Literacy in our Curriculum

Literacy is essential to all learning throughout the school, in all years and across all subject areas. At Ormiston Rivers Academy, we know that good literacy skills help students to communicate effectively and allow students to achieve their potential across the curriculum. Because literacy is integral to our students’ success, we aim to ensure all learners at our school emerge as confident and articulate communicators.

Apps to support reading for pleasure

We have provided a suite of apps to help promote reading for pleasure. Please use the information below to guide you through setting up and using each app:


Accelerated Reader (year 7-8 only)

Students can access Accelerated Reader from home in order to view which books are available for quizzing. They can also view their own progress and choose new books based on recommendations linked to their ability level and age. It is also possible to take quizzes from home.

To view your current progress, use the link below and then log in with your Accelerated Reader login details:


To find new books to read and quiz on, use the link below:


To take new quizzes, use the link below:

Eclipse: iMLS App

Students can use or the iMLS app to browse the books that we currently have available to reserve in the school library.


To access the website here, use the link below: 


Video instructions for Eclipse can be viewed using this link:

To use the iMLS app, simply download it from the App Store or Google Play and use the instructions in the video above to sign up with your username and password. To select Ormiston Rivers Academy in the App you will need to enter the school postcode which is CM0 8QB.



Students can use the Sora app to borrow, download and read books and audiobooks via a web browser or using an App.

To access the website here, use the link below:

Video instructions for the Sora App can be viewed using this link:

Th app can be downloaded via the App Store or via Google Play.

Reading for pleasure

A significant amount of research from around the world suggests that reading for pleasure can raise literacy standards and help support student progress. As a school, we take every opportunity to promote reading for pleasure. This includes:


  • Dedicated reading time, during mentor time
    Every week, we use one of our mentor sessions for dedicated reading time: Students in Years 7-8 are able to read books of their choice and students in years 9-10 enjoy whole class reading, of a set text of their own choosing, with discussion based on Reciprocal Reading principles (a research-based comprehension technique that has enjoyed over 30 years of success in dramatically improving reading comprehension).

  • Library lessons
    Students in year 7-8 have lessons in the library every 2 weeks. This time is dedicated to reading, choosing new books, completing Accelerated Reader Quizzes (see below) and discussing books.

  • ‘Drop Everything and Read’
    Students in year 7-8 have 20 minutes of dedicated reading time every day.

  • Celebrating days such as World Book Day and National Poetry Day
    This year, world book day was celebrated with a number of activities including: staff and students dressing up as their favourite characters; online author/illustrator presentations delivered in the library; quizzes and competitions and book-related games during Mentor time.

  • Author visits
    Last year, Year 7-8 enjoyed a visit from Tony Lee: author of many comics, novels and plays including storylines for Dr Who, Star Trek and more. Tony delivered a very engaging talk, aimed at helping reluctant readers and ran writers’ workshops. This will continue once Covid restrictions are no longer in place.

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  • Accelerated Reader, Eclipse and Sora (see above for access details and instructions)
    Every student in Years 7 & 8 is enrolled in the Accelerated Reader programme, designed to boost both engagement and achievement in reading and comprehension. You can find out more information about this fantastic program by clicking here.

    All students are able to use Eclipse online and the iMLS app to browse our Library's book collection and reserve books. Students in year 7 can collect these directly from the Library and students in all other years currently have reserved books delivered to and collected from their bubbles.

    All students also have access to the Sora app. This enables them to borrow, download and read ebooks and audiobooks from Secondary eBooks now via OverDrive.

  • Book club
    To encourage a lifelong love of reading, the Library also holds a weekly book club where students can share their reading experiences and explore new titles and authors. 

  • Book lists and extracts
    We regularly provide and update our lists of recommended reading to include new titles and books suggested by a variety of different focus groups. For reading inspiration, why not take a look at these recommended reads?

    We have also provided students with a large collection of extracts (many of which are recommended by the organisers of World Book Day) so that they can explore new titles and get a taste of different books and authors before choosing the whole novel.

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Learning Resource Centre (Library)

When it comes to reading, the Library is the hub of the school community. At ORA, in addition to supporting all of the activities listed above, our Library provides a welcoming space where students are free to browse our range of fiction and non-fiction texts, borrow books, and read and study in a peaceful yet engaging environment.


Our librarian is always on hand to provide helpful advice on book choices; maybe suggest something new (that you would never have dreamed of reading but is actually perfect for you) or simply support you with using our Library system (Eclipse), Accelerated Reader or myON.


Writing like a pro

11-13 year-olds at ORA are encouraged to participate in BBC Radio 2’s story writing competition, ‘500 Words’, which opens every January. The competition culminates in a broadcast extravaganza of live music and sensational story-telling every summer, at a special venue. Past venues have included The Globe and The Tower of London!


To help to broaden our students’ vocabulary, a ‘Word of the Week’ is shared with all students. Evidence of correct use of this word will mean merit points!



Reading and writing are very important and valuable skills but people are often not aware of how important speaking and listening skills are too. Schools that include speaking and listening in a planned and structured way for children in their lessons see improvement in their classroom involvement. 

  • No Pens Day
    Every year, ORA participate in ‘No Pens Day’, during which students to put down their pens and pick up speaking and listening skills

  • Debate Club
    A weekly debate club is held for students in all year groups, developing their ability to debate effectively

  • Speak Out Challenge

Selected Year 10 students take part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, providing students with a superb opportunity to develop vital public speaking skills and their confidence with this

  • Make Yourself Heard
    In 2020, OAT launched their own public speaking competition, Make Yourself Heard. Both of our finalists were regional winners for their group, and one student even went on to win nationally. We look forward to competing in the years to come.

For more information on how to support your child’s reading at home, please download this document.