Telephone: 020 8838 8700


Principles of the Literacy Strategy at Capital City Academy

  • Every teacher is a teacher of literacy. We aim to achieve consistency and coherence across departments in the development of reading, writing and oracy skills.
  • All students should read, for at least half an hour, every day. To facilitate this, students in years 7 and 8 participate in DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) four times a week with their LA. Year 9s enjoy DEAR three times a week and year 10s twice a week.
  • In order for all students at Capital to participate fully in the curriculum and reach their potential, students with a reading age below nine years and five months receive targeted phonics intervention. Students on our KS4 'Support' pathway also use Reading Plus in their Curriculum Support lessons, because a high reading age is the most accurate predictor we have of GCSE success.

Team Members

Staff Member Position Literacy Responsibilities

April Jones

Assistant Principal

Attainment and progress in English

Strategic development & implementation of the whole school literacy strategy.

Wave 1 and Wave 2 Literacy Coordinator: Accelerated Reader; Drop Everything And Read; Toe-by-Toe; Capital 6 Literacy Leaders.

EAL Strategy; Attainment and progress of EAL students

Donna Amhari-Smith


Attainment and progress of SEN students

Wave 3 Interventions

Dhurata Kapaj

Literacy interventions manager

Library literacy opportunities e.g. World Book Day

Toe-by-Toe; Reading Plus; Capital 6 Literacy Leaders.

Literacy in Lessons

Literacy in Lessons 

At Capital City Academy we use four key strategies to develop literacy in lessons.

  1. Always insist on full sentences.
  2. Talk, model, write.
  3. Reading Strategies.
  4. Are you checking your work? 

1. Always insist on full sentences

This starts with an expectation that students should respond in full sentences and in Standard English; teachers are expected to model this, to challenge poor oracy, and to provide students with the language necessary for a high-level.

2. Talk, Model, Write

Before setting their students to write, teachers model the process of writing: the thinking, the planning, the drafting and the editing.

3. Reading Strategies

  • BEFORE AND AFTER – can you work out the meaning of the word from other words in the sentence?  Can you work out the meaning of the sentence by reading the sentences before and after?
  • ROOT WORD – can you work out the meaning of the word by recognising the root word? Remove the prefix and / or suffix.
  • BREAK IT DOWN – Can you comprehend meaning word by word, clause by clause?


Talk Model Write


3.  Are you checking your work?

And before any work is handed in, students should use their green pen to check their own literacy as well as using the Literacy Checklist.

For information on Green Pen Checking, please click on the links below.



Literacy Interventions

Literacy Interventions 

Students will receive targeted intervention if their reading age is below nine years and five months (the reading age at which a student is deemed able to access the Secondary curriculum), or if they are struggling with reading comprehension or fluency. The following interventions are being used and will be monitored and reviewed for impact bi-annually, when students sit a reading age test.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about reading interventions at Capital.



Staff Contact


The student works through a meticulously-designed phonics program with an older buddy. They must pronounce a sound or word correctly three times, on three separate days, before they are judged to have mastered it. The program is build on positive reinforcement and delivered in three, 20-minute sessions a week.

Dhurata Kapaj

Reading Plus

Students follow an online program that invites them to select short texts to read, appropriate to their reading age, and then asks them questions designed to improve their vocabulary, reading comprehension and reading fluency. 

Dhurata Kapaj

EAL withdrawal

Students who are new to English work on their language skills before they join mainstream lessons. Individual students may also be withdrawn from lessons for targeted support, at the discretion of the EAL department.

Ms A Jones

Speech and language therapy

Students work with a qualified Speech and Language Therapist, one-to-one, or in small groups receiving specialist provision tailored to their language needs.

Ms D Amhari-Smith


How to help your child with Literacy

National statistics show a decline in Literacy. Did you know?

  • Less than half of 8 to 16 year olds have read a book in the last month
  • Children who enjoy reading very much are 5 times more likely to be above average readers
  • Reading age is an accurate predictor of attainment at GCSE
  • The average length of a student's contribution to a class discussion is 4 words
  • A 4 year old with professional parents will have been exposed to 50 million words compared to 12 million words for a child from a disadvantaged background

We owe it to our students to give them the very best Literacy skills, in order to improve their chances in life and to enable them to succeed in whatever path they choose.

On this website, you will see how we are helping to address this at Capital City Academy but we would also like your support with any time you can devote to this at home. The most important thing you can do to help your child with their literacy is to encourage them to read. Read with them, read to them, ask them about what they are reading and tell them about what you are reading – all of this will make a difference. If your child is in year 7 or 8, they will read for half an hour, four times a week, with their LA. If they are in year 9, they will be expected to read for half an hour a day and complete an online reading log.

As for what your child should read at home, it really doesn’t matter – fiction, non-fiction, books, newspapers, websites – as long as the vocabulary is challenging enough for them to learn from (see the last bullet point above) and they enjoy it. We’re aiming to build a generation of life-long readers here!

If you need more ideas, please use the following link which allows you to filter books for boys, reluctant readers, dyslexia, age etc.

And the Key Stage 3 recommended reading list -


Moving Literacy Forward

At Capital City Academy, all students in years 7-9 enjoy a class reader with their LA group for half an hour, four mornings a week. This places reading for pleasure at the heart of our curriculum and ensures that all of our students are equipped to meet their potential at GCSE. During lunchtime and after school, pupils can borrow books and read in the library. Students in years 9, 10 and C6 also have the opportunity to mentor younger students who need help with their reading. The combination of in-lesson support, Daily DEAR in the mornings and targeted interventions ensures that all of our students make steady progress in their literacy skills.