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Literacy at Bolder

At Bolder Academy we strive to promote Literacy skills for life across the curriculum; enriching students with oracy, reading and writing skills that will help them throughout their time at Bolder and beyond.

Words for Life: Building Academic vocabulary through PREP

In order comprehend a text we need to know an estimated 95% of its vocabulary. This is why we want to make sure students are reading and applying Academic vocabulary every day at the Academy and at home.

To support this, all of our students complete regular vocabulary activities for homework (prep) using their knowledge organisers. These have been created and designed by each of our departments and are updated each learning cycle.

The knowledge organisers break down subject specific vocabulary into tiers:

  1. Tier 1 – high frequency in spoken language (table, slowly, write, horrible)
  2. Tier 2 – high frequency in written texts (fundamental, beneficial, required, maintain)
  3. Tier 3 – subject specific, academic language (osmosis, trigonometry, onomatopoeia)

Each week students are assigned activities using Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary from their knowledge organisers. Other ways students can practice boosting their vocabulary at home is through vocabulary websites: Freerice, word sift, visu words and online etymology dictionary.

Reading for Pleasure: The Library and Accelerated Reader

After the age of 5, we acquire most of our new vocabulary through reading, which is why students should be reading for pleasure as part of their daily routine. If students read for at least twenty minutes a day they will encounter an estimated 1,800,000 words over the course of a year whereas reading for only one minute a day will result in only 8,000 words.

Accelerated Reader is used across the Academy, a programme that helps students make rapid progress with their reading –  allowing them to choose books within their own personalised reading level range (their ZPD) and take quizzes every time they have finished reading a book.

We have stocked our library with Accelerated Reader books and students are now able to borrow any of these books from the library through our student librarians. Students must have an appropriate reading book as part of their equipment and we expect all students to be reading a book at their appropriate book level. Students will have access to our Library at break times and one lunch time a week and are hugely encouraged to read for 30 minutes a day in order to make progress.

All students will take a STAR reading test three times a year and have already received their ZPD – their first book level range to help them choose the right books. When students have finished reading a book they can log onto the Accelerated Reader website to take quizzes and will receive points, rewards and prizes for their progress. Our Accelerated Reader website can be accessed via the Academy website under the student hub section.

Accelerated Reader can also be tracked by parents at home through Renaissance Home Connect, which is a tool that keeps parents informed of their child’s progress and encourages children to practice reading at home.

We also have a number of reading interventions taking place across the Academy and are lucky to have a group of volunteers from Sky who read with groups of students from Year 7 and Year 8 every week. In addition to our Library and Accelerated Reader, we continue to promote a culture of reading for pleasure across the Academy. We celebrate the students’ progress with reading and look forward to whole Academy events such as World Book Day and an author visit.