Literacy at St Luke’s
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:
SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar)
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
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.