The ability to speak, read and write with confidence and fluency are vital life skills which benefit not only academic achievement but also career success and wellbeing in future life. At St Laurence, ensuring all students leave secondary school with secure literacy skills is a priority with high standards maintained throughout the curriculum.
Literacy across the curriculum
Developing literacy across the curriculum is at the heart of teaching and learning at St Laurence. All teachers are aware they are teachers of literacy regardless of their subject specialism. Students are supported to develop their spoken and written literacy through high quality teaching and feedback. This could mean explicit teaching of key subject vocabulary, use of varied reading strategies to support understanding of texts or a teacher modelling the processes involved in writing a particular type of text.
We prepare students for the increased focus on accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar across all subjects at GCSE by using a common literacy language at St Laurence. This language is promoted in classrooms by teachers and through classroom resources. This includes PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation) as well as key language such as connectives to provide cohesion in writing. A school-wide marking policy ensures feedback on written accuracy is provided in a consistent way which students are able to act on.
We also aim to encourage a love of reading: on a yearly basis the whole school community reads one novel together through the tutorial programme in ‘St Laurence Reads’ sessions; our successful Literacy Leaders course involves Year 12 students promoting literacy and the Reading and Spelling Challenge sees Y10s supporting Y7s in a rewarding peer-mentoring scheme. We also run a variety of activities for events such as World Book Day, welcome visiting writers and offer extra-curricular clubs including the Carnegie Shadowing Group, short story competitions and the school magazine Connect.
Throughout the year we run a variety of literacy intervention programmes for individuals and small groups. This year the programme includes Key Stage 3 Reading and Spelling Challenge for Year 7; 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.
Reading for pleasure
Reading a wide range of texts is a key factor in students making progress in literacy as students develop their fluency as well as their understanding of characters, themes and relationships, how texts can be structured and organised effectively and new vocabulary.
The English Department dedicates 30 minutes of curriculum time each fortnight to allow Year 7 and Year 8 classes time to visit the ILC, select and recommend appropriate books and discuss their reading in a supportive environment. Please see below the relevant wider reading lists. These lists have been created by the English Department 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;
Listen to your child read and read to them – although they are older, this is still valuable and rewarding for all involved;
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;
Support your child with their home learning for example helping them to plan work carefully, edit, re-draft and proof-read their final work.
Key stage 3 reading lists