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Literacy and Reading at Hugh Christie

Hugh Christie Word of the Week
2022 -2023

Words give you Power – the more you have the more powerful you will be.


In your school day, you will meet thousands of words, some you know and some you don’t. You will also meet the same words in different lessons and be expected to know how that subject uses that word when another subject might use it in a different way.


To help you learn, be powerful and be confident in using words in many different ways and in many different situations, we are going to focus on one word a week that can be used by lots of different subjects.


You will see how it is used, you will know how it is spelt and what its word classification is. You will see how it links to other words and what is meant when each    subject uses the word.


Of course, you will still be using thousands of other words and you should still try to learn new words every day.

Word of the week resources for 2022/23 can be accessed here

Literacy Matters for 2022/23

This year we are focusing on...


  • Proper Nouns are the names of people, places, titles, companies, shops and people’s titles ( e.g. Miss).

  • The start of a sentence.

  • Abbreviations.


  • To show you can communicate effectively with others.

  • To be accurate, precise and clear about what you want to communicate to others.

  • When you write, make sure you start sentences with a Capital letter and end them with a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark to denote the type of sentence. 

Start a new paragraph when TIME, PLACE, TOPIC or PERSON changes:

  • To organise your thoughts, information and arguments.

  • To build excitement, tension and narrative.

  • Use an indent if handwritten or missed line if typed on a computer.

School Literacy Policy is available here

reading data.jpg

Table of reading ages (click to enlarge)

Word Power

To get a word to be part of you and part of your overall power you need to use it at least ten times before your brain has got it firmly fixed. So it isn’t enough simply to write down the meaning of a word in a lesson and then not use it. Just like everything: practice makes for power and perfection.

Easy ways to increase your Word Power:

Try to learn a new word every day.


Keep a list of your new words so you always have them with you.


Practise using that word in your writing and  speaking.


Practise using the different versions of the word e.g. if you have learnt the verb, use the adjective, noun and adverb from it: create, creative, creation and   creatively.


Make yourself find ways of using that word more than once a day.


Do not get put off if people don’t immediately  understand you or make fun of you for using  different words – keep going!

Reading at Hugh Christie

The ability to read is a fundamental life skill. It is essential to us all if we are to participate fully in society and the workplace.

Students with low reading ages, as they progress through secondary school, will struggle to read independently, and so read less. As a result, they do not accumulate the background knowledge and vocabulary they need to improve their comprehension. It is therefore harder for them to access the curriculum.


Our approach towards a culture where our whole school is reading is outlined below:


1. Value of reading

The whole school values the importance of reading. This is demonstrated by:

  • Students have access to a well-resourced Library and Librarian. Students are encouraged to borrow books and read for pleasure.

  • The school invites renowned authors to school to inspire students,

  • Students are presented with two free books during Years 7 and 8.

  • The English curriculum carefully sequences the study of books that will interest, challenge and inspire our students.

  • Recommended reads are provided to students.

  • All curriculum areas are also encouraged to provide opportunities for reading where appropriate.

  • Reading forms part of the Advisory programme during Key Stage 3 to ensure every student has a period of reading for pleasure in school weekly.

  • Daily reading for pleasure forms part of the school homework policy. Through regular briefings, parents are encouraged to support reading at home.

  • The whole staff receive training in how to support reading across the curriculum as well as specific strategies to support those identified as weak readers.


2. Identification

All students are regularly screened for their reading ages. This information is used to diagnose students as ‘weak readers’. These are students who have persistently demonstrated reading ages well below their chronological ages and will therefore be finding access to secondary curriculum resources challenging.

Once identified, the further investigation takes place to investigate the reasons for this such as dyslexia, fluency rates, speech and language, ADHD, word reading accuracy and decoding.


3. Sharing of information

Staff are made aware of students who are weak readers. In addition, they are made aware of further diagnostics as to the reasons for this so they can plan appropriate support within the classroom as part of the school’s core offer.

They also have access to every student’s reading age so they are also aware of those who have very high reading ages and can challenge them appropriately.


4. Support

Three levels of support for weak readers:

1. As part of their core offer, all subject teachers will provide additional support within their curriculum area. Strategies include (depending on need):

  • Introducing vocabulary before each topic & provide extra opportunities for practice.

  • Using reading tools & strategies to enable weak readers to focus on content.

  • Providing scaffolded resources to help weak readers reach the top.

2. The English Department use its enhanced knowledge of the teaching of reading to provide enhanced strategies.  During the Foundation Years, students have regular Library lessons.

3. Small group intervention using strategies such as reciprocal reading and phonics.

Monitoring Impact

The impact is monitored through:

  • Regular testing of pupils’ reading ages.

  • Deep Dive process involving all subjects on an annual basis.

  • Outcomes in GCSE English Language and other appropriate English internal assessments twice a year.

Current impact (based on pupils in Year 11 who were also on roll in Year 7 with matching reading age data)

Impact of reading interventions based on 2022 Data

Based on national data for 15-year-olds (Year 11) from GL Assessment for those with a reading age of 15 or more. Students included are those who are on roll in Year 11 and also Year 7 so matched data exists.

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