What Is Literacy and Why Is It Important?
Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world.
"literacy is freedom and everyone has
something to say" Jose Santiago Baca
The EEF report Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools states that "young people who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of life. Their outcomes are poorer on almost every measure, from health and wellbeing, to employment and finance.” It is our duty as educators to remove this barrier so that students are prepared for the demands of adult life, from forming positive relationships and filling in job applications to being able to articulate themselves clearly to others.
What Do We Do At The King’s To Support Literacy?
Our teachers understand how important literacy is and therefore they create opportunities for students to develop their literacy skills each and every lesson, whether they are teaching PE, history, art or science.
The EEF report supports that students become more literate via:
- subject specific vocabulary teaching
- exposure to a range of academic texts
- well considered modelling and scaffolding
- having opportunities to express their ideas verbally
So that’s what we focus on. Every lesson.
In addition, we focus on supporting students with both academic reading and Reading for Pleasure – to find out more, click here.
Last but not least, we provide individual or small group support to students who are performing below their peers in specific areas, for example in de-coding, comprehension and handwriting.
What You Can Do At Home To Support?
Here are a few ideas to support your child’s literacy/communication skills:
We often underestimate the importance of talking to each other at home. Taking that little bit of time, maybe over dinner, to switch off any electronic devices and talk can do wonders in developing communication skills. What you talk about doesn’t matter, just listen, ask questions and encourage your child to expand on their answers.
Be your own GoogleBox – try sitting down together and discussing a programme on television. Critic it, pull it apart, suggest improvements, have fun with it. Watching a documentary, like David Attenborough’s Perfect Planet, will also help exposure students to a wider vocabulary
To practice and reinforce SPaG, you could encourage your child to access the Achieve English section of GCSEPod. ‘Module 12: Language, Punctuation and Sentences’ is particularly good for recapping SPaG and includes an online Check and Challenge quiz to check understanding. Every child at The King’s has a GCSEPod account. Encourage your child to use these SPaG rules in all their home learning and homework tasks.
Encourage your child to create Word Clouds for each subject using key words.
Encourage your child to take part in the various competitions, activities and Master Classes (to be set through WEDUC) designed to boost their literacy/communication skills.
There are a number of free apps available to try to expand student's vocabulary. These are some of the best apps we've found:
'Word of the Day' gives 'words of the day' from various online dictionaries, along with the chance to play vocabulary quizzes
Another app allowing you to take quizzes to develop your vocabulary is 'uvocab' and also allows you to revisit words you have been unsure on
Finally, 'elevate' has the advantage of allowing you to practice and develop various literacy and numeracy skills. You can subscribe, but there is a free version which allows you to do a few 'brain training' quizzes each day.