‘A word after a word after a word is power.’ - Margaret Atwood


Why literacy so important at King’s Leadership Academy Warrington

 At King’s Leadership Academy Warrington, we place huge value on the importance and the delivery of literacy. This is because we understand that literacy is much more than just reading, writing and oracy skills, but that literacy is crucial for all aspects of the curriculum and more importantly, everyday life. A secure understanding of literacy is necessary for the future of our young leaders and for this reason we have adopted a whole school approach to the teaching of literacy so that collectively, we can contribute to developing successful citizens in tomorrow's world.

Our mission “to develop a whole school culture to raise literacy attainment at every level of ability, so students can lead successful lives as tomorrow’s leaders in education across subjects, at work and in society”

‘Language and literacy provide us with the building blocks not just for academic success, but for fulfilling careers and rewarding lives’ - Education Endowment Fund


Assessing and monitoring literacy at King’s Leadership Academy Warrington

At KLAW, we are committed to meeting the needs of all of our young leaders to ensure that they make the best possible progress. From September every child in year 7 will complete a national baseline literacy assessment within the first term so that we can identify which students may benefit from additional literacy support and intervention. Students in years 8-10 will also complete an annual national literacy assessment so that we can monitor and track their literacy progress.

At King’s we use the national reading assessment, NGRT (New Group Reading Test) which is a standardised assessment that reliably measures reading skills. Tasks include sentence completion and reading comprehension, and the test should take 30-50 minutes. Upon completion, students get Standard Age Scores (SAS) and reading age data and this helps staff to understand different literacy starting points which in turn supports the planning of our curriculum. The national NGRT average SAS score is 100. Reading ages are not the same as Reading attainment. Reading ages are derived from the average raw or scale scores at different age points. It is important for us to support our young leaders to meet and exceed the national average 100 SAS score so that students can access the curriculum and reach their full potential. 

At King’s, we also use the Renaissance STAR Reading assessment which is a computer-adaptive baseline assessment. This assessment works hand-in-hand with Renaissance Accelerated Reader and students complete these assessments twice or three times a year in order to help monitor and track literacy progress. Renaissance STAR Reading assessment gives access to an accurate set of data including:

  • Reading age (in years and months)

  • Zone of Proximal Development: The range of difficulty level of books a child should read to allow for independent reading

  • Norm Referenced Standardised Score: How a child compares nationally with others of a similar age

  • Percentile Rank: A norm-referenced score that provides a measure of a child’s score compared with other children of the same age nationally

  • Scaled Score: A measure of a child’s progress against the expected standards in the new reading curriculum



How do we support students’ literacy skills?

Reading is an integral part of daily life at the Academy and every teacher will teach reading habits explicitly within their subject areas. These reading habits include:

  • Activating prior knowledge and prediction skills - Students think about what they already know about a topic from reading or other experiences and make predictions to create meaningful links.

  • Clarification skills - Students identify areas of uncertainty, which may be individual words or phrases, and seek information to clarify meaning.

  • Summarising skills - Students summarise the meaning of sections of the text to consolidate and elaborate upon their understanding.

  • Questioning skills - Students generate their own questions about a text to check their comprehension and apply their knowledge to the real world.

ALL students develop literacy during

  • ASPIRE Form Time Reading -  Register-Read-Respond is where students read a range of texts within ASPIRE time and answer comprehension questions to track and monitor progress whilst practising and strengthening reading habits. 

  • Silent reading - students start the day reading their books silently and independently to create a mindset of being ready to learn. 

  • Timetabled library sessions -  Fortnightly library lessons focus: on wider reading articles linked to topics studied in the curriculum; reading habits; student reading journal entries which allow students to reflect on what they have read. 

  • Accelerated Reader - Students will complete an Accelerated Reader quiz once they have finished their reading book to test their knowledge and understanding of the text. English staff have been trained on tracking students who are working below and making these students a focus in library lessons. 

  • Reading as part of homework - teachers may set wider reading resources as part of homework so students can read around the topic and build up their own knowledge.

