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Ideas for leading a session on literacy with whole-staff

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Lee770, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Lee770

    Lee770 New commenter

    Hi guys,

    I'm a first-time poster here so I hope I've selected the correct forum.
    I have recently been appointed as Literacy Coordinator at my school. To be frank, no-one has been in the role for a number of years and the area of literacy has been a bit neglected.
    Prior to the end of term I was asked to come up with a literacy mission statement, action plan and begin drafting a policy etc. and now i have been asked by the principal to lead a baker day session with all the staff to kind of 'unveil/re-launch' literacy within the school.
    I'm conscious that i don't want the session to be totally dry with me just simply talking about where we're at/what I've done and what we need to do... I'd like to get the staff involved in some kind of task that helps show them the value of literacy and highlight the need for it to be promoted across departments/subject areas in order to improve the literacy standards of our pupils; however, I'm a bit at a loss as to what kind of task to do... Does anyone have any suggestions as to what i could do/include?
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    If you do a forum search, you will find several recent threads dedicated to the coordination of literacy development across the curriculum in secondary schools, e.g.:
    I have copied below my own response to one of these threads:

    There will always be a tendency for subject teachers, from Art & Design to Science, to perceive reading and writing development as an issue to be addressed by English and learning support teachers and not by all staff involved in students' education. You should seek ways of building bridges between what English and SEN classes are doing and what is being done by others elsewhere in the school curriculum.

    If you go to the inclusion section of my website at http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/home/inclusion, you will see a number of subject links next to the subheading "Basic skills" under the heading "Boosting knowledge and skills". Following these links will lead you to documents with strategies for developing literacy skills within each of the core and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum. Placing the onus of reading and writing development on all teachers is likelier to raise achievement not only in literacy but also in the individual subjects themselves. In other words, you need the entire staff singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to the importance of reading comprehension and written production, rather than expecting your own efforts to develop literacy skills to result in a "transferable" skill that will benefit all the student's learning. Make all subject teachers aware of their responsibility to develop reading and writing, giving them the wherewithal to do so by accessing guidance documents explaining how it is done when they are delivering their subject specialism.
  3. Lee770

    Lee770 New commenter

    Thanks for the thread links and advice, Dodros. I shall certainly check out the website link also.
    The focus on making all subject teachers aware of their responsibility to develop the reading/writing etc. of our students will certainly be one facet of the session. I'm still looking for any practical tasks/activities that I could use to enliven the session whilst highlighting the above.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Look at extracts from teaching materials and text books as you would with a class.
    • can you summarise it
    • what words are hard
    • what would make this easier to understand
    One of the biggest barriers to learning is that pupils are often given material which is too hard or has too much unfamiliar vocabulary. Staff need to be aware of this but unless they see it an another subject, it can be hard to understand how difficult their own teaching materials can be or just how much new vocabulary they are expecting pupils to assimilate in one lesson.
  5. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    One way of raising subject teachers' awareness of readability levels, and hence their students' reading comprehension, of text in subject-specific worksheets and textbooks is to ask them to run several paragraphs from any of these sources through Word, whose spelling and grammar checker can provide readability statistics. First enable this facility using the File tab:
    On the Proofing tab, under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure Check grammar with spelling is selected:
    Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, select the Show readability statistics check box. Then click OK. Begin the grammar check by selecting the Review tab then the Spelling & Grammar button on the far left. After the grammar check is complete, Word displays a message box telling you that the checking has been completed.:
    Document statistics displayed in this dialog box include the number of characters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in the document. They also include the average number of sentences per paragraph, of words per sentence, and of characters per word.

    The readability of a document is often measured in terms of a grade level, and various algorithms can be used to estimate a document's ease of reading. The Readability Statistics dialog box includes the results of three such commonly accepted estimates. The readability estimates in Word 2013 consist of the following:
    • Flesch Reading Ease, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. Standard writing averages 60 to 70 on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the more people can readily understand the document.
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. This score indicates a gradeschool level. For example, a score of 6 means that a sixth-grader can understand the document. Standard writing is approximately seventh- to eighth-grade level.
    In the example above, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is 12.0. Add six to this score (US children start school at age 6) and you will see that a Flesch-Kincaid grade level of 12.0 is equivalent to an average 18-year-old reader.
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    If you google literacy across the curriculum tes forums you should see a number of threads which cover very similar ground with good suggestions and ideas for action planning . Am adding this because I just don't have the wherewithal to repeat what I have already contributed ;) ! Good Luck
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    In a secondary school? How? They are judged on Maths and English GCSE results!! :eek::eek::eek:
    Look at other school websites and see what they have. Copy, paste and edit.
    Surely to have been successful at interview, you talked about your plans to develop literacy? Present those to the staff along with your plans and expectations as to how they will be met.
  8. catbanj

    catbanj Occasional commenter

    We did something similar lately.

    I led it - a Mathematician not the English/Literacy lead to stop the "this isn't relevant to my subject" problems

    Started with some exam quotes and staff had to identify what subjects they were from- to highlight the importance of technical language and the different literacy communities that exist within school.

    Looked at some words with different meanings in different subjects

    Some stats about numbers nationally that are functionally illiterate and what that means with reference to confusion caused by different meanings in different subjects.

    Did a cloze activity where the missing words were not subject specifics, to show how to model quality writing

    Then the Literacy lead took over and did the launch of the new policy and we did some subject specific work on discourse markers.

    Ended with subject tasks for next time including analysis of the 2017 GCSE papers to highlight literacy barriers for our pupils

    We have one hour CPD each half term for 2017-18 on Literacy as it is a real focus for us .
  9. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    I was just thinking that you could engage teachers with a literacy test e.g. Homophones - when to use their, they're or there.

    There will always be a colleague who isn't confident in their ability where they're unable to spot the difference.

    If you set up group activities with the most misspelled words, literacy errors, then get teachers and support staff to peer assess, I think it would be funny, poignant and get colleagues to discuss them.

    Added bonus is that they correct their own misconceptions when working with the kids!

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