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Literacy

There are clear policies and systems in place at the Academy to ensure that every student’s literacy needs are met. Over the last four years, the curriculum has been significantly developed and there has been a programme of additional activities to improve literacy at all levels. In the curriculum, every opportunity is explored to promote the highest standards of reading, writing and communication. Consistency and creativity are the key principles which underpin every aspect of our practice. In lessons, teachers make use of five simple reading strategies to support comprehension; the W.R.I.T.E rules are the basic set of expectations used by all to ensure accuracy in written work and four simple steps are in place to encourage high quality speaking and listening.

As part of the English curriculum, all key stage 3 students have a Basic Skills lesson that focuses on spelling, punctuation and grammar. There is a bespoke, three tiered programme of intervention for students requiring additional support with reading and writing and a varied and challenging programme of enrichment to stretch and stimulate readers of all ages and abilities.
 
However, the most interesting aspect of our literacy support is the creative ways in which we engage our students, families and local community. Ranging from the Accrington Festival and Accrington Reads initiatives to featuring in BBC documentaries and working collaboratively with artists and other skilled practitioners, literacy underpins so much of our students’ varied experiences.
Literacy_SnookerIn partnership with North Lancashire Training Group, we have harnessed the power of snooker to improve reading. The ‘Dads and Lads’ snooker programme was an initiative to encourage young boys to read at home; families were invited in to the Academy for a snooker coaching programme and each week were given some reading to do at home together to prepare for the next week’s session.
 
The highlight of the programme was the session delivered by former World Champion, Steve Davis. This programme led to a series of initiatives where our students improved their reading whilst playing snooker and learning about the game. The schemes have been so successful that the Academy was the subject of a BBC documentary that was aired during the interval of the Snooker World Championships in 2012.
The library has a partnership with Silverdell bookshop and as part of this, the Academy is used as a venue for regional book events. We have half termly author visits and there has been numerous famous writers in the library to talk about their work and inspire our students. Joseph Delaney, Scott Westerfeld, Michelle Gayle and Taffy Thomas are examples of recent visits.
 
In September 2012 local writer and former pupil, Jeanette Winterson OBE met with our A level English students to discuss her work and their interpretations of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’. The discussion was shown as part of the BBC Imagine series presented by Alan Yentob in December 2012.
 
Have you ever wondered “What comes next?” when you’re reading a really good book?
Then this website is for you…    http://www.childrensbooksequels.co.uk/
Children’s Book Sequels is here to help you discover the right order of any series from Harry Potter to Mr Gum, from Young Sherlock Holmes to Young Bond.

The ‘Accrington Reads’ project is in its third year. The Academy provide local Year 5 students with copies of the same text and then, once the children have all read the book, we provide each Primary School with creative artists.

The idea is that each Primary school retell a section of the book in different creative formats. The schools then all come to the Academy for a live event where the entire book is retold. ‘Gangsta Granny’ was retold by five Primary schools through dance, drama, animation, acting and puppets to an audience of over three hundred people.
 
The previous year the children retold ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’. ‘Accrington Reads’ is a fantastic way to show young people in our local community that reading is fun and the creative process is our way of bringing a community together with the power of fiction.
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