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Whole School Literacy

At William Ellis School we aim to use literacy teaching to enable students to access a broad and rich curriculum, and to nurture effective speakers, readers and writers.

We take a disciplinary approach to literacy which means that each subject area focusses on the literacy skills that will enable students to make good progress in the key areas such as reading, writing, vocabulary development or oracy.

For example this year in maths all students have created a glossary for new subject specific vocabulary; in Modern Foreign Languages students are using their ‘Fantastic French’ or ‘Great German’ knowledge organisers to support speaking and writing at a high level in the target language.

Reading for pleasure:

In addition to reading a wide range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction in their English lessons, students in years 7 to 10 also read a novel with their form tutor once a week. Many of these novels focus on current issues and the texts are used to enable students to engage in meaningful discussions.

In year 9 students are reading ‘In the Sea there are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda and in year 10 students are reading ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas.

In year 7 and 8, students have a library lesson once a fortnight which focusses on exposing the students to a range of writers and texts.

All form groups also take part in the annual WES poetry competition, reading and writing their own poems linked to National Poetry Day themes.

We also subscribe to The Day online newspaper and students read articles during form time each week with a focus on developing new vocabulary.

Reading Catch-up:

All students sit the NFER reading age tests in year 7. The results of this test are used to plan and deliver appropriate interventions to ensure all students are reading at their chronological age. We work closely with the Head of Additional Needs to ensure the right interventions are selected. This might involve some additional phonics support or one to one reading with a trained volunteer or teacher.

Please take a moment to read the literacy guide in the link below. Whilst the levels that it refers to are no longer used in schools, the advice for parents is still useful and will support students’ literacy progress at home.

IDL Literacy Intervention Programme:

We use the IDL Literacy intervention programme to improve reading and spelling. This is a speaking-computer based multi-sensory system which supports learners with dyslexia and other learning difficulties to increase their reading and spelling ages. This is a follow-on programme for students who have already completed a tailored systematic synthetic phonics programme.