At  Selston High School, all of our staff are trained and supported to be teachers of literacy.  As a school we are committed to following the recommendations of the Education Endowment Foundation on improving literacy in secondary schools. We know from detailed educational research, that students who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of their life.  Developing students’ literacy is a priority to meet our mission of enhancing students’ life choices and enabling them to make a positive contribution to the world we share.      

We are working on embedding five key strategies to embed literacy across the curriculum, these are:  

  • Implementing a word of the week strategy.  
  • Resourcing,  tracking and monitoring teacher (fiction) recommendations to students.    
  • Resourcing,  tracking and monitoring fiction reading lists for each year group.   
  • Structuring talk/oracy expectations , e.g. speaking in full sentences.  
  • Embedding Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary across all subjects.    

The most valuable thing that families can do is to encourage your child to read for pleasure. It is important to encourage children to read regularly for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.    

Reading regularly is proven to develop imagination, and 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!  

It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. If your child needs support selecting a book, they can speak to their tutor who will arrange a library visit with Miss Mathers, our school librarian who will be happy to help.    

Reading with your child is another fantastic way to support literacy. Just because your children are older, it doesn’t mean you need to stop sharing stories. Whilst reading together, talk about word meanings, and discuss new or interesting words. Ask questions before, during and after reading together to help develop ‘infectious enthusiasm’ about the book you are reading together.   

Other fantastic ways to support literacy at home:  

  • Play word games e.g. Taboo, Scrabble, Articulate  
  • Watch quiz shows together e.g. the Chase  
  • Engage in conversations about the news and world events  
  • Model reading behaviour at home  
  • Talk about school  
  • Review homework together  
  • Have a family bookshelf with a mixture of your family’s favourite books, newspapers and magazines  
  • Subscribe to magazines that your child might be interested in  
  • Spend time to take a trip to a library or bookstore together to select a new book to read  
  • Listen to audio books or podcasts in the car  
  • Have some technology down time where you focus as a family to engage in reading  
  • Buy books as presents   
  • Encourage your child to bring a book to school every day 
  • Use subtitles when watching films 

Students in all year groups complete regular reading assessments to measure each individual student’s reading age. This helps inform targeted support and intervention to support all students in reading to at least their chronological age.

Focused and tailored intervention in school to raise literacy levels and improve life chances. Students undertaking intervention are set depending upon their needs and reading level and follow a specifically tailored course that focuses on their needs.

A school-wide approach to sharing and teaching tier 2 and 3 vocabulary, using commonality in how lessons begin.

We have introduced ‘I say, you say, we say’; an approach where key vocabulary is specifically addressed at the beginning of each lesson.

All students in years 7 and 8, have a fortnightly reading lesson, where they use the Accelerated Reader Programme; designed to raise student reading ability through carefully crafted questioning.

‘Say it again, better.’ – Students are challenged to use formal English at all times and are asked to try and rephrase their answers if required.

Drop everything and read (DEAR). Students in years 7 and 8 have one twenty-minute period a week, where they are expected to read their library book in lessons.

Using MyOn; an interactive reading programme – all students have access to Myon software. This can be accessed anywhere and at anytime online. This supportive programme allows students to read a book of their choice and offers the correct level of support or challenge, based on their reading ability.

Introduced whole school marking codes for literacy – All formal assessments are marked using common literacy codes across the school so that students receive the same message in all subjects about how important literacy and reading are.

Reading buddies – selected students read during afternoon tutor time with a buddy from Y11, who offers support and challenge to help develop younger readers.

Subject-specific word of the week – Each week in tutor time, students complete questions focusing on one important tier 2 or 3 words taken from across the variety of subjects on offer at Selston High School.

Control the Game – a common reading strategy embedded in educational research, that is proven to raise levels of engagement and ability; all staff have received training and support on how to deliver and use Control the Game to get the very best from their students when it comes to their reading in lessons.

Super Readers – each year group has 10 specifically chosen books that have been selected to both challenge and motivate students to look at new perspectives. Students who complete the challenge will join the Trust Wall of Fame, to recognise their tremendous achievement!

Focused tutor time literacy – One afternoon a week, students focus on one specially selected tier 2 or 3 word that explores either a value or a key event in society.

Author visits – in order to inspire, engage and delight; yearly author visits take place in which students have an opportunity to work with and gain valuable experience from accomplished authors.

Winning Selston bookmark designs have been given to all students with key independent reading strategies for support.

Student librarians who support in the library during break and lunch with the running of the library and help organise the welcoming space.