  • Reading Scholar enrichment programme - focusing on higher level texts with scholarly discussion activities 

  • Reading Club - reading and discussion on a wide range of diverse texts, predominantly led by students with opportunity to be involved in Open mic events.

  • Character articles - students read topical news items on a weekly basis and engage in comprehension activities, there is also a weekly news quiz

  • Literacy Champions - literacy champion is a student(s) who has shown a great attitude towards reading throughout the week.

  • KP Code - as part of the Academy’s whole school marking for literacy policy, staff use the current codes to identify literacy needs within a student’s book.

  • Literacy events and competitions – annual events such as World Book Day, National Poetry and World Poetry Day, National writing competitions, Poetry by Heart, Spelling Bee are all events that our students get involved in. 

  • MyOn - Renaissance myON® Reader is a student-centred, personalised literacy environment that gives students access to more than 6,000 enhanced digital books.

  • Subject vocabulary lists - to support students’ wider knowledge of tier 2 vocabulary within subjects.

SOME students who require additional literacy support also receive 

  • Lexia programme - focuses on the five critical skills that students must master in order to become proficient readers: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Lexia is a program that supports educators in providing differentiated literacy instruction for students of all abilities. Lexia’s research-proven program provides explicit, systematic, personalised learning in the six areas of reading instruction, targeting skill gaps as they emerge, and providing teachers with the data and student-specific resources they need for individual or small-group instruction.

  • Literacy enrichment -  Small group targeted instruction with specialist teachers and scholar support.

  • Lexonik programme - Lexonik Leap effectively resolves phonics gaps for learners who find literacy particularly challenging and those for whom English is not their first language; rapidly progressing reading, spelling and oracy.

How do we support students’ writing skills?

  • KP Code - as part of the Academy’s whole school marking for literacy policy, staff use the current codes to identify literacy needs within a student’s book.

  • WAGOLLs - staff will provide good written examples 

  • Crafting for meaning - explore word/sentence/text level/features of the text

  • demonstrate structure

  • Writing scaffolds - Model the writing process and scaffold in the early stages providing writing frames

  • Literacy mats - Use the literacy mats to encourage use of correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, connectives and language features for different writing styles.

How do we support students’ vocabulary and oracy skills?

  • Debating enrichment - Students will be given the opportunity to opt into a debate enrichment club to improve their communication skills. The club will give students a chance to improve their literacy and oracy.

  • Subject vocabulary lists - to support students’ wider knowledge of tier 2 vocabulary within subjects. A whole school approach to the teaching of vocabulary has been adopted from September. This includes keywords on knowledge organisers and specific teaching of roots, etymology and morphology of words. This is enabling students to develop their working vocabulary and ensure there is a uniform approach to the teaching of vocabulary across the curriculum.

  • PPE and Character curriculum - In our Public speaking, Philosophy, Ethics and Character curriculum, students will study a range of world cultural and topical issues such as: animal testing, death penalty and hate crime. These lessons allow our students to construct arguments; learn from peers and articulate their opinions in a professional manner.

  • Speaking and listening activities - Activities should be well-focused and targeted. Students should be taught to use subject specific vocabulary according to specific curriculum areas.

  • Communication - should be taught through modelled examples from the teacher and spoken communication should be taught by teachers who promote group interaction and emphasise voice control and clarity using the Oracy Framework and Thought Stems.

Book Recommendations

Useful links

  • Parent information about NGRT

  • Words for Life is a campaign from the National Literacy Trust which  helps parents involved with their children’s communication and literacy development.

  • Literacy Champions is a programme that connects community volunteers with local families with children that would benefit from advice about supporting their children’s early literacy development. Literacy Champions support parents over a course of five weeks, encouraging them to share books with their children and introducing them to fun learning activities they can take part in with their child.

  • Reading Tips and advice from The BookTrust

  • Reading Rockets Tips for reading with your child, in other languages, children with additional needs

  • Tips for reading for pleasure fromThe Independent 

  • Why reading is important from Pearson Education

  • Parent’s guide to Accelerated Reader