Staff and pupils at Winifred Holtby Academy recognise the tangible link between communication skills and success. The ability to communicate accurately, appropriately and effectively is inherent to the success of pupils both in and beyond their life at the Academy.
Consequently, every teacher at Winifred Holtby Academy is considered a teacher of Literacy.
Consequently, it is the responsibility of every member of staff to develop pupils’ Literacy skills. Opportunities for pupils to extend and develop Literacy skills are woven into the learning experience across the curriculum. Teaching strategies across all subjects are founded on the development of pupils’ reading, writing and speaking skills. Outside of lessons, pupils are still expected to maintain high levels of Standard English, which is exemplified by staff. Opportunities to develop key Literacy skills are also frequent in the extra-curricular activities undertaken by pupils. Winifred Holtby Academy believes that the advancement of communication skills in young people is a holistic process, which is addressed both in and out of the classroom.
- After School reading opportunities in the LRC are accessible to all pupils from 8am – 4pm each day.
- 'Accelerated reader' is used as an indicator of a pupil’s reading age. All KS3 pupils are assessed on a term by term basis. Where pupils are identified as having a reading age that is at least two years below their chronological age, they will be placed on the Reading Army Intervention Programme. This programme is staffed by qualified teachers, and pupils receive at least one hour of guided reading per week, for a period of six-eight weeks.
- The Academy is keen to make sure that reading is encouraged and supported for older pupils too. KS4 pupils take part in Sound Training, which is specifically designed to help and support pupils with their spelling and vocabulary acquisition. Pupils who are identified to take part in this programme attend the training sessions for one hour a week, for six weeks.
- The Big Read and Guided Reader are KS3 strategies designed to encourage and foster a love of reading for pleasure. The programme is delivered by tutors in tutor lessons, within English and Literacy lessons.
Helping your son or daughter to become a more confident writer
1. Build a climate of words at home. Go places and see things with your child, then talk about what has been seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched. The basis of good writing is good talk, and younger children especially grow into stronger control of language when loving adults - particularly parents - share experiences and rich talk about those experiences.
2. Let children see you write often. You're both a model and a teacher. If children never see adults write, they gain an impression that writing occurs only at school. What you do is as important as what you say. Have children see you writing notes to friends, letters to business firms, perhaps stories to share with the children. From time to time, read aloud what you have written and ask your children their opinion of what you've said. Making changes in what you write confirms for the child that re-drafting is a natural part of writing.
3. Be as helpful as you can in helping children write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. When they ask for help with spelling, punctuation etc. offer them that help.
4. Provide a suitable place for children to write; a flat space with lots of room and a comfortable chair.
5. Give the child, and encourage others to give, gifts associated with writing:
- Different types of pens and pencils, ask them what they like to write with.
- Pads of paper, stationery, envelopes - even stamps.
- A booklet for a diary.
- A dictionary appropriate to the child's age and needs. Most dictionary use is for checking spelling, but a good dictionary contains fascinating information on word origins, synonyms, pronunciation, and so forth.
- A thesaurus to help in the search for the "right" word.
6. Praise your child's efforts. Resist the temptation to focus on errors of spelling, punctuation, and other mechanical aspects of writing. Emphasise the strengths in their writing; for every error the child makes, there are dozens of things he or she has done well.
7. Share letters from friends and relatives. Treat such letters as special events. Urge relatives and friends to write notes and letters to the child, no matter how brief. Writing is especially rewarding when the child gets a response. When thank-you notes are in order, after a birthday perhaps, sit with the child and write your own notes at the same time.
8. Encourage the child to write for information, free samples, and free tickets for events.
9. Ask them what their currently working on in English – do they know how to improve their writing?