Leeds West Academy



Literacy Strategy 2018 - 2019

Leeds West Academy is committed to delivering a vibrant and engaging curriculum which produces the highest possible outcomes for each and every child.

Details of our literacy strategy can be found below:

View the Literacy for All Strategy 

 We Are A Reading Academy

In the words of Dr Seuss: 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

At Leeds West Academy we promote reading, and in particular reading for pleasure, is one of the most important factors in allowing children to reach their full potential. A love of literature and a genuine desire to read opens doors to students that remain closed for reluctant readers, no matter how strong their ability. In order to support the drive to engage students with reading for enjoyment, the academy offers a range of activities and experiences linked to reading for pleasure. 

Accelerated Reader is our main strategy for improving reading in Years 7 and 8. See our Renaissance Accelerated Reader document here.

All students have access to the well-resourced Library staffed full time by our librarian Mrs. Sykes. All students are encouraged to have a reading book and weekly reading sessions are held during form time. In Years 7-11, all students engage in D.E.A.R time (Drop Everything and Read).

The school celebrates World Book Day each year. During this event, the librarian, organises various competitions across the academy, which include a quiz in which students identify various books and authors based on images and questions. The Academy staff also dress up as book characters during this event and students find enjoyment in guessing which character staff are dressed as.

Roald Dahl Day was another event celebrated across the Academy this year to commemorate the life and works of the famous author. Students had the opportunity to take part in quizzes and read various excerpts from Roald Dahl’s most famous books. In addition, there were many activities to celebrate this event in the library.

All Year 7 students participate in Bookbuzz: a reading scheme from Book Trust. Students choose their own book to keep from a list of 17 titles suitable for 11 - 13-year-olds and selected by a panel of experts. Library Reader Groups participate in the Leeds Book Awards by reading the six short-listed titles; posting reviews on the official website and attending the prize-winning ceremony at Leeds Town Hall where they meet and interview the authors. The British Comic Awards is also a hugely popular event and our librarian and students have worked with many of the previous Award winners. We have a book club each week and library ambassadors have been trained to run the library. 

For those students who need extra support in reading we use the Read Write Inc programme, which is aimed at helping students to develop the phonics skills they need to become fluent readers and writers. Students who need it, also gain extra support through our Catch Up Literacy programme, which develops their comprehension skills and understanding of the text they have read. Specifically, for students with dyslexic tendencies, we use several ICT based interventions: Lexia and Units of Sound which can be accessed during the school day.


Renaissance Accelerated Reader

Students in Year 7 and 8 participate in the Accelerated Reading Programme, during their weekly English timetable. This programme ensures stduents are reading to develop reading skills, which happens most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books – difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated. This is known as their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD), which pupils use to help them select suitable books.

Students read a book, take an online quiz, and get immediate feedback. This allows them to respond to regular feedback and are motivated to make progress with their reading skills. Because students receive regular feedback from Accelerated Reader, teachers and librarians are given many opportunities to praise students for their successes and to discuss with them what they have been reading. Many reward systems are in place such as most words read and most quizzes passed, allowing all pupils to celebrate their achievement in reading.

Your guide to Accelerated Reader – ‘If you read, you will succeed.’

All students in Years 7 and 8 complete Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is reading software that develops your child’s reading skills in a fun and engaging way. It is crucial to your child’s educational success, as well as their future career, that they learn to read a range of texts and understand what they are reading.

Here is some key information about your child’s Accelerated Reader experiences at Leeds West Academy:

What will my child do using Accelerated Reader?

-One English lesson a week will be an Accelerated Reader session. Your child must also read outside this time to improve their reading age. The advised time is 20 minutes per day.

 -Your child should always have their own reading book in English lessons. They can get a book from our Learning Resources Centre, their local library or they can read one of their own books.

 -All Accelerated Reader books have a reading book level shown in our LRC through a coloured sticker on the book binding. This links with the child’s ZPD that they are given by their English teacher.

-Your child should start reading at the bottom end of their ZPD to start with and then move towards the top of the ZPD over time as long as they are getting at least 80% on quizzes on average. The higher level of ZPD they are encouraged to read, the more challenging the books are.

-You can check if a book is an Accelerated Reader book by using the website: www.arbookfind.co.uk

Once your child has read their book, they log onto Accelerated Reader through the icon on the VLE and quiz on their book. The quiz tests how much your child understands what they have read. Your child is aiming to achieve at least 80% average pass rate on quizzes over the year; the higher the pass rate, the better. Your child’s reading targets and progress towards those targets will be in your child’s planner, page 39, used by their English teacher.

We recommend your child reads for at least 20 minutes per day where possible. Please check this page in the planner regularly (page 39).

Students receive stamps and prizes for their average quiz score each term as well as certificates for their progress on Accelerated Reader. 

How Can I Help My Child Progress using Accelerated Reader?

 -By reading and quizzing with your child as often as possible.

-By stressing the importance of reading with your child.

 -By using ‘Renaissance Home Connect’ to check your child’s progress. Use your child’s log in details to receive e-mail alerts about their progress on Accelerated Reader. Use the link:



Photo: Poetry Slam workshops with Andy Craven-Griffiths.


All students have access to well-resourced Library, which is at the centre of reading in the academy. All students are encouraged to have a reading book.  The library has a series of activities scheduled to raise reading enjoyment throughout the year.  The librarian, Ms Walker, also works closely with area teams to provide book boxes and create subject themed weeks where appropriate.