Literacy is the ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen in a way that allows us to communicate effectively and to make sense of the world.
Why is literacy important?
Literacy is vital to ensuring your child has the best chance to succeed in their schooling and everyday life. Literacy allows us to make sense of a range of written, visual and spoken texts including books, newspapers, magazines, timetables, DVDs, television and radio programs, signs, maps, conversations and instructions.
People with good literacy skills are more likely to have:
- Higher self-esteem
- Better health
- Better jobs
- Higher wages
This is because they are more able to take advantage of the opportunities that life may offer them. At Bedwas High School, we strive to support and improve our pupils’ literacy skills in order to help them reach their full potential.
Supporting literacy at home
Make reading/writing time a positive experience. The brain shuts down when it is stressed - this makes learning almost impossible.
Model reading/writing yourself - let your child see you reading. Read or write together. We so often forget what an enjoyable experience it is to be read to. Let your children read to you and you read to them.
It should happen daily. Reading and writing is like eating! You should aim for three ‘meals’ a day. This is especially true for struggling readers/writers who aren’t able to sit for long periods of time.
Find out what your child loves and read or write about that. As long as they are reading try to encourage them. Newspapers, graphic novels, magazines and cookery books are all fantastic reading materials.
When your child is stuck on a word.
Look at the beginning of the word and think what would make sense. ‘Chunk’ the word. If neither of these work give the word to avoid frustration.
When your child struggles with fluency (robot reading).
Model what it should sound like. Get them to imagine they are radio presenters. Practice with texts they are comfortable with first.
When your child struggles with remembering.
Ask questions to check understanding frequently. Stop and re-read if necessary.
Compare books to films.
Talk about the similarities and differences. Debate which one is better and why.
Challenge your child’s reading with demanding questions.
Reading the same book at the same time is great. It provides perfect opportunities to challenge your child. There are loads of great questions on the internet too.
Create a word of the day to extend vocabulary.
Many websites are available to help your child to do this. Here are some to try:
At Bedwas High School, we use a range of strategies to help our pupils to become effective spellers. We teach pupils how to spell rather than just giving them words to memorise, that is what to spell.
We aim to develop habits where pupils think about word solving when writing and when learning new words. The following strategies are taught explicitly and pupils are encouraged to choose a strategy for each word that they have difficulty with.
On entering Bedwas High School, you will embark on your mission to become a Literacy Legend. To become a Literacy Legend, you will need to beat the Pillars of Stone and develop your skills in capital letters, sentences, spelling, apostrophes, paragraphs and oracy. Weekly, you will take on a series of challenging activities until you reach Literacy-Legend status!
Key Stage 3 (KS3)
In Key Stage 3 English, pupils develop a wide range of skills within thematic units of work such as Dystopia, Animals, Spies and The Gothic. Students' abilities in reading, writing and oracy are honed through engaging texts and activities designed to fine-tune communication skills and improve general literacy.
Regular assessment opportunities allow staff and pupils to monitor progress and target skills deficits through individualised work.
Key Stage 4 (KS4)
At Key Stage 4, pupils' skills are further developed and tracked in preparation for the GCSE Language examination. Again, units are thematic and include topics such as Celebrity, Sport and Politics. Regular examination practice and clear tracking ensures pupils are aware of their progress and know what they need to revise.
Literature is offered as an additional GCSE qualification in Year 11.