At Sirius Academy North, we believe that successful literacy skills help our students to achieve well in every aspect of their lives. Improving reading, writing and oracy broadens our students’ horizons and can help to improve our student’s health, well-being and further studies beyond our academy.
Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world. At Sirius Academy North, we focus on all of these elements and put them at the centre of our broad and challenging curriculum.
Reading is one of our four “Secrets of success”, students who read quality texts achieve. Students who read a broad range of texts also achieve. Improving literacy then, helps our students have “no limits” of themselves.
Please view our Reading at Home booklet for parents, which incudes some tasks for parents to do at home with students.
Here is the link to our Reading Routes page
We have four key strategies to improve literacy.
Strategy 1: Teach the mechanics of reading and raise the standard of reading
When the students first start at Sirius Academy North, they complete New Group Reading Test (NGRT), a standardised reading test consisting of multiple-choice and sentence-completion questions. These tests help us to assess the reading age of students and identify struggling readers. To read more about the New Group Reading Test, please visit the GL website. From this data, we arrange bespoke intervention for our students based on their needs.
We have a range of interventions to support those students who are below their chronological reading age. These interventions may be individual, small group or class-based interventions which support students in developing fluency and comprehension. We also use Reading Plus.
Reading Plus is an adaptive reading and literacy programme that gives individualised instruction and practice to our students to keep driving their reading progress forwards. We utilise the hybrid approach to this intervention strategy to give students the opportunity to learn online and at home, whilst they also benefit from teacher support during timetabled slots with one of our trained reading teachers.
These interventions compliment the wider literacy strategies which are offered by all students. If you have concerns over your child’s reading, please contact your house team.
Strategy 2 – Embedding a reading curriculum
In order to further improve all students’ reading skills, reading has been embedded within the whole-school curriculum and specific time designated to it. All students in years 7 to 10 will have a guided reading lesson each week during lesson one, which promotes and models excellent reading, engages the students in more animated delivery, and strengthens listening skills. Groups will also be given comprehension questions each week to complete after the allocated section of reading to assess understanding and to promote oral discussion about the texts.
Students in years Y7-9 have been timetabled a designated Reading Response lesson, to be delivered by English teachers and consists of students reading full texts, rather than excerpts, which are read aloud by the teacher, followed by activities to complete which are teacher led.
Sirius Academy North have committed to providing all students in years 7-9 the opportunity to read at least six high-quality texts per year within the timetabled curriculum. We believe this opportunity must be available to all, with students being able to read even more books as enrichment, using Reading Plus and the well-stocked school library.
Strategy 3: Literacy throughout the curriculum
Literacy skills are needed in every lesson throughout the academy. Therefore, our lessons are designed to boost vocabulary and give high quality opportunities for reading, writing and oracy.
Throughout lessons, students have access to high quality subject specific texts which support the development of knowledge and literacy.
Strategy 4: Broadening horizons through enrichment and reading for pleasure
We commit to developing a culture of excitement and enjoyment about reading in all areas of school. In order to do this, we embrace literacy opportunities across the whole Academy and provide a calendared programme of literacy events, competitions, awards and enrichments which also, in turn, broaden students’ horizons. Activities such as “Lit fest”, spelling bees and reading clubs.
We have staff ‘book mentors’ who take responsibility for learning one of the many texts which are read during lesson one. These members of staff are the font of all knowledge for students to go to about a specific text.
Sirius Academy North is a school that loves to read. We have created a bespoke environment for our students with a modern library area, filled with a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Our library is a welcoming, calm and safe space where students can read for pleasure and study. We encourage our students to request books, so that we are catering to individual needs and tastes.
We also have a book vending machine, which is used to promote books and to reward students for being ‘reading advocates’ in our school.
In addition, reading routes and subject specific texts allow students to access pathways for reading for pleasure.