Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Literacy and Library

Young people who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of life. Their outcomes – from academic to health and wellbeing, finance and employment – are poorer on almost every measure.

At Oasis Academy Brightstowe, we believe that improving literacy is fundamental. All teachers should be supported to understand how to teach students to read, write and communicate effectively in both their subjects and in engaging with the world around them.

We believe students should be exposed to challenging texts that make them curious about their own and other cultures, and that we can support them in gaining both pleasure and understanding in these texts by teaching vocabulary explicitly. Reading helps students gain knowledge that leads to better writing, whilst writing can deepen students’ understanding of ideas. Our aim is to create confident readers and writers who can also participate in high quality talk that is well-structured and guided by teachers.

Our vision is to create a culture of reading within our school in order to enhance students’ cultural capital, vocabulary and enjoyment of reading as well as considering the importance of disciplinary literacy across the curriculum and providing vocabulary instruction in every subject.

National group reading test (NGRT)

All year 7 and 9 students complete the National Group Reading Tests (NGRT) at least twice during the year.  The NGRT is a fully adaptive reading assessment. As it’s adaptive, it offers a personalised experience for each student, ensuring it’s accessible for those who are struggling and challenging for those who need to be stretched, so you can get to the root of any problems identified precisely and quickly.  There is no more crucial skill for success in any subject than reading, so being able to accurately assess and monitor this is essential. The NGRT is proven to deliver a reliable assessment of reading comprehension, set against the national average. Using it regularly helps to quickly spot problems that will hold back a child’s progress, with customised practical classroom solutions for each student and the ability to track progress and improvements in reading age.

Literacy across the curriculum

Teachers understand the value in teaching students how to read, write and communicate effectively.  Whilst we recognise that each subject has its own unique language - ways of knowing, doing, and communicating - we have a common approach to the teaching of literacy throughout the academy.  For all curriculum areas every unit of work includes the teaching of subject specific vocabulary, reading comprehension and opportunities for students to practice and master extended writing.

Literacy skills lessons

Each week students in Year 9 have a one hour literacy skills lesson.  The main focus of the lesson is to develop reading comprehension.  Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. It relies on two, interconnected abilities: word reading (being able to decode the symbols on the page) and language comprehension (being able to understand the meaning of the words and sentences).  Having excellent reading comprehension skills is crucial. It increases the enjoyment and effectiveness of reading and helps not only academically, but professionally, and in a person's personal life.

Guided reading

The school has invested in class sets of fantastic novels for year 7, 8 and 9, who are taking part in whole class guided reading. The tutor reads the novel aloud to the students, who follow along with their own copy of the text. This creates a shared experience and a fantastically calm and purposeful start to the day. This happens in tutor time twice per week.

The Library

Our wonderful Library is a real hub at the centre of our school, where students can take part in book clubs that allow them to shadow the Bristol Teen Book Award and the Carnegie Medal.

The Library is a vibrant space for students to complete research, get book recommendations and develop a life-long love of reading.

A variety of exciting events take place in the library, including regular ‘Poetry Picnics’ and the annual Student Spelling Bee competition. Information about the newest literary resources and exciting, termly, Library competitions are promoted in year group assemblies and the celebration surrounding World Book Day is one of the biggest events on the school calendar.

Authors such as David Almond, Non Pratt and Polly Ho-Yen have visited the Academy and our programme of author visits is inspiring for our students. The Library has just launched a new, exciting reading challenge ‘15 Before 16’. Before they turn sixteen, students are required to read fifteen modern or traditional classics, or books classed as essential Young Adult reads, from the ‘15 before 16’ reading list.

Click HERE to download a list of recommended reading for students in Key Stage 3.

Ten Top Tips To Help Your Child Become a Reader for Life

As parents, you have an important role to play in helping your child to develop their reading. Research has shown children who read regularly are more likely to succeed. Here are our top ten tips to help your child read:

1.     Set aside 20 minutes to sit with your child with no distractions and listen to them read.

2.    Let your child choose the book, you will need to make sure it is not too difficult for them or they will struggle. Pick easier books to start with so your child can build their confidence and flow.

3.     Be positive. Boost their confidence with positive praise for even the smallest achievement.

4.     Be patient.

5.     Keep the reading flow going. If your child makes a mistake, give them time to self-correct. It is also sometimes better to tell them an unknown word to keep momentum and interest going than make them sound it out.

6.     Listen to your child read at least 3-5 times a week. Little and often will make a big difference.

7.     Talk about what they have just read. Ask your child to tell you about the characters, what has happened so far, what they think will happen and what their favourite part is.

8.    Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials: magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, comics as well as books.

9.    Ask your child to read aloud material which interests both of you, like a newspaper article about your favourite activity, a recipe you are trying to make or a review in the TV guide.

10.    Visit your local library to look for new books to read.