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Dixons McMillan Academy

Our academy is now closed for the summer break. We look forward to welcoming students back from Monday 2 September. Read More


Focus on Literacy

At Dixons McMillan, we believe that “to read is to fly”. Those who have developed their literacy skills and become excellent readers will also be excellent writers and go on to academic and future success in their lives. All students at Dixons McMillan have daily sessions with their advisor, where DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) is a key component. Students are expected to always carry a reading book with them and are challenged to read increasingly more ambitious texts to aid their learning and future lives.

The Library is open to students before, during and after the normal academy day for homework support and independent study / reading.

We develop students who are confident readers, speakers, writers and listeners; who value these life skills and strive to improve them. It is the responsibility of all staff from all subject areas to teach literacy skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening are integral to all subjects.

Literacy Expectations

In order to raise the profile of literacy, to support students with their learning and to raise standards across the curriculum, there are three ‘literacy’ expectations of all students at all times:

1. To have a reading book in their possession (reading)
2. To speak in full sentences and no slang (speaking)
3. To track the speaker/s (listening)

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)

There are also 40 minutes of reading time each day during DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) sessions. During these sessions, Advisors, as teachers of reading, support students in their reading through a variety of activities including reading in silence, discussing their reading with peers and completing book reviews. Advisors model reading aloud and reading in silence, facilitate class discussion, check reading logs and assess students' reading against DEAR standards. Interventions are provided for students based on their reading ages.

We ensure all students are making progress by testing students for their reading ages at the start and end of every academic year. Along with reading books in our Library being categorised by reading age, this allows advisors and families to ensure students are reading the right books for them.

Word of the Day

At Dixons McMillan, we have a 'word of the day'. These words come from the 'Academic Word List' created by Professor Averil Coxhead of the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Professor Coxhead analysed thousands of academic texts for the frequency of words used, compiling a list which containing the words we typically use in an academic or professional context. At DMA we believe it is important that students are well-versed in these words to broaden their vocabulary an enrich their writing.

Every day, as part of Morning Meeting, all students complete a number of tasks about the word of the day, including defining the word, practising the spelling of the word, using the word in context, and then independently trying to write their own sentences using the word.

You can read Professor Coxhead's Academic Word List in the document below.