The development of literacy skills has remained central to a young person's life chances. Without them, full participation in the workplace and society as an adult will be a constant struggle. Every school needs a rigorous whole-school literacy policy which is implemented systematically across the curriculum and all teachers should view themselves as teachers of literacy, regardless of their subject specialism. Some schools have achieved this and as a result young people are able to not only access the curriculum, but also have the tools to extend their thinking and knowledge with outstanding results.
National Literacy Strategy 2015
Teachers should develop students’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. Students should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. They should provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home. National Curriculum Framework 2014
Students should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They should be taught the correct use of grammar. They should build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do should include narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
Ofsted have identified the following as being key in raising the attainment of learners in literacy:
- Teachers with high expectations for students’ achievements in literacy.
- An emphasis on speaking and listening skills from an early age.
- A rigorous, sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics.
- Sharp assessment of progress in order to determine the most appropriate programme or support.
- Carefully planned provision to meet individual needs.
- Rigorous monitoring of the impact of provision.
- High-quality pastoral care to support learning in literacy.
- Highly effective use of time, staff and resources.
At Hatch End High School, we ensure that all of these factors are central to our planning and provision. Literacy is at the heart of what we do as a school.
Useful Information for Parents
The National Literacy Trust believes that ‘Parents are a child’s first educator and have the greatest influence on a child’s educational development. This important fact is borne out by a wide range of research that can be summed up by the following conclusion: “Parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy.”
(Bus, van Ijzendoorn and Pellegrini, 1995).’
“Being more enthusiastic about reading and a frequent reader was more of an advantage, on its own, than having well-educated parents in good jobs.”(Reading for Change, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002).
What can you do?
- Reading at home can include listening to your child read, reading with them or simply making sure they are given the opportunity to read independently.
- Ask them about what they have been reading and get them to share their favourite parts of the book or story with you.
- Encourage them to read a range of materials such as newspapers, reports and non-fiction texts as well as fiction.
- Encourage your child to check their written work and take an interest in their homework.
- Ask them to read their homework to you and encourage them to proof read and correct any mistakes that they find.
The following links are recommended by the National Literacy Trust and further information can be found on their website.
Pearson guide to reading with your child:
Waterstones – book recommendations for children:
Useful Information for Students
- Check Show My Homework for useful information.
- Use your exercise book as a key word bank and highlight new words as you learn them.
- Always ask if you don’t know how to correct a mistake.
- Write out spelling mistakes 3 times to help to learn them.
- Read often and widely to broaden your vocabulary and improve your reading and writing skills.
- Always proof read your work and make it as accurate as possible.
- Use your literacy skills in all pieces of written work.
- Ask parents / carers to read your work or read it to them. Listen to any advice they give you!