Literacy at Sir John Talbot’s School and The Marches Academy Trust

At Sir John Talbot’s, we want every child to have freedom of choice when it comes to careers and be able to take up great opportunities offered to them.  No child should be prevented from having a fulfilled life and future by not having the necessary skills especially in literacy.   Parents will know that literacy is fundamental to their child’s wellbeing.  It enables them to function in their everyday lives whilst giving them the lifelong skills to be able to communicate effectively, articulate their ideas and understand and interpret the ideas of others.  Over the past 4 years, we have developed a range of strategies to increase the status of literacy within our school environment, such as our Reading School, World Book Week, author visits and a range of competitions including our recent poetry and book review challenges.

Exciting events that promote improving literacy across The Marches Academy Trust

In recent years, we have held a fantastic range of events to develop out students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening. These include:

  • Celebration of World Book Week with a range of activities and events celebrating reading throughout the school
  • Involvement in the ShropshireBook Awards and trips to listen to and question famous authors including Rhian Ivory, Eve Ainsworth and Holly Smale
  • Our daily Reading School session (Accelerated Reader)
  • Our weekly word of the week strategy
  • Writing competitions such as the poetry competition organised by Whitchurch Library Writers’ Group.

Reading Families

Students who are identified as needing extra support read aloud in small groups for 20 minutes each day. They develop extra confidence and make excellent progress using this strategy. Staff are specifically chosen to act as reading tutors and are trained to give extra guidance.

Accelerated Reader

What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers and librarians manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Renaissance Learning, the manufacturer of AR, claim that the program can produce an average of two years’ reading age growth whilst promoting a culture of reading for pleasure. Our students will select a book at his or her own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they will take a short quiz on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication that our students have understood what was read and we expect all students to achieve at least 85% in these tests.

AR gives children, teachers, and librarians feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher and librarian will then use to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them. A reward system is put in place to encourage students to read and enjoy books and this will be embedded within the whole school rewards system.

Take a sample AR test at

How do students access Accelerated Reader?
Students access the Accelerated Reader software by clicking on the link here (or on the school homepage) which takes them directly to The Marches School dedicated AR Website. They have been given a dedicated username and password in order to access their own Accelerated Reader profile. This should be input into the log in screen.

Students will also complete a Star Reading test online every half term. This allows us to monitor a student’s progress and ensure that their reading level is updated regularly.

You can also download the Accelerated Reader app onto an iPhone or iPad through the iTunes store: