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Raising standards in Literacy; what has worked for you?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by emserata, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. i have just started a new job as Literacy co-ordinator. I am really excited about really getting the children interested in the subject as at the moment it seems stale and they are definitely turned off! standards are quite low 50% level 4 in SATs and we have 98% EAL. I am most interested in them enjoying the subject more and as a result get better rather than introducing ideas purely for improving SATs scores. So, any ideas?! i want to make them more independent learners what has worked for you? i was thinking a more thinking skills approach e.g. p4c, drama we already do Big Write thanks!
     
  2. i have just started a new job as Literacy co-ordinator. I am really excited about really getting the children interested in the subject as at the moment it seems stale and they are definitely turned off! standards are quite low 50% level 4 in SATs and we have 98% EAL. I am most interested in them enjoying the subject more and as a result get better rather than introducing ideas purely for improving SATs scores. So, any ideas?! i want to make them more independent learners what has worked for you? i was thinking a more thinking skills approach e.g. p4c, drama we already do Big Write thanks!
     
  3. tammyround

    tammyround New commenter

    For me, it's been a combination of approaches to work to the needs of different children in my class, but I would argue the key part is the curriculum.
    We follow the IPC so in reality still teach topic work. I sit and select the juciest and most interesting topics and ensure that the learning is as broad, multi-sensory, engaging, interactive as possible. In literacy, we will read a text linked to the topic so that they then have hooks. Judicious use of visual literacy is a big booster!
    Then in lesson, writing outcomes from the topic are across numerous text types, with drama, talk and as much creative activities to really get them excited about writing. Each time we come back to a text type, they remembered the last time they did it much more and have a better feel for what is expected. Progressively, they become more independent and you can stretch them more.
    We also use Alan Peat for sentence level and text level focus, so that each time we use the same criteria. When doing a specific text type, I will pick out a couple of sentence types I think will really boost the writing, linking author's purpose to effect on reader, boosts reading skills every time as well as building their writing skills- bonus!
    The last thing I say really really works is this - Last year I had a group last year of borderline level 3/4 children and I was pulling my hair out with all kinds of short term targets in all forms - target mats for when they wrote, stick-in targets, stand up displayed targets on table, sticky note reminders, tick list for checking work - none of it worked for more than a few days. Common problems kept on reappearing. So, I sat with them every time we did writing and as they wrote, I asked them things like: Where is the capital letter? What are you missing here? Think again about how you spell that word. I pointed out and discussed all the common problems they had - focused on spelling patterns, homophones, verb conjugation, use of speech marks, exclamation marks, paragraphing, using support mats for making better word choices for said/went/good, etc etc..... - At times, we would re-write key sentences using shared writing and talking through ideas to help them link author's purpose and effect on reader. At times they spoke and I wrote it down so that slower writers saw their ideas on paper quickly and could improve their writing and spot better spellings.
    After a short while, they were more capable of self-editing as I was modelling the skills for them. By the end of a half term, their writing was so much better! They were more confident at stopping themselves and trying out different spellings of words on the side and making better judgement calls. Plus, the extra boost of having produced some amazing work (yes supported and therefore not APP material) really spurred them on to write next time - the success was motivation.
    No, I did not APP these pieces and yes, I did ensure they still practised some cold pieces independently. But YES, I did stick them up on the wall, proudly displaying their hard work to the whole class. It was supported but didn't take away from the fact that by the end of the piece, they had put in an enormous amount of effort.
    By the final term of the year, where we were doing our final APP pieces and SATs writing test, they were ready to be let loose on writing things independently. I remember how I felt watching them in the SATs writing paper, trying out spellings on a scrap piece of paper, lips silently re-reading sentences for full stops, extra adjectives inputted here and there whilst verbs were crossed out for better ones. I was just so proud! And they made it. I was lucky that I could put in this time with them, by putting in lots of time into my planning and ensuring that all resources and help was made.
    The thing that also helps is more of a SLT remit - My head wanted continuity so I moved up with my class from year 4/5 to year 5/6. I knew them and their needs really well. September, we hit the ground running and got stick into the learning. I felt like I had gained 1/2 term if not a full term of teaching, because I wasn't getting to know them. It was great.
     
  4. I have, but it's not very popular at the moment:
    amend a substantial number of the words with irregular spellings.
    (See http://www.improvingenglishspelling.blogspot.com ).
    In the first half of the 20th century this idea was widely supported. The House of Commons even passed a Spelling Reform Bill in 1953 which led to a major study to investigate if this would make a difference. It concluded that if would, but used a rather peculiar system for spelling English more consistently (i.t.a.).
    Many schools then experimented with using i.t.a. for just a year, before switching to traditonal spelling - in order to avoid a proper spelling reform. This proved disastrous, but also gave rise to the idea that spelling reform is either impossible to implement or unnecessary.
    It will happen one. And as with decimalisation, people will find it incredible that anyone could tolerate the current mess for so long.
     

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