Leeds East Academy

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Literacy

Leeds East Academy is committed to delivering a vibrant and engaging curriculum which produces the highest possible outcomes for each and every child. 

“Students should be taught in all subjects to express themselves correctly and appropriately and to read accurately and with understanding.” QCA Use of Language Across the Curriculum.

“We know that poor literacy blights life chances. We know being able to read, write and speak with confidence and accuracy opens doors otherwise barred and bolted… In the vast majority of lessons, pupils are asked to read stud and then write it down. Even in those where printed material and pens are seldom seen, there is almost always a requirement that pupils listen, if not speak. Without this, the gap between the haves and have-nots will only get wider.” David Didau, The Secret of Literacy.

Purpose

Our Literacy policy underpins our curriculum delivery through a relentless focus on: reading to improve vocabulary and knowledge of the wider world, written accuracy and developing strong oracy skills to give our students the confidence to strive to be the very best they can be. 

It is estimated that nine million adults in the UK are functionally illiterate, and one in four British five-year-olds struggles with basic vocabulary; therefore, a relentless focus on literacy is vital to ensure that our students leave our academy with the fundamental literacy skills they need to be confident and successful in the next stage of their lives.  

Literacy Strategy at LEA

  

Literacy Strategy 

Key Documents

S.H.A.P.E poster
Home Learning Strategy 
Unified Approach to Literacy 

Red Hot Challenge

Rationale and Ethos

Red Hot Challenge is a new, whole school initiative that aims to develop and challenge learners further. The rationale behind Red Hot Challenge is that it is a task that will develop skills or knowledge required for the grade or band above the highest level student within the class (priority 4 – preparing for exam success.

For Example: If the highest level learner is working at a grade 5, then the Red Hot Challenge should develop skills needed to gain or work towards a grade 6.

Red Hot Challenge must;

  • be visually signposted using the corporate logo, so that it is recognisable and clear for all learners.
  • be a feature of all lessons, however the activity can be varied, but still strongly linked to exam skills with the aim of stretching and challenging students outside of their comfort zone.
  • be extra challenging so that the teacher is constantly stretching and moving students on.
  • be well linked to the exam skill that the lesson is focusing on and developing.
  • be personalised to the level of the class, to ensure it relevant to the grade that the learners are currently working at.
RED HOT Challenge at LEA

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’ form time 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.

 

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.

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 lunchtime.

Integral Reading (our drop everything and read hour) is a rolling literacy/reading hour that takes place every week in all curriculum areas, bar core PE. This will begin in September from the first week back into full time lessons. The IR cycle will begin during first lesson on Monday morning, and will then roll across the rest of the week. The idea of the whole school ‘dropping everything and read’ is to highlight the importance of reading and add real gravitas to the strategy.


The rationale behind this is to ensure that students are exposed to a range of texts to build incorporate a number of areas to increase pupil performance and cultural capital through the following areas:

  • Explicit teaching of new vocabulary
  • Building background knowledge and cultural capital (as the texts are be based on non-fiction and subject knowledge)
  • Closing the reading age gap (knowledge and reading skills)

As outlined above, the texts are non-fiction based linking to the schemes of learning of each curriculum area; this ensures that the reading that is taking place is also purposeful and develops pupil’s wider knowledge of the world. The rationale for our non-fiction focus is that vocabulary is particularly important to text comprehension, as children’s books tend to deploy far less common vocabulary than is found in day-to-day speech (Snow et al, 1998; Stanovich, 1993). This in turn prepares students for ‘every day’ texts and reading for further education and every day life skills. therefore providing:

  • A more purposeful focus for all subjects
  • Opportunities to build reading skills to support life skills and next steps in education; this also allows us to build background knowledge and cultural capital.