About the library at TCA
The library at Thomas Clarkson Academy is located near the Eden café and is open throughout the school day, from 8am. Miss Robinson is our Librarian, and student volunteers known as Library Ambassadors support with the day to day tasks of the running the library. Any student can apply to be a Library Ambassador; there is a selection process and the role requires training and commitment.
Various classes will have scheduled library lessons throughout the week and students are encouraged to use the library facilities for quiet reading, homework, and independent study during their free time. Miss Robinson supports students to use the library during breaks and lunches, whilst encouraging and assisting them to take responsibility for their own learning.
Reading is central to our academy and the curriculum. The library regularly runs promotional activities aimed at encouraging students to read for pleasure. These include themed book displays, quizzes and competitions; supporting reading activities in Tutor Time; inviting authors to visit; celebrating National Poetry Day; participating in national initiatives such as Carnegie Shadowing and Bookbuzz; celebrating World Book Day; and the school’s own Book Week in March. Students are rewarded with a Green Card, and often the chance to win a prize, when they take part in library competitions.
Need some help finding a great read? Try the following links:
Bookfinder from BookTrust (search by age and theme)
Books for Key Stage 3 students - The School Reading List
Books for Key Stage 3 students - GoodReads
Books for Key Stage 4 students - The School Reading List
National Shelf Service
Teenage and young adult books - Waterstones
What to read after - BookTrust (if you've found a book or author you like, use the search facility to find relevant recommendations)
Great books for reluctant readers - Love Reading 4 Kids
Click here to view some of the classics, regarded as some of the most iconic of all time.
Bookshop.org (supporting local bookshops)
Free to join, Authorfy offers videos of popular authors reading from and discussing their books. There are also lots of creative writing challenges and activities to explore. Find out more here.
Try a classic novel! Project Gutenberg is run by volunteers and digitises books out of copyright, meaning you can legally download these books for free. You can have the texts sent to your kindle, phone or other eReader. Find out more here.
Whilst schools are closed Amazon are offering free access to hundreds of audiobooks. The books can be streamed from laptops, tablets and phones. Find out more here.
Virtual School Library
Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust have teamed up to offer free reading and writing activities from your favourite children's authors. Every week a popular children's author or illustrator will provide you with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads. Find out more here.
Click here to view the previous weekly author videos and activities.
We have two important literacy initiatives here at TCA, Accelerated Reader and Bedrock. Not only is it important for students to take part in these initiatives but it is equally important that parents/carers take an interest in the books and the vocabulary that their children are learning.
Children are assessed three times a year in a Star Test which provides teacher with an accurate reading age in years and months of where the child is currently reading at.
Every week as part of the English Curriculum, the children take part in a Literacy lesson where they have the opportunity to take a quiz on the books that they have finished reading. You will notice that when your child brings a book home from the school library it will have a coloured sticker on the spine of the book with a specific number. This represents the reading range level of the child based on their Star Test that they take.
To further promote Accelerated Reader within the Academy, in English lessons, teachers ensure that children have the appropriate reading book for their age and reading ability level. Also, the first ten minutes of every English lesson children are dedicated to independent student reading in silence. Children are also encouraged to read once a week in form time for twenty minutes.
To further support their development, children are expected to read for thirty minutes a day as homework and complete a reading book every two weeks. This will be followed by a quiz on the Accelerated Reader programme, following which they will sign out a new book, and begin the process again.
Benefits of Accelerated Reader
- Increased confidence in reading and progress
- Accessible at school and home. If your child has completed a book while they are at home, they can log onto Accelerated Reader at home and take a quiz on their book.
- Quizzes produce results right away so that the teacher can monitor how your child is progressing and have meaningful conversations if they notice children are struggling with specific types of levels of books.
- Rewards program launched to encourage children to enjoy reading.
How Can You Support?
- Ensure that your children are reading for thirty minutes a day at home.
- Have conversations with your children at home about their book, or have your child read to you to help develop confidence in reading.
- Ensure books are being read and completed every two weeks.
- Log onto Accelerated Reader at home and look at the quizzes and be proud of the work your son/daughter is doing.
The second initiative we have at Thomas Clarkson is called Bedrock Vocabulary. This interactive tool allows children to read a variety of text online and complete various Literacy activities to demonstrate an understanding in the material that they are reading. Some of the activities include: matching words to definitions, fill in the blank with word banks, and selecting the appropriate words to complete various sentences.
Once your child has completed a lesson, Bedrock automatically populates a percentage of what your child has achieved. The children need to get 60% or higher in order to proceed to the next lesson. If your child doesn’t achieve this, they will be locked out for a specific time, after which they will be allowed to attempt the lesson again.
The purpose of Bedrock is to introduce children to a wide variety of terminology that they can use across all subject areas and help students develop confidence in exploring the meaning of new and challenging words. In order for your child to get the most out of Bedrock, they complete one Bedrock lesson in their English curriculum time and then are assigned as part of their homework an additional Bedrock lesson to complete at home.
Benefits of Bedrock Vocabulary
- Fully accessible program that your child can use at school, on their mobile phones, on their tablets and of course at home.
- Gives instant results to your child about how they performed and how much progress they are making.
- Keeps track of new vocabulary words that the children have learned and the vocabulary words that the child found difficult. This allows English teachers to have the children work with the difficult vocabulary words but also challenge your child to explore and use the new vocabulary words they learned through their writing.
- Rewards program launched to get children excited about more involved with using Bedrock
How Can You Help?
- Parents can log onto Bedrock and see the progress your son/daughter is making.
- Have conversations at home with your son/daughter after they have completed a lesson about the difficult words and the new words that they encountered.
- Ensure that your son/daughter is completing one Bedrock lesson a week as per their homework in the English Department.
- For the words your son/daughter have a difficult time with look up the meaning of the words and help to explain it in a different way/context.
- Help your son/daughter keep track of their points that they earn to encourage about receiving rewards for their hard work.
Literacy for life: How parents/carers can support their child's reading
- Read in front of your children
- Encourage your child to read for 30 minutes every day (read to them, listen to them read)
- Ensure that your child is reading a range of literature and is being challenged – help them to find something they are going to be interested in
- Show an interest in what your child is reading. Ask your child questions about what they are reading
- Make sure that your child keeps a book in their blazer pocket
- Read an article from a newspaper (or online news feed) to your child and ask them for their opinions
- Take your child to the local library (or library bus) and choose books together.
National Poetry Day competition winner
Remembrance Day: Recommended reads and resources
World Kindness Day: Suggested reads
300 entries submitted for 'Trapped' story-writing competition
Black History Month
If you have a suggestion for a book you'd like to see stocked in the library once it re-opens, contact Miss Robinson on Teams or use the form below:
For more information, see the Library Information Leaflet.