Literacy in school
At The Robert Napier School, we are committed to promoting literacy as a skill for life. Regardless of background or ability, strengthening literacy skills is a key priority for all young people to support them in their education and beyond. By developing their literacy skills, students can make greater progress in all their subject areas – not just in English.
Here’s just some of the things that we are doing at Robert Napier to support students with their literacy:
Bedrock lessons are held every fortnight, students in years 7-9 have a Bedrock Learning lesson. This is where students can use an online programme that assesses student’s vocabulary and grammar, which then provides bespoke interventions tailored to each individual’s needs. Students can also complete Bedrock learning at home from any device that connects to the internet. By doing at least 30 minutes at home on Bedrock every week, students can improve their vocabulary in order to access a wider range of books and other texts. This in turn will support their learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Reciprocal Reading is a strategy that is used across all the subject areas (including form time) at least twice a term. This is a four-stage system of reading that helps students to engage with a challenging text. First, students predict what the text is about based on clues from the title, the front cover, subtitles or anything else that might give a hint about the content. Then, students clarify any words they don’t know and look them up in the dictionary before asking questions about the text. The final stage is to summarise the text to show that they can now understand it. By doing this in every subject, reading fluency is improved and students extend their vocabulary and disciplinary literacy skills.
Other literacy initiatives
Form Time Oracy is a weekly session during registration time led by the form tutor. Each term, all students will spend 25 minutes a week improving their spoken language. This is done thematically to encourage students to be able to express their thoughts, knowledge and feelings in an appropriate way using formal and informal language.
Form Time Reading is where students read for pleasure every week during registration time. Books are read together as a class to ensure that all students are exposed to a wide range of texts, authors and genres of reading. Students can bring their own reading books into school or read a book from the school library. By the time students finish year 11, they will have been exposed to a minimum of 55 books during form time.
Library Lessons are a fortnightly opportunity during English lessons for students to choose a book from a wide selection and enjoy reading it in the peace and quiet of the library. This is an excellent opportunity for students to try something new and read for pleasure on a regular basis. Students are also able to borrow books from the library to take home to read.
Purple Pen is a whole school approach to spelling, punctuation, and grammar. On a regular basis, students proofread their own work and correct their mistakes with the support of a literacy mat. Proofreading is a skill for life that is embedded in all areas of the curriculum.
Literacy at home
One of the best ways that literacy can be supported is by parents and carers at home. Here are some strategies to support your child’s progress in school:
Encourage your child to read for about 30 minutes every night. This can include books, comics, magazines, blogs, graphic novels and news (both in print or online). Remember– in Years 7 and 8 it is one of the homework requirements to read for 30 minutes every night.
Encourage your child to use Bedrock at home. All students from years 7-9 are expected to complete 30 minutes of Bedrock Learning as part of their weekly English homework.
Encourage your child to read to others. Reading books to younger siblings or relatives can also boost your child’s reading confidence.
Get your child a library card for your local library. This way, students can have access to a great range of books to suit their interests – and all for free! Check out Medway Libraries here. Ask the librarian for recommendations of books or look online at book reviews.
Ask what books your child would like for birthday or Christmas presents. Online bookstores such as Scholastic often have books available at a discount to make purchases more affordable.
Encourage your child to participate in school reading competitions. We will be holding a number of reading competitions in school throughout the year, and this is a great way for students to develop their skills with reading. Local libraries are also a great place to learn about reading competitions, especially the summer reading challenges.
Students can download reading apps to their smartphones, e.g., Kindle reading app. The app can be downloaded for free from the app store, books can often be purchased at a reduced cost, and some books are even available to download for free.