Excellent literacy skills are the passport to success in the wider world. Being able to write proficiently, read widely and speak articulately will enable our young people to express themselves, communicate effectively and thrive in school and beyond.Excellent literacy skills are the passport to success in the wider world. Being able to write proficiently, read widely and speak articulately will enable our young people to express themselves, communicate effectively and thrive in school and beyond.
These skills are essential to understand the world around us and therefore, the better we are at these skills, the more successful we can expect to be in life. We recognise that improving literacy can have an impact on students’ self-esteem, motivation, behaviour and attainment and that reading, particularly reading for pleasure, has a direct impact on cognitive and social-communicative development. It has been shown that reading improves health and wellbeing, as well as compassion and empathy for others. Our goal is to develop each student’s potential to the point where they are reading at, or above, their chronological age.
Our aims are:
- To ensure that standards of writing, oracy and reading are raised.
- To ensure that all students become active word learners.
- To empower students with the capacity to use language purposefully and efficiently in a range of contexts for a range of purposes, in both oral and written form.
- To increase the range and depth of literary knowledge to create a lifelong love of reading.
- To ensure that all students have undergone rigorous assessment to identify potential literacy, language and learning needs.
- To provide a range of interventions for students with identified language and literacy needs.
DEAR - Drop Everything and Read
Every day during tutor time students will be given the opportunity to enjoy a shared reading experience with their tutor group. Every student in Years 7-10 will have their own copy of the class reader and hone reading and oracy skills through Literacy tutor time sessions and class discussion.
Our Library has moved and has pride of place at the front of the Academy. We have purchased hundreds of new books for students to enjoy and we always welcome recommendations and suggestions from students. Students in Key Stage 3 enjoy regular Library lessons in which they can complete Bedrock learning, read independently or in a small group. We are also open at break and lunch times for students to immerse themselves in a book of their choice or complete revision, homework or research. Our library is a busy hub at break and lunch times, all students are welcome! We encourage every student to borrow a book from our Library- there are no late fees for late returns and we would like to see every child with a book in their bag, whether that be from home or from the library.
Literacy across the Curriculum
At Harris Academy Purley we are committed to empowering students by widening their vocabulary. We understand the link between confident, fluent reading and confident, articulate speaking and students are taught several new words every day through the ‘Word of the Lesson’ to enhance our students’ ability to be effective orators and confident writers. Students who require additional reading or writing intervention are identified through annual NGRT and Lucid testing.
The English language is comprised of countless words, and it is therefore a mammoth task deciding which are most essential, enriching and helpful for students to know. Beck and McKeown devised a well-known ‘Tier’ system for categorising words according to their ‘different levels of utility’, and at HAPU we focus on teaching words in Tiers 2 and 3.
- Tier 1 words. These are words that pupils pick up naturally, for example nouns such as ‘clock’ or basic verbs like ‘walking’. These words do not need teaching explicitly.
- Tier 2 words. These are ambitious vocabulary words that learners will come across in a variety of contexts, for example reading a variety of texts or listening to a speech, but will not hear in everyday conversations. Tier two words might include: ‘analyse’, ‘emerge’, ‘peculiar’ and ‘context’.
- Tier 3 words. These are subject specific words which are integral to teaching a specific subject. These are made explicit in lessons and pupils are encouraged to use the language of a ‘mathematician’ or a ‘geographer’ in their writing and speaking.
Examples of our ‘Words of the Lesson’ can be found at the bottom of this page. Alongside explicit teaching in lessons our pupils develop their disciplinary literacy through an online programme ‘Bedrock’.
Students complete two lessons each week.
Bedrock Vocabulary is an online literacy and vocabulary curriculum, designed by English teachers to explicitly teach students of all abilities the academic words they need to succeed in school and beyond. Using a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, the programme exposes students to language and information which not only bridges gaps in their general knowledge but also provides them with the valuable cultural capital they need to understand the world around them.
At Harris, Bedrock is done as part of our homework programme and students in Years 7-9 are expected to complete two lessons every week. As a parent, you also have access to the work your child is doing on Bedrock. Using the access code provided by the school, you can access your child’s account to understand their progress. You can see the words they are learning each week and can weave them into family conversations to ensure even more language practise.
Parents, please contact your child’s English teacher if you have not received your access code. Also, please support your child’s learning by encouraging them to complete their two Bedrock lessons every week.
Students, have you completed your lessons? If not, what are you waiting for? Go on, log on to www.bedrockvocabulary.com, sign in to your account and do your lessons.
Accelerated Reader is a programme which tests students' reading ability and provides a regularly updated reading score (ZPD score). Books in the library are categorised according to this score and so students can know the level of difficulty of a book in conjunction with their score- it helps to direct them to books which are suitable for their ability. At the end of each book a quiz is taken and students can see if they are ready to move up to the next score. All Key Stage 3 pupils have an Accelerated Reader account.
Click the image below to access the Renaissance Learning portal:
At Harris Academy Purley pupils learn effective communication skills which will empower them to be able to express and articulate themselves in the wider world.
To enable structured, effective and meaningful communication we have ‘ground rules’ for class discussion that ensure students are explicitly shown how to verbally engage with those around them.
Extra-Curricular Literacy Activities
Throughout the year, there are many more literacy opportunities for both staff and students to participate in. As well as World Book Day, termly reading and writing competitions and creative writing challenges organised by external agencies will also be available to promote literacy across the academy. We have previously had the privilege of seeing our students’ work in print in ‘Young Writers’ competitions.
The ESU (English-Speaking Union) will be visiting the Academy to deliver oracy and debating skills workshops to some of our students. This is a fantastic way to build confidence and learn the complex art of rhetoric.
We will also be holding engagement evenings for parents and carers whereby they will be provided with information on how to support their child’s literacy development at home, and how to help to engage their child in reading for pleasure.
We are also looking forward to celebrating World Book Day in March with a day of literary festivities!
We encourage all students to take advantage of our well-stocked library, but below are some useful links to reading material that can be accessed at home for either revision or pleasure.
For access to digital books at home and audiobooks you can try these websites:
- Audible.com – free (30 days) audible books for all ages.
- Researchify - Word/PDF/Audiobooks of Children’s Classics.
- Have a look at World Book Day’s World of Stories, where you can listen to audiobooks of some of your favourite books.
- Literacy Trust: The Book of Hopes. Completely free for all children and families, the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon and Jacqueline Wilson.
- Literacy Trust: Virtual School Library
- Project Gutenberg – helpful for locating classic texts.
- Time Edge is a digital magazine that teaches you about current events. All of the content is written by the editors of the world famous publications TIME and TIME For Kids.
Our Library has moved and has pride of place at the front of the Academy. We have purchased hundreds of new books for students to enjoy and we always welcome recommendations and suggestions from students. Students in Key Stage 3 enjoy regular Library lessons in which they can complete Bedrock learning, read independently or in a small group. We are also open at break and lunch times for students to immerse themselves in a book of their choice or complete revision, homework or research. We encourage every student to borrow a book from our Library- there are no late fees for late returns and we would like to see every child with a book in their bag, whether that be from home or from the library.
Click on the covers below to be taken to a free online version of that book!
Key Stage 3 Classics
|The Wizard of Oz||Peter Pan||Tom Sawyer||Grimms' Fairy Tales||Jungle Book||The Happy Prince||Count of Monte Cristo||Emma|
Key Stage 4 Classics
|Metamorphosis||Treasure Island||Little Women||The Canterville Ghost||White Fang||The Red Room||Black Beauty||The Road|
|Noughts & Crosses||One Indian Girl||On The Come Up||True Colors||We Were Liars|