Leeds East Academy is committed to delivering a vibrant and engaging curriculum which produces the highest possible outcomes for each and every child.
Literacy Strategy 2016-17
We are a Reading Academy
At Leeds East Academy we think that reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is one of the most important factors in allowing children to reach their full potential. A love of literature and a genuine desire to read opens doors to students that remain closed for reluctant readers, no matter how strong their ability. In order to support the drive to engage students with reading for enjoyment, the academy offers a range of activities and experiences linked to reading for pleasure.
The school celebrates National Poetry Day each year with a variety of poems shared in English lessons and during students’ coaching sessions. This allows students to really appreciate poetry and the importance of reading for pleasure.
The school also celebrates World Book Day each year. During this event, the librarian, Mrs Dingwall, organises various competitions across the academy, which include a quiz that takes place during coaching sessions in which students identify various books and authors based on images and questions. The Academy staff also dress up as book characters during this event and students find enjoyment in guessing which character staff are dressed as.
Roald Dahl Day was another event celebrated across the Academy this year to commemorate the life and works of the famous author. Students had the opportunity to take part in quizzes and read various excerpts from Roald Dahl’s most famous books during their coaching sessions. In addition, we voted for our favourite Roald Dahl book as a school and a display was made to reflect this in the school’s library.
The English department also welcomes visiting authors into the academy to work with students of all ages and abilities on reading and creative writing skills. In particular, we have been working with the First Story project. Our resident writer, Sarah Bradley, visits the Academy every Thursday to deliver workshops to a selection of Year 9 and 10 students. This project has helped students to develop and gain confidence in their reading and writing skills. At the end of the course, students also have the opportunity to have their work published in the First Story Anthology. As part of this project, students recently took part in The Young Writers’ Festival at Lady Margaret Hall, at The University of Oxford where they took part in various writing workshops and had the chance to meet authors such as Juno Dawson and Anthony Mc Gowan. Students also had the opportunity to purchase books and have these signed by the authors themselves.
Of course, a love of reading is also fostered within the library with all students in Years 7 and 8 taking part in weekly Reading lessons as an addition to their traditional classes. Students in Years 7 and 8 all take part in the Renaissance Reading Accelerated Reader programme which tests students’ comprehension of books they have read and suggests novels that will both entertain and challenge them. In addition to taking part in a shared reading of an audiobook linked to their specific ability level.
All students have access to the well-resourced Library, which is at the centre of reading in the academy. All students are encouraged to have a reading book and weekly reading sessions are held during coaching sessions. The librarian, Mrs Dingwall, organises a number of events to raise reading enjoyment throughout the year. All year 7 participate in Bookbuzz: a reading scheme from Book Trust. Students choose their own book to keep from a list of 17 titles suitable for 11 - 13-year-olds and selected by a panel of experts. Library Reader Groups participate in the Leeds Book Awards by reading the six short-listed titles; posting reviews on the official website and attending the prize-winning ceremony at Leeds Town Hall where they meet and interview the authors. The British Comic Awards is also a hugely popular event and our librarian and students have worked with many of the previous Award winners. Last year students were thrilled to work with acclaimed Comic-writers Dan White & Craig Conlan. This year our Y10 students will be actively involved in presenting the British Comic Awards at Leeds Civic Hall. LEA were also proud to win the WRAT Poetry Slam for a second year running. A competition organised by Mrs Dingwall across all 3 Academies consisting of two days working with BBC3 writer and performer Andy Craven-Griffiths culminating in a final showcase which is broadcast live on local radio-station Chapel FM.
For those students who need extra support in reading we use the Read Write Inc programme, which is aimed at helping students to develop the phonics skills they need to become fluent readers and writers. Students who need it, also gain extra support through our Catch Up Literacy programme, which develops their comprehension skills and understanding of the text they have read. Specifically, for students with dyslexic tendencies, we use several ICT based interventions: Lexia and Units of Sound which can be accessed in afterschool sessions, break time and lunch time.