• Literacy 10
  • Literacy 11
  • Literacy 9
  • Literacy 3
  • Literacy 12
  • Literacy 13

Literacy at HWGA

Literacy at Handsworth Wood Girl's Academy

Literacy encompasses one’s ability to read, write and communicate and it is these areas that form the foundations to an individual’s success.  Through the acquisition of good literacy skills a child is able to develop into a competent and assertive young person who is likely to have greater opportunities in their adult life.  Here at Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy, we understand the importance of teaching literacy alongside subject content.  In addition we offer enrichment activities as well as routine strategies that enable our students to develop a higher sense of self-esteem; greater aspirations and an improvement to their academic ability through literacy.

Literacy 1   Literacy 2

In October, we held a Pause for LITERACY fayre, in December a KS3 spelling Bee and in March we celebrated ‘World Book Day’.  Throughout the day there were whole school competitions, lunch time activities, themed lessons as well as a whole Academy D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) The enthusiasm for literacy and reading was reflected in the fun and excitement of staff and students alike, and these events have become a permanent fixture at HWGA.

Literacy 12


Accelerated Reader

We as a school are aware that reading is first and foremost an underpinning factor to a child’s progress.  As a school, we are working hard to instil a reading culture and ignite a love of literature.  Students carry a reading book with them at all times during the school day, and one morning a week, they engage in a form reading session.  The Accelerated Reader Programme is delivered to years 7-9 and has shown to be very effective in improving the reading ages of our students, as well as promoting books and teaching those valuable reading skills.

Literacy 11

All students in years 7-10 are reading age tested using STAR.  The report generated is aligned to the national curriculum and reveals whether or not the student is meeting age-related expectations, it also offers strategies to promote reading progress.  Students in years 7-9 are tested using STAR three times over the course of the year, enabling teachers to monitor and support individuals effectively.  The final July 2017 reading age results demonstrated that progress been made across years 7, 8, and 9.

Literacy 7

Accelerated Reader helps all children become better readers, from pupils with additional needs to those who are gifted and talented. Students select books at their appropriate level, read and quiz.  As they gain more points, the student’s book level changes to increase the challenge and develop their ability.

Literacy 8

Due to its importance, reading age growth made over the year is recognised in the summer term Head Teacher’s Awards.  Similarly, top readers are presented with end of term certificates and prizes to celebrate their reading achievements.  A Sixth form reading buddy system supports students during morning registration with their reading and AR quizzing, building confidence in their literacy skills.

Pause for LITERACY

‘Pause for LITERACY’ is a whole school approach that aims to consolidate a number of literacy skills for students in every classroom across the Academy.  The resource offers support to areas of punctuation, essay writing, the examination of texts and even delivering a presentation.  This combined sense of responsibility from all departments is essential in raising our students’ standard of literacy, emphasising its importance beyond the English classroom.

Literacy 6

‘Pause for LITERACY’ is taught fortnightly within the English curriculum.  This builds on skills identified across the Academy, which are essential to students’ progress and success.  The curriculum map devised for years 7-9 focuses on the literacy progression of our students, by being taught in an engaging and challenging way to ensure skills are embedded.  In addition, lesson objectives are in line with the academic school calendar, making them more relevant to what is being taught across the Academy as a whole.  For example, In September the focus in subject specific terminology as students begin new courses and topics.    

Literacy 4

To further support literacy within the classroom, teachers are provided with a set of ‘Pause for LITERACY’ work mats.  These offer guidance and modelled examples for key skills identified by us as essential to students’ learning and progress.  In addition, the mats feature the command words, which are equally important for students to know and understand in preparation for KS3, 4 and 5 examinations and assessments.

Literacy 5

HWGA has a calendar of whole school literacy home studies, known as ‘Pause for…’  These provide half-termly focuses for all subjects to incorporate into their teaching, whether directly within a lesson or as a task for students beyond the classroom.  This whole school approach ensures collaboration and consistency in securing cross-curricular literacy skills across HWGA.  It is essential that students know that literacy skills are fundamental to success in all of their subjects and that as a school we are working to improve these.