Literacy covers the three key aspects of reading, writing, and speaking & listening. Mastering these skills is not only essential for life, but will also ensure the full curriculum can be accessed and success achieved in all subjects. At Wilsthorpe, we take a cross-curricular approach to literacy. All staff receive regular training and we have lots of whole-school programmes and initiatives to promote and improve literacy. 

At Wilsthorpe we are proud of our Library which is a vibrant, well-loved and popular space. Our mission is to support the curriculum and also to promote reading for pleasure.  

Resources 

Our collection contains over 7,000 fiction and information books for students and staff to use. We also stock over 200 films and hold newspapers and academic journals. In addition, we house a careers section. Students are generally allowed to borrow two items at a time, although further loans can be borrowed on agreement with the librarians. We also have 30 networked computers and a colour printer and photocopier for students to access throughout the school day. 

The Librarians produce a termly newsletter, to inform students of events, competitions, latest recommended reads, positive national news items and fun activities. 

Library Lessons, Clubs and Activities 

Students in Key Stage 3 have timetabled library lessons once a fortnight. This gives us an opportunity to recommend new and important works of fiction. We work collaboratively with the English department to ensure these lessons are interactive and informative. Students are also able to access the Library during break times and after school most days.  

Throughout the year we run various activities to promote reading for pleasure including, celebrating World Book Day, participating in author events and shadowing book awards including the Carnegie Award and the Derbyshire Schools’ Book Award. We also run after school clubs including: a Book Club, Chess Club, and Film Club. At Film Club students enjoy watching the latest movies and participating in fun activities such as stage make-up workshops. 

Opening times 

Monday           8.35 – 3.00 

Tuesday           8.35 – 4.00 

Wednesday    8.35 – 4.00 

Thursday         8.35 – 4.00 

Friday              8.35 – 3.00  

Library Managers 

Mrs Trickey BA MA MCLIP  trickeyh@wilsthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk 

Mrs Briggs MCLIP                 briggss@wilsthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk 

Or librarians@wilsthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk 

Reading for pleasure is vital for improving your child’s literacy. Each student has their reading ability tested each year, which produces a reading age. This information is used by staff to monitor improvement and provide support or challenge where necessary.
  
Regular reading is proven to: 

  • Improve vocabulary, spelling, writing and speaking skills. 
  • Develop imagination. 
  • Create empathy towards others and develop critical thinking skills. 
  • Improve mental health. 
  • Increase confidence. 
  • Improve your child’s chances of getting better grades in all subjects. 
  • Improve career prospects in later life. 
  • Be fun and enjoyable!
      
    Establishing routines around reading can be helpful. Ask your child questions on what they have been reading to encourage them and check comprehension. Being read to or listening to a story via audiobook is still beneficial.
      
    At KS3, the Knowledge Organiser includes a Reading Log to fill out. These are checked once a fortnight in Library lessons. Please ensure your child has read and sign the log to confirm they have done so. Students are regularly rewarded for their reading.
      
    What to Read

It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. At KS3, the fortnightly library lesson is an opportunity for pupils to get advice from a Librarian and English teacher and recommendations from peers. KS4 and KS5 students visit the Library during Tutor Time. We expect all of our pupils to have a reading book in their bag at all times. 

  
Not finding the ‘right book’ can be a barrier to reading, however, it is not an excuse – there are millions of books out there! The internet is a fantastic resource for discovering new books. For example, Books for Keeps is an online children’s book magazine which is full of recommendations.
  
Our own Library recommended reading lists: 

What To Read Lower Reading Ages

What To Read Mid Range Reading Ages

What To Read Higher Reading Ages

  • Encourage your child to write for pleasure: a diary entry, a story, letters to family, an opinion piece – fiction or non-fiction – anything goes! 
  • Planning: encourage your child to plan before attempting an extended piece of writing. 
  • Proofread: Teachers at Wilsthorpe encourage pupils to check their written work before they see it as ‘finished’. Encourage your child to check for full stops, capital letters and spelling mistakes as the very basics. 
  • Read aloud to punctuate: get your child to read out their completed work and they should hopefully hear where the punctuation should go. If not, try reading it to them with the correct pauses for punctuation (rather than simply telling them where the punctuation goes). 
  • At KS3, the Knowledge Organiser contains spellings to be learnt, which will be tested fortnightly in Grammar lessons. Encourage your child to use the ‘look, cover, write, check’ method to help them to learn these. 
  • Ensure your child is confident with the words on the Academic Word List – encourage them to complete a Word Study for words they don’t know. 
  • Make your fridge a word wall: Using magnetic fridge letters, you could create vocabulary lists (such as alternative words for ‘good’) or put up commonly-misspelled words on the fridge door! A variation on this is to put up words that are incorrect and ask them to spot the mistakes. 

  

Handwriting 

As long as handwriting is legible, priority should be given to the speed of writing over neatness. Not getting enough down on the page within time limits can be a barrier to success. If your child does need to make their writing more legible, there is a ‘Handwriting Practice Booklet’ available to download and print here. 

We believe it is vital for every child to ‘find their voice’: for success in education and the wider world. Successful speakers understand how to be polite and respectful, actively listen and articulate themselves, as well adapt their speaking for different audiences and purposes. Being able to scrutinise and develop ideas are just as important in speech as they are in writing. In lessons, we use the ABC Discussion model and remind our students how to speak to others appropriately and effectively.     

Parents may wish to follow the ‘Talk with TRUST’ model when speaking to your child: 

  • Take turns to talk 
  • Recap ideas 
  • Use lots of encouragement 
  • Share and talk about experiences 
  • Tune-in and be interested 

See an example of this in practice here 

All KS3 students have access to the Literacy Planet website, which includes a range of fun activities proven to improve Literacy. Logins are available from English teachers. 

CGP Literacy workbooks and guides (for KS3 and KS4) are available to purchase for your child through ParentPay from only £2.60 each. KS3 students with a lower reading age will receive the ’10 Minute Tests’ workbook free of charge at the start of each academic year. 

In addition to the core literacy skills of reading, writing, and speaking & listening, many GCSE courses now award marks for SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). For success at GCSE, it is essential that pupils can read and understand exam questions and communicate clearly in their writing, often under time pressure. In order to maximise success at GCSE, students should:

  • Keep reading for pleasure 
  • Practise timed exam responses 
  • Plan any extended responses in exams 
  • Proof-read their writing in exams 
  • Break down and highlight key words in exam questions to aid understanding 
  • Revise connectives – these can ensure extended answers are logically structured and developed: 

Connectives

  • Revise exam command words and the words on the Academic Word List– many of which often appear in GCSE exam questions. Encourage them to complete a Word Study for words they don’t know. 

CGP Literacy workbooks and guides (for KS3 and KS4) are available to purchase for your child through ParentPay from only £2.60 each. KS3 students with a lower reading age will receive the ’10 Minute Tests’ workbook free of charge at the start of each academic year. 

Strong literacy skills are essential for students to meet the demands of A Level studyAs the majority of our Sixth Form students aim to attend university, wider reading really helps university applicants to make their personal statements stand out and to impress at interview. The following link offers suggestions for extended reading for Sixth Form students:  

Sixth Form Wider Reading List

Literacy Leaders are a group of Wilsthorpe students who aim to promote literacy across the school. The Literacy Leaders meet in Room 102 during Monday lunchtimes. New members of any age and ability are welcome – this is a rewarding opportunity to help others and enhance CVs. 

Information can be found here and an application can be downloaded here.