At Burnham Grammar School we understand how important good literacy is for your child’s development and life choices.
We define literacy as ‘the ability to communicate precisely and effectively,’ and we know that developing skills in literacy is about learning to use language to express, explore and communicate our thoughts, ideas and feelings with others in many different contexts. Our aim is for every student to leave Burnham with exceptional literacy skills which will allow them to flourish for the rest of their lives and enable them to succeed in whatever path they choose.
The research shows that children’s life chances are significantly improved by high levels of literacy: the unemployment rate is 19% lower for those with high levels of literacy; 96.4% of students who read every day achieve at or above their target grade according to research done by the National Literacy Trust, and children who enjoy reading three times more likely to report good mental wellbeing.
We adopt a cross-curricular method to promoting good literacy amongst our pupils and staff. We believe that promoting literacy is a whole school responsibility and not just that of the English department. We also invite you to join us in developing your child's literacy at home.
The BGS 80: Our Reading Canon
Burnham Grammar School has its own ‘Reading Canon’ to promote a love of reading canonical texts. There are 80 incredible books on The BGS 80: 10-12 for each year group.
Please view each year groups 'Reading Canon' below :
The Fortnightly Literacy Focus
Once every 2 weeks, the school as a whole has a focus on a particular area of literacy. We aim to ensure that all teachers are promoting good literacy practises to ensure that literacy skills are transferred across subjects and contexts.
Once a week, a 15 minute period of tutor time is dedicated to students reading their own book. Twice a year, each form group will have their tutor time in the library in order to get some expert help from our librarian. This creates a shared reading experience amongst the tutor group while allowing students to pursue their own interests. We have committed weekly time to this to emphasise to students the importance of reading regularly and allow our younger students to see good reading habits modelled by those in older year groups.
Paired Reading with Sixth Form
Paired reading is a very effective, evidence-based method of helping students identified as being most in need of reading support. These students are identified using our NGRT testing at the beginning of Year 7. Students get an opportunity every week to read with our specially trained sixth form students who will support them in reading comprehension, thinking and learning skills, which will strengthen their confidence so that they can work with greater independence and access the wider curriculum more successfully.
KS3 Reading Lessons
Additionally, every Year 7 and Year 8 English class will also have one ‘Library Lesson’ each fortnight where they spend time reading their personal reading book or browsing our extensive collection, asking advice from our library staff before selecting and borrowing a new and challenging text. Students are encouraged to write book reviews, make recommendations to each other, and reflect on their own reading record.
Our new and improved library will afford students every opportunity to indulge their love for reading. With a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion space, soft furnishing and newly designed study areas including over 10 computers there is something for the avid reader and studious worker alike. Books are always available to check-out and read at home whilst larger reference books are accessible to students conducting research for coursework and projects; all students at Burnham Grammar School will have access to our wide range of books whenever they need them, a sign of our dedication in supporting our students with their scholarship.