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Improving Literacy at KS4 across all subjects

Discussion in 'English' started by hayleyb83, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. hayleyb83

    hayleyb83 New commenter


    As part of a leadership challenge at my school, I have been set the task of trying to improve literacy at KS4 across all subject areas. Within our English department we already do a lot of work specific to improving literacy but we are keen for it to be seen as a whole school approach, especially with SPAG now having more weighting on the new GCSEs. Do any of you lovely people have any tips/suggestions/pointers that you may have tried or seen that could work here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Spellings for common words is quite a good one. Needs to be started at KS3 really to have a significant impact on KS4. Lots of focus on what the questions in exams are really asking would definitely have an impact across the curriculum. Can't really think of any quick fixes however.....
  3. MissHallEnglish

    MissHallEnglish Occasional commenter Forum guide and community helper

    Our marking and feedback policy was changed (and for once, improved, in my school) to reflect the hard work that English teachers do in trying to get students to engage with the importance of accurate spelling. As you say it is now weighted in other subject areas too, so it's becoming of interest to other departments.
    In our revised policy, all spelling errors are now highlighted, circled or identified in someway and the student has to then write out the incorrect words correctly when engaging with their feedback. This happens across all subjects. I personally find it interesting that students often don't realise they spell a single word differently two or three times in the same piece of work. To make my point and to support my 'Don't be a lazy speller' comment, I tend to identify these in a different colour just to reinforce! ;)

    Constantly referring students to dictionaries, constant verbal reminders, buddy systems in a classroom for spotting incorrect spellings, weekly spelling tests and re-tests (time consuming) are other things that I endeavour to do as a matter of course.

    Whole School: Perhaps something like a weekly SPaG challenge or half termly focus might work? E.g. all staff are given a toolkit for teaching apostrophes, for example, and this 'Literacy Target' (?) could be assessed in the next piece of work that's marked? A bank of resources could be set up somewhere on your school network to be accessible for staff when they need it. We did something similar when the budget allowed for a Literacy Co-ordinator!
  4. hayleyb83

    hayleyb83 New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. A lot of what has been mentioned we do already, so perhaps I need to work at making sure it is done more consistently!
  5. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Consistency is the key to be honest. It can only be successful if done across the entire school but it's the buy-in from staff that I've seen is an issue with that bit.

    The other thing I thought of is paired reading sessions- get a year 7 to read to a year 9 etc. in groups during tutor time? Reading for the first 10 minutes of each English lesson is something I do too. Can you encourage book clubs?

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