This page is designed to give a potted overview of our comprehensive approach to Literacy at St John Henry Newman Catholic School. For more detailed insight into Literacy, we have a comprehensive literacy strategy below, and a recently updated Literacy Policy that can be viewed in the ‘Policies and Documents’ section of the school website.
The below strategy covers the years 2020 – 2023 signposting where our Literacy journey is currently and how we intend to move it forward strategically over a three year period.
In order to bridge the transition from Primary to Secondary school we find out about students’ writing and reading ability from their primary teacher. We also like to know details such as approaches to writing from each primary school to inform our curriculum in KS3. Furthermore, we ask for pupils’ reading ages and also a copy of their best written work, so that we can ensure consistency of standards from Year 6 into 7 and to avoid any transition dips.
Throughout the summer term, we publish a range of numeracy and literacy tasks on our website, to gain an insight into the standard of work students are capable of producing independently.
Reading & DEAR Time
We afford 20 minutes of reading time in Tutor Time every week, and insist that students through all year groups carry a reading book with them. Moreover, throughout the week, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time operates on a daily carousel, ensuring that every subject area has a responsibility to promote and instil a love for reading. During DEAR time, students have the opportunity to read their own reading book, some will be asked to read aloud to their class teacher, and it may be that the class teacher carefully selects some reading material relating to their subject area to develop the importance of academic reading. This means that collectively we offer the opportunity for two hours of dedicated reading through the course of the week.
For a small number of our students with reading ages significantly below their chronological reading age, we have an intervention programme that takes place before and after school. Students work closely with our Learning Support and Reading Support teams in a nurturing, small group environment where they have the opportunity to hone their word decoding and comprehension skills. This intervention shows year on year to have a significant impact on the students who engage regularly with it – with many students making in excess of a year’s progress in a couple of terms.
Every year, our students deliver a presentation to their Form peers. They plan a presentation of their choice in their English lessons, and then the Form Tutor publishes a schedule of presentations for throughout the year. This promotes the importance of good oracy skills and helps to develop confidence in our students.
SALAD Days (Speaking and Listening Activity Development)
Further promoting standards in oracy, we have implemented drop down mornings known as SALAD days. These prove very popular among our student body, with engagement and behaviour standards being very high during the delivery of these days. Each subject area takes a turn throughout the year to develop a deepened or extended sequence of learning from their curriculum. The main thrust of the sessions however is that students predominantly talk, discuss and present their ideas in a variety of ways, predominantly making use of their oracy skills over their written skills.