Literacy at Thomas Adams
“We are a reading school”
At Thomas Adams School we are passionate about literacy and its central role in all we do. We understand how crucial it is for each and every child to be able to access information through the medium of text. We aim to create students who are confident communicators when speaking and writing. Reading is key to this and we embed it in every part of our curriculum and school life.
Why reading matters
- Reading increases vocabulary, develops language skills and improves fluency and accuracy.
- Reading develops the imagination and provides a window into the lives of others. It sparks creativity and curiosity.
- Reading ability is closely linked to attainment in all GCSE subjects, not just English. Confidence in reading can be a measure of future success as reading helps us access a wide range of information and opportunities in the worlds of work and leisure.
- Reading improves concentration, a key life-skill.
- Reading is low-cost and easily accessible. It has been proven to reduce stress, increase empathy and help with mental health issues.
How we support literacy
Key words and technical terms are highlighted in lessons. Students are provided with key terms they will be using in all curriculum areas. They build familiarity with these over the course of their time at Thomas Adams so they are able to use them with ease for classwork and exams.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
We highlight the importance of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar in all subjects.
Every form reads from a selection of age-appropriate texts as part of their weekly form-time activities. This enables students to access texts that might be above their current reading ability, to engage with a variety of interesting stories and to hear high-level reading skills. It also gives students the opportunity to bond over shared interests in the texts/ indulge in “book chat”.
Click here for some of the current form-time reads.
Every student in KS3 has one reading lesson per week. This allows the teaching staff to guide students through group texts and to engender discussion about the books.
Click here for some of the current class reading books.
In addition, students in Y7 & Y8 have online access to Fiction Express which they will use for their homework. This fun, interactive, reading resource has a large back catalogue of books which students can access as well as being able to vote for “live” books to decide what happens next.
A Book & A Biscuit
These sessions take place in the School Library during morning form-time. Lower ability readers are paired with older students to read a shared text. Reading aloud in this way increases confidence and fluency for the younger readers and allows the older “reading mentors” to share their love of reading.
Click here for some of the ‘a Book and a Biscuit’ reading books.
All students are assessed at the start of Year 7 to establish reading and spelling ages. Based on this information we are able to put in place individual strategies to support lower ability readers. We use further tests during KS3 to track progress and we are able to continue this into KS4 for specific students where there is a need.
The School Library
Our school library is stocked with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books and is open to all students registered at Thomas Adams. Students are able to borrow books to take home and read. Subject-specific books are available to help with homework and for wider reading.
We use the library to promote reading for pleasure for all ages and interests from Year 7, to sixth formers, to teaching staff.
The library catalogue can be accessed via the link below and students can also use this link to log in and reserve books from home.
We have a student-led Book Group and a Science Book Group which meet weekly. Students who enjoy creative writing are encouraged to join “Scribble Society” which produces a termly newsletter on a whole range of subjects. [link to previous editions]
We also use the library as the meeting place for our staff book group “Chapters and Chats”.
As well as a School Librarian, we recruit student librarians each academic year to help with loans and returns, making book recommendations and keeping the library tidy.
We celebrate World Book Day with a number of events throughout the day. We also hold a school “book-nic” towards the end of the year where we take our lunch and a good book out onto the field to celebrate a year of great books and reading practice.
Literacy in the curriculum
Each department at Thomas Adams has developed its own policy to promote literacy in ways which best suit their subject area. Reading within lessons is taught explicitly and in a variety of different ways, e.g. reading aloud from a text book, naming the parts of a sports field, working through a set of technical instructions. You can read more about each department’s strategy here:
We are also working on building our collection of books in the library to complement subject areas and you will be able to read more about this in the coming months.
Reading at home
One of the most important things you can do to help your child succeed at school, is to encourage reading at home. Reading does not always have to be reading a book: comics, magazines, blogs etc. are all valid too. Audiobooks can also be a relaxing way to lose yourself in another world.