30 April 2021

Teaching and Learning Digest – 4th May 2021


WoW – thesis                                                                                                      CPD Focus – Embedding Reading Warriors

                                                                   Developing Voice Confidence




  • Reading widely
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Spelling of subject-specific vocabulary
  • Use of WAGOLLs to model/scaffold (visualisers, mini-whiteboards)
  • Purposeful and structured communication with others










Which reading strategies will you use this week?  (Reading Warriors, Frayer Model, Popcorn Reading? Calculate the readability of the texts used in your lessons?)


  • CPD Focus – continued focus on reading.  Current Reading Ages for every student will be available on Classcharts soon.  Continue to use Reading Warriors (resources are saved here) and the Reading Quick Wins approaches (here) where possible.
  • Reminder: CPD – last week’s whole-school CPD is now due in via the MS Form (sent by KRO). 
  • Co-curricular activities continue this week – Class lists for these groups are now set up through ClassCharts.  Please award points for all attendees but do not take a register.
  • REMINDER: Setting work – please ensure that work is uploaded, as per department approach (i.e. Class Materials or Assignments), for every lesson so that isolating students can complete.
  • Looking ahead – Walton Connects T&L Meeting on Wednesday 12th May for 30 minutes to explore the following: what are the most effective ways of encouraging reading within our classrooms?




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Link to this term’s CPD focus – Embedding Reading Warriors, developing voice confidence

Key Priorities

  • Embedding Reading Warriors when appropriate
  • Giving students to opportunity to use their voices within your lessons (whether reading their work or from a text)
  • Promoting wider reading within your subjects and reading for pleasure


Reading Ages…Useful Data for Us All?

To enable teachers to have an accurate and holistic picture of their learners, you may be aware that we are now testing Reading Ages twice per year. The data is currently being analysed but the following information will be of interest to everyone.


Preliminary headlines make some interesting reading.

  • In Year 7, 2 in 3 students have a reading age in line with (or exceeding) their chronological age. 1 in 4 students have a reading age of 14+ and this includes twice as many boys as girls.
  • In Year 8, 2 in 3 students have a reading age in line with (or exceeding) their chronological age. 1 in 3 students have a reading age of 14+ (and there is an even gender split).
  • In Year 9, more than 2 in 3 students have a reading age in line with (or exceeding) their chronological reading age (although this is slightly weighted more towards females).
  • In Year 10, just under 2 in 3 students have a reading age in line with (or exceeding) their chronological reading age (although this is weighted more towards females).


Timetabler.com provides some useful food-for-thought about reading age-related pedagogy and will prompt teachers to think about the materials that they use to deliver their curricula; questions such as:

  • Are the texts too challenging?
  • Are they challenging enough?
  • How can I find out the reading age of the texts that I am using?


Interestingly, some items of general literature have been analysed to establish some fixed points of readability.  The results are:


Reading Age
(in years)

Financial Times
Times Educational Supplement
This article
‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (Dickens)
‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ (Lee)
‘Lord of the Flies’ (Golding)
‘Kes: A Kestrel for a Knave’ (Hines)  



Why not try running some of your key texts through one of the readability calculators to ensure that it is age-appropriate for your students?


Please continue to reward every reader – no matter how much or how little they read.  Choose the ‘Excellent Reading’ Classcharts button.


Useful references:


Remote Learning Policy

Teaching and Learning Policy (containing blended learning approach)

WLD planning template (updated January 2021)



Remember that you have all shared resources in WLD Teachers – CPD – 2020/21 – Reading Warriors


As well as Reading Warriors, try one of Alex Quigley’s approaches summarised on this slide below and saved in our Reading Quick Wins PowerPoint.

This week, try and include word webs into your teaching.  Give students a starting point and then ask them to think of other connecting words to show their depth of understanding of a topic:






Well-Being CPD from RSW

Exams & Assessments: 10 Things Parents & Carers Need to Know
Eating Disorders: When to Worry and What to Do Next
Free live webinars are: 

Helping children express themselves using art & music
How can schools and colleges support students who are gender variant?
Mental Health Leads Network – Staff Wellbeing Focus
Blog posts:

Pooky Ponders: How can we let go of our ‘adultness’ and play? | Greg Bottrill
Supporting Teens: Failure to thrive / feeling stressed
How to give yourself permission for self-care
Pooky Ponders: How does losing your sight affect how you feel? | Kate Holden
Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm
PARENTING HACK | Enabling your child to open up
Pooky Ponders: Why do some kids misbehave? | Meic Griffiths


The National College

Please contact RLO if you have forgotten your login.

Internet Safety - DTU



ACEs training - PHO (emailed information 7th April)



Mental Health Training – Free - PHO

  • It's FREE
  • Open to anyone
  • Do it when you want, you just need to register for a dated cohort.




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Posted by Rachel Long

Category: Teaching and Learning Digests

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