Useful Links

Useful Links

Literacy and Reading

Literacy and Reading at DACA

DACA’s Literacy Vision 

Unless children have learned to read, the rest of the curriculum is a secret garden to which they will never enjoy access.

Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world. At DACA, we firmly believe that literacy is an empowering tool that enables our students to become well-rounded and socially engaged citizens. We are committed to enriching the lives of students by prioritising the development of literacy skills across our curriculum and wider school culture. For us, the development of literacy is a collective responsibility—all staff, students and parents should engage with reading and writing as it is a fundamental life skill that opens up a whole world of possibilities and greater independence. By prioritising literacy, we aim to promote the development of critical and creative thinking, interpersonal and team-working skills, as well as competence in speaking, reading, and writing. Effective literacy skills remove potential barriers to education and employment pathways and equip our students with the knowledge to overcome challenges and demands faced beyond their educational careers.

Our literacy strategy ensures that our students:

  • have the necessary tools to access the curriculum 
  • are able to transfer knowledge, ideas and skills between subject areas 
  • recognise the importance of and enjoy reading for pleasure
  • recognise the value of writing and communicating effectively
  • are able to continue their literacy development beyond their educational career

We achieve this by:

  • developing literacy rich curriculums that provide opportunities for reading, vocabulary development and oracy skills
  • providing opportunities for reading for pleasure
  • implementing a range of interventions to support underachieving and lower ability students 
  • utilising the Accelerated Reader programme
  • explicit modelling of writing in all subjects
  • providing exciting opportunities to develop speaking and listening, such as ‘pen down week’

Reading at DACA 

How do we ensure a rich reading culture across DACA?

Effective programme of testing and intervention.

All students complete NGRT tests and star reading assessments through the Accelerated Reader programme to provide us with a reading age score. Students who will benefit from specific targeted interventions are then identified. We offer literacy intervention through the IDL programme, Read Write inc Phonics and Accelerated Reader.

Reading across the curriculum.

All departments have a target for embedding reading across the curriculum within their development plans. We are developing subject specific reading journeys to provide students with an array of fiction and non-fiction texts linked to each subject. Training and CPD are provided to raise the profile of reading in the curriculum with a focus upon developing explicit vocabulary teaching. Key stage 3 students in English have one lesson per week solely devoted to reading for pleasure. Key stage 4 (year 10) students have a reading for pleasure lesson once per fortnight.

Accelerated Reader (AR)

Students in KS3 will select reading books with their English class teacher suitable for their reading range. Students take ownership of their books and reading for AR and complete their comprehension tests at home or during their library lessons in English. Students are encouraged to read with parents and carers or independently for 20 minutes at home per day. Please see below for additional information on accelerated reader.

Celebrating Reading

A number of initiatives are planned to ensure students’ reading achievements are celebrated. These include book bundles, achievement points and celebration events to raise the profile of reading at the academy.

Canteen Reading

Our student librarians update our canteen reads fortnightly. Students have access to print outs of short stories, non-fiction texts, news articles and more which they can enjoy during their breaks or lunch times without having to visit the library.

Additional information for AR

Free online reading resources:



How can I encourage and support with reading at home? 

Here are 5 key strategies that you can use to encourage and develop your child’s reading ability: 

  • Help to choose 
  • Read to/with your child 
  • Predict it! 
  • Remember it! 
  • Question it! 

Help to Choose 

It’s important that we all help to inspire children to feel confident and comfortable reading. One simple way to do this is being as involved as possible when they are choosing their book. Please see this link to help with this.  

Read to/ with your child 

Parents or carers modelling reading is essential for them to understand the importance of reading to you as a family.

Predict it! 

Before starting a new book or article, look at the title and any available pictures and discuss what you both think it may be about.  

Remember it! 

If your child is in the middle of a book, before each daily read, persuade your child to tell you what’s happened so far.  

Question it! (What, Why, How, What) 

Asking your child questions about what they read is very important. Ask them: 

  • What is happening? 
  • Why is it happening? 
  • How do you know? 
  • What do you think will happen next?  

Writing and Oracy at DACA

How do we ensure the development of writing and oracy skills at DACA?

Tier 3 vocabulary

Departments across the academy utilise time in lessons for direct vocabulary instruction. This ensures students understand relevant subject specific (tier 3) vocabulary and are able to use it when explaining learned content in their writing.

Tier 2 vocabulary

Development of the use of tier 2 vocabulary is a key focus across the academy. Up levelling vocabulary to ensure consistent understanding of relevant connectives and adjectives to communicate effectively through writing with teachers and examiners alike.

Etymology of words

Through our word of the week initiative and explicit teaching of Tier 3 Vocabulary in each subject, students are taught the etymology of new words. This improves retention of key vocabulary and ability to apply it within the correct context. Additionally, we run explicit vocabulary lessons each week in key stage 3 English with a focus on understanding prefixes and suffixes.

Extended writing opportunities

Providing consistent opportunities for extended writing is part of the development plan to ensure that this is embedded across the curriculum in each subject. In English, we have introduced ‘free writing’ to key stage 3 lessons where students have the opportunity to develop their creative flair independently.


Through initiatives such as ‘pen down week’ and ‘SHAPE’ to improve student oracy skills, the role of oracy in improving writing is developing across the academy. Promoting the ‘language rich’ classroom is a key focus across the academy – ensuring oracy is a priority for departments and the academy as a whole.


We offer a Young Writers club each week to all students. This provides opportunities for students to improve their creative writing skills, collaborate with other students to produce creative writing pieces and take part in internal and national competitions for writing.

We use ‘SHAPE’ in our classrooms to promote oracy skills.