Literacy & DEAR

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”

Kofi Annan


At Aylward Academy, we believe that literacy lies at the heart of a student’s success, it is the key to empowering individuals and unlocking their critical thinking, creativity and communication, as well as improve student’s self-esteem and motivations. This is why we instil a love of reading, writing and talk, in all Aylward students.

English has a leading position in education and society and it is through English that pupils are taught to speak and write fluently so they are able to communicate their ideas to others. More specifically, effective use of language is crucial to successful learning in all subject areas of our curriculum, each of which can contribute to developing literacy skills through its own distinctive opportunities and demands.

Literacy Aims

As an academy we aim:

  • For literacy to be a central component of our entire curriculum by encouraging the transfer of literacy skills across the curriculum.
  • To ensure fluency and progression to mastery in reading and writing.
  • To enhance our student’s ability to express oneself fluently and grammatically in speech (oracy).

To do this we promote and develop the following four main areas we believe are central to lifelong literacy development:

  • Oracy
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Subject-specific vocabulary

How do we develop the four main areas?


At Aylward Academy, we have a strong focus on developing oracy amongst all students. Supporting the development of strong speaking and listening skills raises standards and underpins the development of reading and writing, particularly within our ‘talk for writing’ approach. By having an oracy led curriculum that encourages students to discuss, debate and deliberate students are able to learn through talk and learn to talk.

In addition, through our wider curriculum offer such as the Speak Out Challenge and Debate Club, we are able to engage students to be confident speakers, critical thinkers and empowered citizen.

Writing & Subject-specific vocabulary

We want all of our students to become successful and confident writers. This is why students are given opportunities to review model text and unpick subject vocabulary. Use of knowledge organisers across all curriculum areas provides a bank of subject-specific vocabulary and support students ability to recall and apply key terms.

Extended, purposeful writing opportunities are planned across the curriculum, which engages and encourages students with their writing. In addition, built into subject curriculums are regular opportunities to review and redraft pieces of work, so students are able to develop written fluency and progress to mastery in all areas.


At Aylward Academy, we aim to foster a love of reading, which means encouraging students to read for enjoyment and understanding. We encourage children to read widely in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. One way this is done is through our Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) programme and library lessons.

Drop Everything and Read - DEAR

All students in KS3 Year 7-9 have a dedicated time to read, this is done throughout the week in tutor time for Year 7 and twice a week for year 8 and 9. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of reading a day can significantly improve the reading age of any child; therefore we are committed to invest and provide time for improving students reading.

Library Lessons

In addition to DEAR, within KS3 English, students have one library lesson a fortnight. Here, they explore particular elements in regards to reading; this ranges from exploring genre and themes in novels to learning new vocabulary and creating character profiles and book reviews. During library lessons, there is also the opportunity to take tests on books they have read via Accelerated Reader.

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is a programme that monitors and tests students in their reading skills. Once a book has been completed, students can test their comprehension, understanding and spelling. It also helps to guide students as to what book they should be reading, matching books to their reading age. Their results are printed and monitored by their form tutor and English teacher and students are given regular feedback on ways they can improve their scores. This programme is designed to advance readers at all levels and is personalised to suit individual needs. Students are supported to make improvements through interventions, alongside reading book clubs.

Other ways the academy supports student’s literacy include:

    • Rosetta Stone
    • Ruth Miskin
    • Reading buddy
    • Duolog Reading Coach Programme
    • SEND & EAL interventions

We are proud of the efforts of both staff and students in raising the profile of reading across the academy. Please click on our Book Loft section for further details; alternatively feel free to contact the academy to arrange an appointment.

Supporting your child to read at home

We believe that in order for students to truly reach their reading potential, they should also be reading regularly at home.

The Day launched for schools and colleges to help explain current affairs in short articles written and illustrated with great care by their own staff writers and graphic artists; to be a serious briefing service for everyone; to pick out the underlying issues that are shaping the world; and to help readers ask good questions rather than believe they have the answers.

Their mission is to help students think about what they can see and hear around them in the news day by day; to learn to make the link between this and what they are studying and to understand the relevance and importance of knowledge; to think for themselves and talk about everything, to debate, discuss and research; to grow in confidence and find their own voice; and to become teachers themselves in their peer groups and families and among friends.

Aylward Academy has invested in 'The Day' a daily news service to support our students, parents and staff. This support includes :

  • Six daily articles and features linked to the curriculum
  • Complete programme for form time and assembly
  • Over 5,000 articles and features in our archive
  • Unlimited access for students, teachers and parents

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