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Reading at Home

Here are some ideas of how you can still be reading or listening to books despite not having access to our lovely library and local libraries.

The following websites give free and/or low-cost access to eBooks and audiobooks:

Recommended Reads

WA Black History Month Reading List.pdf 1691KB WA Black History Month Reading List
Reading list - Bibliotherapy - Kindness.pdf 151KB Bibliotherapy - Kindness
Reading List - Bibliotherapy -for Mental Health and Well-being.pdf 199KB Bibliotherapy - for Mental Health and Well-being
Reading List - Cultural Awareness - Black Voices.pdf 1602KB Cultural Awareness - Black Voices
Reading List - Cultural Awareness - Fighting Racism.pdf 1536KB Cultural Awareness - Fighting Racism
Reading List - Refugee Week 2020.pdf 448KB Refugee Week 2020
Reading List - Sport for All.pdf 303KB Sport for All


Literacy unlocks the curriculum for students so we believe that a whole-school approach to literacy is essential.  At Walthamstow Academy, we therefore have a 3-pronged approach to literacy:

  1. Literacy in every classroom
  2. Catch-up support for students in KS3 working below expected standard.
  3. Cultivating a whole-school love of reading.

Key Terminology:

  • Literacy: Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen well.  A literate person is able to communicate effectively with others and to understand written information.
  • Decoding: The process of translating print into speech by rapidly matching a letter or combination of letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes) and recognizing the patterns that make syllables and words.
  • Comprehension: The ability to understand what you are reading. 

Literacy in every classroom


We want students to experience the rich beauty of language in the context of their lessons.  It is in the classroom that students will be exposed to subject-specific vocabulary which they will not otherwise encounter.  It is incumbent on all teachers to teach students how to produce excellent writing in their subject domain. 


At Walthamstow Academy, we use explicit teaching of vocabulary and literacy skills throughout the curriculum to ensure that all of our students receive consistent literacy developments across the school community.

Catch-up for students in KS3 working below expected standard


Students who cannot read read/write proficiently are hampered in nearly every lesson of every day.  These students require targeted intervention to enable them to become proficient in reading/writing so that they can return to their normal lessons and access the curriculum. 


  • Walthamstow Academy receives Catch Up Premium funding to support Year 7 students who arrive at secondary school having not made expected standards in reading and/or maths at the end of KS2. Details of how this funding is spent can be found here
  • CATs tests, SATs scores, teacher assessment and reading age test data help identify students with literacy levels below age related expectations.  Reading test information, alongside KPI data, determine whether difficulty is due to decoding or comprehension so that suitable intervention can be put in place.
  • Catch up students complete reading tests each term to track and monitor reading age progress.
  • Reading tests, Formative and Summative assessment and teacher feedback is used to identify and coordinate new groups of students each half term.
  • For students requiring support with comprehension, inference or writing, students are taught tailored programmes of study in order to make rapid progress in this area and close the gap. Programmes include: Inference training, Direct Instruction, Sound Training using Fresh Start and The Lit Programme.  We avoid withdrawing students from curriculum subjects where possible and instead run our Literacy Intervention programmes during tutor time, Period 6 as well as designated curriculum time. 

  • For students requiring support with decoding and comprehension, we use Lexia. These students are withdrawn from tutor time three times per week to work in small groups. 

Cultivating a whole-school love of reading, words and grammar


In order to comprehend texts, we need to understand at least 90-95% of the words in the text.  The best way of building vocabulary is by exposing students to new words in context – the 5-10% of unknown words can be deciphered through understanding the other words in the sentence.  In this sense comprehension is subject to the ‘Matthew Effect’ – “to those who have, more shall be given”.  This helps explain why literacy gaps increase unless targeted action is taken to support students who are not proficient readers. 


  • The Accelerated Reader programme is used to motivate and support students to read through the winning of quizzes and prizes. Displays are used to track and publicise progress. Students’ heightened knowledge of their reading levels (ZPD) allows them to read more effectively and further, the data generated from the programme allows teachers to track who is and isn’t reading, which ensures targeted intervention and support for those students. Parents can also monitor their child's reading progress on Accelerated Reader by using home connect feature using this link:  Click Here
  • Students in KS3 have designated reading time in English (once a fortnight) where they follow the Accelerated Reader programme.   
  • Designated ‘Must-Reads’ sessions for Year 7 during form time where Year 7 tutors and forms read together for one forty-minute session a week together, focusing on the love of reading and comprehension. The tutors and students will be given guidance on the amount of reading to complete within the week and, in a bid to promote responsibility and independence, students will take books home to complete reading.
  • Our successful Buddy Reading Programme is an opportunity for inter-year paired reading, whereby Year 7 and 8 students work with an assigned Reading Mentor from Year 10 or 12 each week to improve their reading age. Our mentors are excellent, keen readers who receive training in order to support their mentee to improve reading skills as well as foster a greater enjoyment of reading.
  • Assemblies, guest speakers, clubs and displays are used to promote reading and words e.g. spelling tests of commonly misspelt words; grammar quizzes, word of the week; book of the week; book clubs; author visits; signs for each teacher “I am currently reading…”
  • The library is a vibrant, exciting space for students to be. 


The Accelerated Reader is a computer managed reading program. The children choose an Accelerated Reader book. After they read it, they take a short multiple choice question test on the computer. The computer scores the test and awards points to the student based on their performance.

AR is a computer program that helps teachers and librarians manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his own level and reads it at his own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) AR gives children, teachers, and librarians feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.


Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.


Teachers and librarians help your child choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success.

Each KS3 student at Walthamstow Academy has a log in for Accelerated Reader and is expected to go online at https://ukhosted21.renlearn.co.uk/2243311/ to quiz regularly, therefore showing that they are reading independently for at least twenty minutes a day.

Students are given form and individual prizes in order to encourage them to read as much as possible.

For parent FAQs, see this link: Click Here

Home Connect can be accessed using this link: Click Here 

This enables parents/carers to track their child's reading progress on Accelerated Reader.  

If students have any problems with their Accelerated Reader account, they should speak to their English teacher at Walthamstow Academy.


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