At St Laurence, ensuring all students leave secondary school with a clear grasp of basic literacy is a priority with high standards maintained throughout the curriculum.
Literacy across the curriculum
Developing literacy across the curriculum is at the heart of many of our initiatives at St Laurence. We aim to encourage a love of reading: on a yearly basis the whole school community reads one novel together through the tutorial programme; our successful Literacy Leaders course involves Year 12 students promoting literacy through a range of student-led activities; we also run a variety of activities for events such as World Book Day, welcome visiting writers and offer clubs including the Carnegie Shadowing Group. As well as this, we encourage students to participate in a wide variety of competitions which celebrate their success in writing such as the BBC 500 word short story competition and in-house poetry competitions.
We are able to prepare students for the increasing focus on accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar across all subjects at GCSE by using a common literacy language in St Laurence. This language is referred to where appropriate in lessons, promoted in classrooms through the use of posters and easily accessed reference notes in students’ planners. This includes PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation) and PAF (Purpose, Audience, Format) as well as the recognition of the use of connectives to provide cohesion in writing. We also encourage students to use the spelling sections of their planners to record spellings that they find a challenge personally.
Throughout the year we run a variety of literacy intervention programmes. This year the programme includes Key Stage 3 Reading and Spelling Challenge for both Year 7 and 8; Year 7 small group intervention to support the development of reading and writing skills; Year 8 and 9 core intervention programmes to consolidate skills, knowledge and understanding in English, Maths and Science.
Literacy within English
Students in Year 7 have a weekly literacy lesson in which they learn and revise key literacy skills. The topics covered range from sentence types, varied punctuation and word classes. These lessons include weekly spelling tests on subject specific key words from across the curriculum, which help to ensure that students are able to use appropriate terminology in all subject areas.
In Year 8 and Year 9 students continue to have fortnightly literacy lessons. These lessons are intended to build on the skills learnt in Year 7 and are tailored to individual classes’ needs.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading a wide range of texts is a key factor in students making progress in their literacy as students develop their understanding of characters, themes and relationships; see how texts can be structured and organised effectively and explore a range of vocabulary.
The English Faculty dedicates 30 minutes of curriculum time each fortnight to allow classes time to visit the ILC, select and recommend appropriate books and discuss their reading in a positive environment. Please see below the relevant wider reading lists for Key Stage 3 students. These lists have been created by the English Faculty to complement the areas of study for each year group, helping to extend and broaden understanding of the key thematic areas.
Parents can help to support their child’s literacy through a variety of ways:
- Encourage your child to read a variety of text types (novels, short stories, articles) and discuss their opinions on these;
- Read key texts that your child is studying so you can discuss the key characters and themes (especially for GCSE and A Level);
- Help to revise key spellings through short spelling tests and repetition activities;
- Encourage students to plan work carefully, edit, re-draft and proof-read their final work.