At Pedmore High School all teaching staff recognise how important good literacy is for each student’s development and subject leaders ensure that literacy is considered and taught in each area. Good literacy means being able to understand, explore and communicate our thoughts and ideas effectively. We want our students to become enthusiastic readers, inspirational speakers, articulate writers and sensitive listeners. At Pedmore we aim to make progress in all of these areas and literacy is at the very heart of our school curriculum with students having access to a host of opportunities to develop their skills. Embedding literacy into all aspects of curriculum planning ensures that all our students can maximise their potential during their time with us at Pedmore.
Registration for Reading
All students in years seven, eight and nine take part in ‘Registration for Reading’. This is an important part of the weekly tutorial programme where at least twice a week each tutor will read to the whole class demonstrating excellent reading skills and modelling high quality reading techniques. Students are all encouraged to be attentive listeners but also have their own copy of the text to participate in class reading. These texts are selected from the literary canon or from contemporary prize winning shortlists and all the texts offer the opportunity to develop the students’ vocabulary, expand their cultural capital and develop their love of reading. Student guides are available to examine and explain challenging vocabulary with some comprehension questions to support understanding.
During tutor time at Pedmore, KS4 students participate in literacy projects that allow them to develop a range of skills. Students are introduced to different types of texts linked to a variety of subject areas and are set a range of thinking, speaking, reading and writing challenges. These projects are created to ensure students are developing their disciplinary literacy skills whilst also encouraging independence and resilience. Some of the activities that students take part in are: exploring non-fiction texts to examine real life historical cases, reading and responding to extracts from a range of literature, evaluative writing based on an image, understanding the etymology of words and broadening their vocabulary, the study of poetry, articles and transcripts from different periods of time, contributing to classroom debates and the creation of posters and other creative displays based on different themes.
Word of the Week
For students in years seven and eight, ‘Word of the Week’ is an integral part of the weekly tutor timetable designed to improve students’ tier two vocabulary. All students are introduced to sophisticated vocabulary and the definition of the word is explained with some examples or usage provided. Students are then challenged to use this new vocabulary in their lessons with opportunities provided across the curriculum. As an additional challenge, students in years nine and ten are given a ‘Root Word of the Week’. The etymology and meaning of the root word is provided and students then need to apply this knowledge to create words to be used in their lessons that week. Half termly awards in the form of positives and certificates are given to the students as a reward and the competition element in form time promotes a love of learning.
Each half term at Pedmore, reading for pleasure is celebrated through the use of ‘DEAR’ days. Each of these days are planned around key literary events and for ten minutes at the start of every lesson students and teachers use ‘Drop Everything and Read’ time to enjoy a text of their choice. This gives each student the opportunity to read independently and regularly to develop a lifelong love of reading and literature.
A Book in Every Bag
An initiative to promote reading for pleasure throughout the day, every day. Every student at Pedmore is encouraged to carry a reading book in their school bag. Students have access to the ILC where there is a wide range of literature to suit a variety of tastes.
As part of Pedmore’s extra-curricular programme, the weekly Debate Club has proved increasingly popular and represents Pedmore’s ambition to promote excellent speaking and listening skills. Following the success in school, students from Pedmore regularly represent the school at the Rotary ‘Youth Speaks’ competition. Students in KS3 and KS4 teams have repeatedly won the district competition and the KS4 team took their success one step further with a top three place in the regional finals in 2019.
Targeted literacy intervention is provided to students wherever possible with the need for intervention being identified promptly when students arrive at school. Students in years seven, eight and nine with a lower reading age are offered weekly intervention sessions during tutor time to improve their fluency and comprehension. Pedmore High School is also working in partnership with Oxford University Press as a Word Gap Partner school giving us access to high quality teaching resources to close the ‘Word Gap’ and improve vocabulary across the school.
All students in years seven and eight have full access to the Bedrock Vocabulary and Grammar online package. After taking part in an initial baseline assessment, each student has an individual vocabulary and grammar package designed to develop, improve and embed these skills. Easily accessible on all internet devices, students are encouraged to use this programme as part of their weekly English homework. Half termly prizes are awarded for a range of success criteria including, academic achievement, time spent, improved vocabulary and grammar knowledge and completion of tasks.
Literacy through the Curriculum
Although literacy skills are part of the whole school ethos, they are also an integral part of the English curriculum. Each stage of the curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of the students and explicit teaching of vocabulary using knowledge organisers and a wide variety of classroom activities are designed to enhance each student’s vocabulary and secure this vital knowledge enabling them to engage with a variety of challenging texts.
One designated reading lesson a week is also built into the KS3 curriculum giving students access to a variety of suitable and varied texts. These ‘Reading Reward’ lessons allow students to improve their reading ability and ensures that every child in school always has access to suitable and varied reading material. Following the completion of each text, students complete a range of reading challenges allowing them to achieve reading points and rewards in recognition of their success.
All students in KS3 and KS4 are also provided with an extensive reading list which is constantly referred to and kept at the back of their exercise book and also available on the school website. The ‘Sixteen before Sixteen’ reading challenge gives students a diverse selection of texts to choose from and completing this challenge ensures students are reading challenging, rewarding and varied texts during their time at Pedmore. During English lessons, students are not only challenged to improve their reading and writing skills, speaking and listening activities are built in to each scheme of work to give students the confidence and knowledge that will support them throughout their school life and future careers.
As part of the Invictus focus of “Embedding knowledge through oracy” we are proud that all students in year seven, eight and nine take part in weekly Forensic Reading lessons. These lessons encourage students to articulate ideas, develop understanding about a wide range of topics and engage with others through spoken language. Students are given a new Forensic Reading topic each term and all are designed to introduce students to socially and culturally diverse issues with an emphasis on developing oracy skills. At the end of each term, students will demonstrate their speaking and presentation skills as part of a spoken language assessment. These presentations will vary throughout the year and will to support with their KS4 speaking and listening assessments as well as preparing them for their future college and career applications and interviews. After successfully demonstrating their oracy skills, students are awarded with a certificate in acknowledgement of their success.