This theme is best summarised through our WORDS strategy.
At Lawnswood School we believe that strong literacy and communication skills are essential to future happiness, wealth, freedom and choice.
Without the ability to read at a high level, interpret text and respond in written form, young people cannot begin to access the highly demanding GCSE exams let alone be ready and prepared make ambitious choices for their future.
We strongly believe that all teachers have a responsibility to improve the literacy of all the students at Lawnswood School.
Our whole school approach is captured in our WORDS Strategy which includes the following expectations and activities:
- Students will engage in a meaningful reading activity every week for 15 minutes during registration. This is tailored towards the needs of each year group and the emphasis is placed on trying to secure a joy of reading for each of our young people.
- All schemes of learning have regular literacy activities embedded within them, particularly focused around reading challenging texts filled with subject specific vocabulary.
- Staff are expected to use FRAYER models when introducing new vocabulary and to explore the etymology of new words with their students. The teaching of academic vocabulary in this manner is supported by the Education Endowment Foundation’s evidence informed disciplinary literacy approach.
- All adults within in the school model formal language in their interactions with each other and the students in their care, opportunities are also taken in lessons to ensure that all students converse with those around them who have high levels of vocabulary. Our approach to mixed ability teaching at Key Stage 3 is particularly important in developing the vocabulary of all our students.
- Written tasks are scaffolded in a consistent way, using the TOWER model.
- Year 7 and 8 students that have a low reading age are supported through a weekly guided reading session with a sixth form buddy.
- Our library is open before, during and after school and is a central hub for children both in lesson times and during social times.
- All staff know that modelling a love of reading is essential and this is never more evident then during World Book Week, when staff dress up as a literary character, run competitions, sponsored reading activities, book swaps and a multitude of other activities.
- Each year all students also engage in the Community Read. We choose a book and every lesson for a week starts with a chapter from the same book. It is a wonderful journey to witness a whole school work through a story together. Over the last three years we have read:
- The Face by Benjamin Zephaniah
- The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
- Freidrich by Hans Peter Richter
- We regularly engage with visiting poets, theatre production and debating opportunities; alongside many engaging lunch time clubs that support student’s literacy skills. In addition to World Book Week we also embrace other National opportunities such as Non-fiction November and National Poetry Day.
- All students take part in the NGRT Reading Assessment twice a year and the data is reported home at every data collection and used to ensure that those students struggling with reading receive appropriate support and intervention.
One of the many impacts of our WORDS strategy is that students in all year groups make significantly higher than national progress in their reading across the five years that they are with us.