Literacy at St Luke’s

Book list by year:

What is literacy?

“Literacy is the jump-off point from which all of life’s successes take flight” (Lauri Fortino)

Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world. When we refer to literacy at St Luke’s we mean:

  • Reading
  • SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar)
  • Extended writing
  • Presentation – clear presentation is needed in order for ideas to be understood
  • Oracy – students need to be able to offer extended verbal contributions
  • Tier two and tier three (subject specific) vocabulary in both written and verbal responses

Why is literacy so important?

Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult. (National Literacy Trust)

We believe that literacy:

  • Improves students’ life chances post-16
  • Raises aspirations
  • Opens students’ eyes to the wider world and fosters curiosity
  • Builds resilience and introduces a sense of ownership of work
  • Improves the quality of students’ work
  • Develops a love of oracy, reading and writing

How do we improve students’ literacy?

Literacy is a whole school responsibility. Below are the ways in which teachers aim to improve students’ literacy:

  • Explicit teaching of tier three (subject-specific) vocabulary
  • Consistent use of tier two vocabulary in interactions with students
  • Checking students’ understanding of tier two vocabulary
  • Non-fiction comprehension tasks in every subject area
  • Summative assessments to be checked for spelling (sp), punctuation (p), paragraphs (//), capital letters (C) and a SPAG mark awarded using the mark criteria out of 4
  • Literacy errors to be addressed through live marking / verbal feedback in every subject
  • Expecting students to answer verbal questions in full sentences – teachers should not accept one word answers – “Can you put that into a sentence for me please?”
  • Displaying word of the week prominently in all classrooms and on visual displays around the school and where possible include the word in teaching and / or students’ answers
  • All staff promoting reading through the tutorial reading programme
  • Use of knowledge organisers to support students’ understanding of challenging and subject-specific vocabulary.

How can parents support literacy at home?

As a parent, there are many ways in which you can support your child with literacy at home. Here are some simple ideas you could try:

  • Encourage your child to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts including articles, blogs and travel writing.
  • Talk to your child about what they are reading in tutorial. Ask them to explain what is happening in the book and how they feel about it.
  • Read with your child – sharing reading is something you probably did regularly when your child was younger but it shouldn’t stop once they reach secondary school.
  • Help your child to work out what an unfamiliar word means by getting them to read the rest of the sentence and look for clues.
  • Quiz your child on key vocabulary on their knowledge organisers.
  • Ask your child about the word of the week. Can they explain its meaning to you? Can they use it in a sentence?
  • Expect your child to speak in complete sentences – this will help them to develop vital communication skills.