How to help improve your child’s Literacy

The Importance of Literacy

It is imperative that students’ ability to communicate is underpinned by good literacy skills. Nationally, statistics show a decline in literacy standards. This has the potential to impact pupils’ aspirations, results, career prospects and their confidence. Beyond this, it has the potential to undermine your child’s experience of the world.

Some interesting facts:

  • Less than half of 8 to 16 year olds have read a book in the last month.
  • 49% of children and young adults think that reading is boring.
  • Children who enjoy reading very much are 5 times more likely to be above average readers.
  • 22% of children report that no one at home encourages them to read.
  • 1 in 3 children do not own a book.
  • 62% of boys do not enjoy writing and pupils at Key Stage 4 are the least likely to enjoy writing.
  • Pupils on free school meals have much less confidence in their writing ability.
  • Research shows that the average length of a student’s contribution to a class discussion is 4 words.

We owe it to our students to give them the very best literacy skills, in order to improve their chances in life and to enable them to succeed in whatever path they choose.

 

Supporting Literacy at Home

Some suggestions:

Go Online

  • Finding the right book can be tricky. This tool helps you to search for a book quickly.

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/bookfinder/

  • By encouraging your child to read you can help support them in improving their Literacy. The following link allows you to filter books for gender, reluctant readers, dyslexia, age and ability:

http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/?ref=lovereading

  • Competitions can really help to motivate young adults. Please see the link below for a range of different writing competitions.

https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/competitions-for-children/childrens-writing-competitions/

Shared Reading

Shared reading doesn’t have to end at primary school. Grab a book and enjoy a reading experience with your child. You don’t have to read a lot, a page or a chapter will do. You could even start your own family book club. Imagine the conversations you could have when you share your own favourite book with your son or daughter.

Ebooks

Your son or daughter can sit and read on their phones. There’s a huge array of texts available online for free see here https://manybooks.net/. Reading the news online is helpful too, particularly broadsheet sites without a paywall such as https://www.theguardian.com/uk or national news sites such as https://www.bbc.co.uk/news. Your child can even peruse different versions of GCSE set texts here for free https://www.gutenberg.org/

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” 
― 
Stephen Fry

Audiobooks

Ever struggle to keep your eyes open at the end of the day? Fear not, a range of audio books are available here https://listening-books.overdrive.com/library/youth.

Check out YouTube for other audiobooks too! You can even stick on an audiobook as you drive.

Films First

For very reluctant readers why not try watching the film version first? This way they can take the book out for a test drive first before committing to reading it. You can also find helpful lists of film related books here https://bookriot.com/category/young-adult-literature/

Flash Fiction

For short snappy reads check out flash fiction or micro literature here: https://flashfictionmagazine.com/blog/tag/young-adult/

Did you know that pupils who read for just 20 minutes per day show improved progress and success in all subjects at GCSE level?

Literacy at Winsford Academy

We’re proud to offer a comprehensive range of Literacy in our school. We run interventions for pupils who need extra support or would benefit from some one-to-one help, masterclasses for pupils who excel and a range of activities to support pupils as they develop a love of reading, writing and learning.

Whole School Literacy Agenda

As a whole school we’re committed to ensuring our pupils can engage with texts, write independently and engage in class discussion. We have a whole school approach to planning writing using IPEELL planning frames and mark sheets. This ensures that pupils are using a consistent approach to planning and self-assessing their extended writing. Teachers also select appropriate texts for pupils to read in lesson so they can access learning. When texts are more challenging we make sure to break down the key information so pupils can understand. We also ensure that we break down keywords and new terminology for pupils as we’re reading so they understand texts. Finally, all teachers give opportunities for pupils to discuss their learning so that they can develop their speaking and listening skills.

IPEELL

In 2018/19 we participated in a trial with the ‘Write Across’ movement. The leading principles of this project are to develop motivated, self-regulated learners. To ensure this is achieved all written subjects subscribe to IPEELL planning format and mark sheets; this also guarantees a consistent approach across extended writing. This has been so successful and we will be continuing to use this across the whole curriculum for key stage three.


Another principle is that of motivated learners. Sharing your favourite motivational quotes and stories with your son or daughter may inspire them and help them to develop a growth mindset. Our experience is that pupils who train hard in lessons, challenge themselves to improve and push themselves to grow find the learning process more accessible and beneficial than pupils who, inaccurately, believe they’re simply “talented” or not.

Library Lessons

During the first two academic years all pupils attend a library lesson once a fortnight during which they listen to their teacher model how to read. This enables pupils to understand fluency, pace and intonation. Thus making them proficient and expressive readers. They then complete an activity from their reading passport designed to consolidate their love of reading. This hour also aids pupils understand how to conduct themselves in a library setting, how to access a range of texts and how to research.

 

Literacy Lessons

In Year Seven and Year Eight, pupils study a range of Literacy skills. They study a program designed to ensure they are able to plan, write extended pieces, draft and improve their work. They also study reading skills enabling them to decode texts, develop their inference skills and improve their comprehension abilities. They also study cultural Literacy to enhance pupils’ cultural capital. More able pupils will also undertake some masterclasses on topics such as art in Literacy and Literacy in the workplace to propel them further, as of next academic year.

Form Time Literacy Lessons

All years follow a scheme of learning for literacy in their form times, once a week. This encompasses cultural Literacy, Literacy games as well as spellings, punctuation and grammar revision. They also play word games such as Boggle, CatchPhrase and Hangman throughout the year. To keep the pupils informed with current affairs pupils also watch NewsRound and discuss the latest news.

Word of the Week

All pupils and staff are exposed to a word of the week in order to widen pupils’ vocabularies.

Reminders of Literacy notices are also available on the big T.V. as pupils enter the building.

Clubs at School

There are a range of clubs at school. Why not encourage your son or daughter to join in with one?

These are just some options available: Poetry Picnic, Poetry and Pizza, Readathons, School Newspaper, Library activities every lunch, Cheshire Book Awards Book Club. We also have seasonal and one off events available. Keep your eyes peeled!

School Competitions

Writing competitions in English lessons, Literacy competitions about reading, and Literacy competitions in form times. Look out for more competitions each term.

To find out more please see our librarian Miss Till, Mrs O’Brien or Mrs Parnaby to find out more!

Resources available in school to help your son or daughter

  • Planner pages dedicated to literacy and IPEELL to support them with extended writing.
  • Keywords on PowerPoints and on posters in classrooms containing advice on how to use subject specific terminology.
  • Literacy checklist posters containing guidance on punctuation and drafting skills.
  • IPEELL focused extended writing literacy mats, board pens and eraser sponges to support pupils with planning and drafting skills.

It takes a village!

Remember that idiom, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well, turns out to be true! Conversations with parents, grandparents, friends and the extended family are crucial to widening your child’s vocabulary and helping them to understand the world around them. It helps children to understand different views of different generations, genders, professions and so forth. A range of viewpoints broadens their own minds. We can’t overestimate the importance of encouraging your child to debate topics, their perspectives and their experiences of the world with your friends and family. Let’s all work together as a wider community to support every child in developing their literacy skills.