Literacy – along with Numeracy – forms one of the five pillars which support our curriculum. We have a three pronged Literacy Strategy here and these run through the planning and delivery of lessons in every faculty and department.
- Vocabulary acquisition – equipping our students with a rich and varied vocabulary with which to express themselves in their speech and their writing.
- Reading of complex texts – we use various approaches to enable our students to access and understand complex, academic texts.
- Oracy - we recognise the necessity for our students to be able to express themselves orally in both formal and informal settings. Improved oracy is proven to impact positively on attainment across all subjects and makes pupils more confident and, ultimately, more employable.
We also recognise and celebrate the value of reading for pleasure. Students are given regular opportunities for private reading as part of our tutor time programme. We also encourage our students to read at home. Studies have shown that reading regularly for pleasure can:
- Improve brain connectivity – reading brains grow faster and better.
- Increase vocabulary and comprehension.
- Develop empathy.
- Aid better sleep.
- Reduce stress.
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate.
- Support mental health.
- Nurture creativity.
Since the appointment of our first Literacy Co-Ordinator in March 2020 – and an expansion of our Literacy Team in September 2023, we have driven forward our three-strand approach through whole-school initiatives, through an ongoing programme of staff training (at both school and Trust level) and through events such as World Poetry Day and our Athelstan Festival of Speech & Debate.
For the last year we have run our highly successful whole school reading programme, Literacy Legends. Five times a fortnight our students meet in year groups to be read to by our tutor team. We have carefully selected a wide range of challenging texts that explore themes such as diversity, environmental damage, friendship, the impact of technology and morality. Students are encouraged to engage with, and discuss, the issues raised by the books and in our Library we signpost them to books we think they might want to try that tackle similar subject matter. Here are just a selection of the books we provide:
Year 7: Wolf by Gillian Cross & The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Year 8: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman & Thirteen by Tom Hoyle
Year 9: Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson & Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Year 10: Pigeon English by Stephen Kellerman & To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Year 11: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Year 6 Transition:
This year we are developing our Literacy outreach into our feeder primary schools. We have contacted all our primary school partners and hope to develop positive working relationships in supporting them to address gaps in both literacy and oracy, particularly as their Y6 pupils make the transition between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. To support our incoming Y7s further we have created a summer learning pack entitled “Get CSS Ready!” which contains challenges for PE, Music, Science, History and many others. Pupils who successfully complete all the challenges will receive 10 House Points and a small edible reward! The pack also offers advice on where to find support if pupils have any concerns or anxieties about starting secondary school.
National Literacy Trust:
We continue to be members of the National Literacy Trust and to benefit from their excellent CPD (continuing professional development) resources and national initiatives. We hope to work with them on a variety of research projects over the next few years that will ensure Chipping Sodbury School has access to the very latest developments in literacy teaching and learning.