Minerva Learning Trust
16th September 2021

Literacy Blog

Mrs Baldwin

Literacy is made up of three key elements which cover: reading, writing and oracy. At High Storrs we have a strong commitment to improve all areas of literacy across all subjects.

Over the last couple of years, we have had a focus on vocabulary and staff have received training to support developing and improving students’ vocabulary. This has resulted in the teaching of vocabulary being an integral part of our lessons, especially when introducing new areas of learning.

This year’s focus will be on reading and we are starting this term with promoting ‘Reading for Pleasure’. Studies have shown that reading for just 10 minutes a day can have the following benefits: improved mental health and reduction in levels of stress; improved concentration; increase in the number of words students are exposed to (students who read for 15 minutes per day will encounter an average 5.7 million words over a year compared to students who read for less than this, who will encounter 1.7 million words on average).

“Reading habitually and seeing reading as a pleasurable, fulfilling and motivating activity matters. Put succinctly, 14-year-olds who read often and independently know 26% more words than those who never read.” Alex Quigley

We all know how many distractions we all have that can stop us ‘reading for pleasure’ and it is no different for our students. At High Storrs, there will be a significant push from all staff encouraging students to ‘Read for Pleasure.’ We are expecting students to have a book with them at all times and we will be supporting them by: suggesting books to read, author visits, silent reading in form time, being up to date with new authors and books that have been published and in general promoting a love of reading across all subjects.

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”

We hear this so often as a quote but at High Storrs we truly believe that this is the case. We have a wonderful library stocked with a vast selection of books and incredibly knowledgeable librarians who can support our students with finding the ‘right book’. All our students will have opportunities to loan a book from the library during form time, a library lesson or lunchtimes. We will be encouraging our students to read fiction and non-fiction, listen to audio books, write reviews and make recommendations to each other.

During summer school, our Y7s showed us their knowledge and love of reading and we are excited to hear all their reviews and opinions on the books they read over the coming year. Over the summer our Y7s were given Tom Palmer’s newest book “Arctic Star’ to read and they will be using this book as a stimulus in their history lessons. They will be also be able to ask the author Tom Palmer about how he uses research to write his historical novels when he visits High Storrs this week. In addition to this, all Y7s and Y8s will be receiving a free book from a selection from Book Buzz which is organised by our school librarian.

We will also be continuing to use Accelerated Reader in Y7, Y8 and Y9 after our trial of it in the summer term. Every student in KS3 will be visiting the library once a week with a different subject to discuss books linked to that subject, change their books and complete quizzes. Last term 1,245 books were read by our Y7s and Y8s in just eight weeks! We will be sharing more information with you about how Accelerated Reader works over the next couple of weeks.

These are just some of the things we have planned for the coming term. Next term we will be focusing on strategies to help students with academic reading in class. We are looking forward to developing and making High Storrs a reading school over the coming year!

Finally, if we have any authors, illustrators, publishers, editors or journalists out there who would like to speak to our students we would love to hear from you!

E Baldwin

Literacy Coordinator

Currently reading ‘When the Sky Falls’ Phil Earle