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Whole School Literacy

South Shore Academy is committed to raising standards of literacy in all its students, through a co-ordinated approach. Every teacher is a teacher of reading. 

Here at SSA we love to read, and we see the value in being able to read for pleasure and read for purpose. The benefits of reading are well documented:


  1. exercises your brain.
  2. provides knowledge and information about the wider world.
  3. reduces stress and puts you in a better mood.
  4. improves concentration and focus.
  5. helps to develop creativity.
  6. enriches your language and vocabulary – both spoken and written.
  7. increases your ability to empathise with others.
  8. helps you to reflect.
  9. improves your memory.
  10. is free entertainment.

Good Readers will deploy several strategies: 

  • Read with fluency (be able to recognise words at a glance).
  • Read with expression.
  • Activate prior knowledge of the world.
  • Draw on their knowledge of how language works.
  • Predict. 
  • Question.
  • Clarify. 
  • Summarise 

Our aim is for all students to leave the Academy as confident readers, who are either at, or above their chronological age. An overview of our strategies for improving reading across the Academy is shown below:


At SSA we know how well our students can read from the outset. On arrival into the Academy, we use the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) to assess students’ level of reading in vocabulary and comprehension. This data allows us to create a bespoke intervention program for those who fall below age-related expectations. Our team of trained staff identify gaps quickly, and plan and deliver a range of interventions based on need.

Students are provided with reading opportunities in every curriculum lesson. All teachers have received CPD on how to incorporate reading into their lessons, and how to promote reading skills to students, in particular, reciprocal teaching strategies (predict, question, clarify, summarize). Staff are also equipped to deliver explicit vocabulary instruction through a wide range of activities. This increases students’ exposure to a wide variety of texts, further improving their reading fluency and comprehension.

This CPD is revisited iteratively at faculty level to ensure staff continue to embed disciplinary literacy at classroom level. Further QA takes place during regular work scrutiny, where vocabulary and literacy are explicitly monitored through book looks and pupil voice.

Each faculty has a vocabulary curriculum that is mapped with their subject curriculum. Key words are explicitly taught from the vocabulary curriculum with opportunities for retrieval practice in subsequent lessons.

Every morning from 8.40-9.10 am students follow the Register and Read program with their form tutors. Teachers model good practice by reading aloud to their tutor groups which fosters a culture of reading around school and sees every teacher as a teacher of reading, whatever their subject discipline. Books have been carefully mapped against the curriculum to support student development in areas such as empathy, discrimination, bereavement, justice, relationships and motivation. This year our students are reading:

  • Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Stone Cold by Robert Swindells
  • Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
  • The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Non-fiction selection of short texts
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
  • Chinese Cinderella & The Secret Dragon Society By Adeline Yen Mah
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Moonrise by Sarah Crossman
  • Know Your Rights, Geraldine Von Bueren
  • I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • You Are a Champion by Marcus Rashford
  • Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

We have a dedicated team of HLTAs who lead reading interventions across all year groups. These have proven to be highly impactful, raising the chronological reading ages of all students who undertake each intervention. Students are targeted in 6 week blocks and collected twice per week.

We use Lexonik Advance which rapidly improves literacy skills by developing vocabulary, academic language, comprehension skills, spelling and confidence. Lexonik Leap is used to resolve any phonics gaps for students who find literacy particularly challenging and for those whom English is not their first language. To ensure the fidelity of these interventions, each session is scripted and adhered to by staff, thus ensuring every child receives the same high-quality intervention.

Precision Teaching is an intervention used with students who have difficulty with decoding and phonics. It involves short one-minute tasks whereby students practice reading high frequency words. Progress is tracked and monitored closely, and changes are made to ensure the child is learning as fast as they can until they are fluent in reading.

Paired Reading is used with students who lack fluency and confidence in reading. This takes place in the library with one of the reading team, who ensures that the level of challenge in a book is appropriate to the reading age of a student. We use the ‘pause, prompt, praise’ strategy to encourage independence, allowing time for self-correction thus increasing confidence and fluency. During this time reciprocal questioning is employed to support comprehension. Echo reading & timed reading are used to improve fluency, emphasis and pace.

Weekly faculty meetings allow for iterative CPD to take place. Team members share new research and provide updates or concerns with interventions. Any issues are discussed which ensures the quality of the interventions remains high.

The school library supports students and faculties by providing relevant resources to support the curriculum with a challenging and supportive environment to inspire, maintain and develop an enquiring mind and an enjoyment in reading. There are calendared events throughout the year to promote reading for pleasure, and these are delivered through the Academy library ‘The Jane Suite’ where we have a display dedicated to events and authors from around the world.


The impact of the reading strategies used are measured in various ways. All students complete the NGRT at the end of the year to measure progress from the previous year. However, within interventions we use smaller measures such as the WRAT (Lexonik) and the YARC assessment to gain a more detailed results on certain individual students.

Within lessons, teachers use a variety of methods to measure progress which include spelling tests, low stakes quizzes, guided reading sheets and extended writing.

As mentioned, our school library plays an integral part in our drive to improve reading across the school. The number of ‘loans’ from the library gives a guide as to the success of promoting reading for pleasure. Our librarian provides regular reports regarding borrowing from the library. This proves the extent of wider reading within school. Loans can also be broken down by class or year group. Reports show yearly loans in comparison to other years, number of students who have never borrowed a book, percentage of fiction to non-fiction borrowed. As a consequence, this information allows us to target individuals who haven’t borrowed for some time.

Lexia Power Up – students have their own log in for this. Please use the teacher email –

Lexia Core5 – students have their own log in for this. Please use the teacher email –

Sumdog – students have their own log in and can practice spelling using this website.


Looking for a good book to support your understanding  of your subjects?

Recommended Books

Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust
South Shore Academy
St Annes Road
Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 2AR