also helps to create empathy towards others, develop critical thinking skills, as well as increase confidence and improve mental health. Regular reading boosts the chances of gaining better grades in all subject areas across secondary school, which will result in improving career prospects in later life. Also, reading often can be fun and enjoyable.   

Having an established routine for reading can be helpful. For example: reading being completed and then children being rewarded with screen time. An alternative could be to ensure reading is done in bed before a child goes to sleep; this can help improve the quality of sleep and is much healthier than looking at a screen just before sleep. A bonding activity when reading could be to have your child read out loud to you. From this, you could ask them questions on what they have been reading to encourage them and check comprehension. A positive alternative to reading could be having a families, carer or sibling reading to a child or listening via audiobook.

At KS3, the Literacy Knowledge Organiser includes a Reading Log to fill out. In this, your child can record the books which they have read and complete comprehension activities. These are checked once a week in Library lessons. 

It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. At KS3, the weekly Library Reading Lesson is an opportunity for pupils to get advice from a Librarian or an English teacher, as well as recommendations from peers. We expect all our KS3 pupils to always have a reading book in their bag. 

What to Read 

In the Literacy Knowledge Organiser, each student receives a ‘Reading Challenge’ to provide guidance on what to read and ensure enough range and challenge.  

Some students struggle to find the right book for them which can often cause a barrier to reading. There are millions of books and the internet is an excellent place for discovering the world of books out there. The librarian manager, Mrs Pulsford can also offer support and advice on what to read. 

Writing 

Encourage your child to write for pleasure. There are lots of activities in the reading log which they can complete – diary entries, stories or letters are just some of the examples. Before writing, please encourage your child to plan their extended piece of writing.  

Teachers at The Manor Academy encourage students to proof check their written work to check for basic Literacy errors like full stops, capital letters or spelling errors. If the work is read aloud, this helps to punctuate work, as it will help them to hear where the punctuation should go. You could even try reading this aloud to them with the correct pauses.  

At KS3, the Literacy Knowledge Organiser contains key spellings from across the curriculum to be learnt in the vocabulary lessons, as well as in tutor time spelling tests. You could encourage your child to use the method of ‘look, cover, write and check’.  

Handwriting 

If handwriting is clear and legible then priority should be given to the speed of writing over neatness. Not getting enough down on the page within time limits can be a barrier to success for some of our students. If your child does need to make their writing more legible, there is a ‘Handwriting Practice’ section available in the Literacy Knowledge Organiser. 

Speaking 

To develop speaking and presentation skills, you could ask your child to read some of their reading book or written work out loud to you. As they do so, you could encourage them to speak clearly and fluently, in Standard English, and to vary the intonation and pace of their speech. Using eye contact, gestures and open body language is also important. 

Literacy at GCSE

To maximise success at GCSE, encourage your child to keep reading fiction and non-fiction for pleasure. They can also practice proofreading timed exam responses from their subject specific Knowledge Organisers.