Leeds West Academy



Literacy Strategy 2016-17

Leeds West Academy is committed to delivering a vibrant and engaging curriculum which produces the highest possible outcomes for each and every child.

Details of our literacy strategy can be found below:


View the Literacy Strategy for 2016-17

Renaissance Accelerated Reader

Foundation School students in Year 7 and 8 participate in the Accelerated Reading Programme, during as many possible opportunities throughout the weekly timetable. For year 7, this is during Project lessons and for some groups during English lessons as well (en4 and en5). For Year 8 it is part of their English timetable.

There are three-assessment points throughout the year, so that pupils can ensure that they are reading to develop reading skills. This happens most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books – difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated. This is their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD), which pupils use to help them select the correct book.

Students read a book, take an online quiz, and get immediate feedback. This allows them to respond to regular feedback and are motivated to make progress with their reading skills. Because students receive regular feedback from Accelerated Reader, teachers and librarians are given many opportunities to praise students for their successes and to discuss with them what they have been reading. Many reward systems are in place such as most words read and most quizzes passed, allowing all pupils to celebrate their achievement in reading. 

We are a Reading Academy

At Leeds West Academy we think that reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is one of the most important factors in allowing children to reach their full potential. A love of literature and a genuine desire to read opens doors to students that remain closed for reluctant readers, no matter how strong their ability. In order to support the drive to engage students with reading for enjoyment, the academy offers a range of activities and experiences linked to reading for pleasure. 

The school celebrates National Poetry Day each year with a focus on poetry in English lessons that is further reinforced by other school teams through teaching linked to the theme of the day. Last year’s theme was ‘Light’ and students worked on this in Project and Geography lessons in addition to looking at poems on light linked to Diwali and Leeds Light Night. Some of our students’ work was shared around school this year and, after being put on Twitter, was re-tweeted by the National Poetry Day campaign itself. This year preparations are already being made for the day which focuses on the theme of ‘Messages’.

The English department also welcomes visiting authors into the academy to work with students of all ages and abilities on reading and creative writing skills.  Last year we were visited by G.P. Taylor, author of the Mariah Mundy series of novels, who shared his motivations for reading with the whole of Year 7 and then led workshops with small groups of pupils. We also welcomed comic book writer Corey Brotherson to the academy to work with Year 11 students on Controlled Assessment pieces and the art of descriptive writing.

Photo: Poetry Slam 2017 workshops with Andy Craven-Griffiths.

The Readathon is another important date on the English team’s calendar with students in Year 7 encouraged to read as many books as they can and raise money to provide books for children in hospital at the same time. The Readathon is run by Mr Benson and all abilities are invited to take part.

Of course, a love of reading is also fostered within English lessons with all students in Years 7 and 8 taking part in weekly Reading lessons as an addition to their traditional classes. Students in set 1-3 all take part in the Renaissance Reading Accelerated Reader programme which tests students’ comprehension of books they have read and suggested novels that will both entertain and challenge them. In sets 4 and 5 all students take part in the Accelerated Reading scheme in addition to taking part in a shared reading of an audiobook linked to their specific ability level.  

For those students who need extra support in reading, we use the Fresh Start programme, which is aimed at helping students to develop the phonics skills they need to become fluent readers and writers. Students who need it also gain extra support through our Level-Up Project, which provides additional lessons in the holidays as well as one to one and small group tuition during the school term.  In addition to this, our Year 11 and sixth form Reading Champions read with year 7 and 8 students every week in coaching.

All students have access to well-resourced Library, which is at the centre of reading in the academy. All students are encouraged to have a reading book, and Year 7 are taken to the library in scheduled lessons.  The library has a series of activities scheduled to raise reading enjoyment throughout the year.  The librarian, Ms Walker, also works closely with area teams to provide book boxes and create subject themed weeks where appropriate.