Literacy is not just focused on in English lessons at SWA, it is a life skill which not only enables our students to access all aspects of the curriculum but to communicate and engage with the world around them. As it is such a vital skill we focus upon it in every subject and our aim is to improve the literacy skills of all our students at all levels.
How do we support students to improve their literacy at SWA?
- Literacy starters at the beginning of lessons to focus on the most common errors.
- Reading for 20 minutes, three times per week, following the accelerated reader programme.
- 1:1 or small group interventions for reading, spelling or grammar.
- ‘Drop Everything and Read’ sessions where the whole Academy drops what they are doing and picks up a book or article up to read and discuss with students.
- Focused marking and improvement tasks based on the errors students make in class.
- Use Literacy Planet to support their learning, with literacy-focused activities.
Written accuracy is vital: It is essential to recognise that it is unacceptable to continue to make the same errors year after year. Students will be given opportunities to write, re-draft and correct errors to develop their ability to write accurately.
How can written accuracy be improved?
- Always strive for accurate expression. Every piece of work should be checked for basic errors and also for opportunities to improve expression and develop ideas. Where possible, ask someone to read over your work to help you to identify inaccuracies and challenge you to develop your ideas.
- Check that sentences have been used properly (capital letter to start and punctuation at the end).
- Choose vocabulary to convey precise meaning.
- Spend time re-reading and checking for errors which you know you make. You teacher will assist you with this through written feedback when marking your work.
There are some common errors which lots of people seem to struggle with and our aim is to ensure that everyone is able to use the following list reliably which will dramatically improve the accuracy of written expression. It is important to learn the rules and apply them rather than simply guessing:
- possessive apostrophe
- plural – ys and ies
Students often suffer with anxiety about spelling; it is one of the major barriers to confident writing, however it is a barrier that, with practice and patience, can be broken down to produce a confident communicator. Our aim is to promote the value of accurate spellings and the impact it can have on their writing.
Many children students arrive at SWA with reading skills below their expected reading age. As reading is such a vital ‘life skill’ we aim to promote reading for pleasure as well as delivering a curriculum which requires students to be able to access increasingly more complex texts as a means of achieving qualifications in a variety of subject areas.
How can you support your child with their literacy?
- Encourage them to read. If they struggle to engage with picking up a book encourage them to listen to audio books or to pick up a magazine instead.
- Read with them. Ask questions about the text: Why? How? What might happen next?
- Practise spellings with them- use look, cover, write, check. Test them. Download spelling apps to their phone to practise.
- Encourage them to log on to Literacy Planet (www.literacyplanet.com) and complete the tasks which school have set for them and also to practise their personalised spellings. You child will have a log on for it but if you need help just ask your child's English teacher.