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Literacy News

"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood

At Cardinal Pole, we ensure that our students are able to access learning in all subjects by developing their literacy from the moment they join us in year 7.

We offer a number of programmes to support this:

  1. Accelerated Reader
  2. Bedrock
  3. Spoken Word Poetry
  4. Reading mentors
  5. Literacy support Interventions
  6. Our school library

Accelerated Reader

As part of our literacy initiative all students in Year 7 will take part in the Accelerated Reader programme. This programme develops students' independent reading skills and fosters a genuine love of learning by assessing students reading ages and suggesting appropriate books for their level. The books are colour coded so that they can identify their reading band. Every year 7 has a dedicated AR lesson where they are able to choose new books with the librarian, Ms Walton, and quiz on books they have read. Books are available in the school library, but students are also able to use their own book and can check if they are on Accelerated Reader by looking at AR Bookfinder on the following link Our expectation is that each pupil finishes a book in two weeks (at least 20 minutes reading a day should enable them to do this).


In year 9, students use a programme called Bedrock. This is designed to introduce students to new vocabulary to prepare them for the challenging texts they must read for their GCSEs. Students are expected to complete two lessons on the site ( a week. If parents are interested in having access to their child's Bedrock account, you can contact Ms Fox. 

Spoken Word Poetry

Cardinal Pole work with spoken word artist, Christian Foley, every Wednesday. Christian teaches the art of spoken word to students in year 7-10 as well holding a spoken word club. In these lessons and club, Christian supports students to express themselves through the written word. Students that excel in these lessons have the opportunity to publish their work in our school anthology and perform in our end of year showcase.

Below are links to various news articles featuring Christian:

Hackney Gazette

BBC Radio 3

South West England newspaper

Reading mentors

Students in year 7 and 8 who are at risk of falling behind with their reading are given reading mentors from year 10 or 12. The mentors meet with their student once a week to listen to them read and talk about the book. Students develop their reading skills and learn how to engage with a text as mentors encourage them to discuss what they like and dislike and question their understanding. Students can then select new books from the library with the help of our librarian, Ms Walton, and their mentor.

Literacy Support Interventions

At the start of the academic year all students in Years 7-10 take part in a reading test that indicates their current Reading Age.  Students that we identify as needing additional support are enrolled in one of the following literacy groups:

  • Year 7 Guided Reading Programme
  • Year 7 Hackney Pirates
  • Year 8 Guided Reading Programme
  • Year 8 Excellent Reader
  • Year 9 Read for Fun
  • Year 9 Read to Lead IPAD challenge
  • Year 9 Excellent Reader
  • Year 10 Excellent Reader

Students have the opportunity to be retested every term so we can celebrate the progress that they have made!

Our School Library

We have a wonderful and well stocked School library, with Ms Walton on hand to help students pick the right book for them.  Students are able to borrow books and make book requests before school as well as during break time and lunch time.  You can keep up to date with our library news through the fortnightly library newsletter – this includes competitions, book reviews and some insight into what the staff of Cardinal Pole are currently reading! 

Students can also access 2000 ebooks via our online library, Sora. Details of how to login are available via form tutors!

Guided Reading

All students in years 7-10 can enjoy reading for pleasure during form time once a week. Each form group will be given a new novel to read and discuss together once a week, with books being rotated each half term.