Literacy Corner

Literacy Across the Curriculum

The importance of literacy across the curriculum:

At Hamilton Academy we believe that promoting high standards of literacy is fundamental to raising the achievement of all students. It is a tool for success in school life beyond the curriculum and in wider society and is an integral part of all lessons across Hamilton.

What is literacy?

Literacy is the ability to read, write and speak to a high standard and as well as the ability to question and think in a complex and articulate way. Literate people are able to understand a wide range of written information and are able to communicate with others in a fluent and confident way, either in written or verbal forms.
Literacy opens up opportunities. It allows young people to engage with ideas and to participate in debate; it ensures that students feel confident and capable in a range of environments and scenarios. A high standard of literacy also allows young people to become more empathetic towards others and assess their own emotions more accurately.

What support will my child get to improve their literacy?

Lessons across the curriculum encourage students to develop speaking, reading, writing and questioning skills; teachers ensure the development of these skills across the ability range. Teachers actively promote a 'reading culture' by encouraging students to explore texts in lessons and to read widely outside of curriculum time.
Students are taught to appreciate the idea that different subjects have their own writing style and subject-specific terminology and are, therefore, encouraged to adopt different types of literacy throughout their day. As well as this, our school actively teaches students to think, speak, read and write like historians, geographers, scientists, thespians, musicians, critics, writers, and mathematicians.

Along with staff professional development opportunities, the following are in place to uphold our literacy ethos:

Reading Writing Speaking and Listening
• Reading and spelling age data and relevant support materials shared with all staff; • Whole school marking for literacy policy to assess pupils' written literacy skills; • Whole school spoken language non-negotiables;
• Opportunities for a range of reading strategies differentiated for students' abilities; • DIRT (purple pen) student reflection and response to teachers' marking; • Designated key vocabulary boards in each classroom to develop expert talk (usage linked to Hamilton House Points);
• Exposure to a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts across all subjects; • Differentiated writing placemats for style, spelling, punctuation and grammar; • Words of the Week in pastoral/tutor time promoted to build a vast vocabulary (usage linked to Hamilton House Points);
• Whole school approach to reading during pastoral/tutor time • Designated key vocabulary boards in each classroom to promote expertise; • Weekly discussion/debate topics in pastoral/tutor time coincide with the 'thought of the week' (usage linked to Hamilton House Points);
• Half-termly DEAR (drop everything and read) sessions for all year groups • Opportunities for extended writing and timed practice across all subjects; • Opportunities through student ambassadors initiative;
• Inclusion of reading book as part of daily equipment check; • Weekly dedicated time to focus on specific spelling, punctuation and grammar skills as part of the English curriculum; • Differentiated questioning strategies designed to promote challenge.
• Book boxes provided for classrooms to encourage a class library- no matter the lesson; • Literacy based plenary opportunities.
• Reading buddies and extra-curricular reading for pleasure groups;
• Weekly dedicated reading for pleasure opportunities as part of the English curriculum;
• Specialised curriculum for EAL students new to the English language;
• Accelerated Reader reading intervention for students below chronological reading age;
• Literacy Mentor reading interventions offered for target students;
• Opportunities for author visits and literacy trips through Leicester's Whatever It Takes initiative.

Helping your child's literacy at home.

Reading

All pupils are required to have their personal reading book on them at all times. They may be asked to read this during tutor or curriculum time.
As a parent encouraging your child to read for pleasure is one of the most important things you can do to support their academic progress. You can do this by simply setting aside 30 minutes each evening to quiet reading time. An even better strategy is to encourage 'active reading'. This is where you and your child actively engage in reading for pleasure together.

Writing

By the time pupils start Hamilton Academy they should be able to write with confidence, structuring their sentences and organising their work into paragraphs. All pupils are encouraged by all staff to ensure they think about the purpose of their writing and how they can structure it to engage their specific audience. If your child is completing an extended piece of writing at home you can help by asking them ...
1. What type of text are you writing?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. How do the answers to the questions above influence the style and structure of your writing?

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening play an increasingly important role in making sense of new information and in clarifying thinking in subjects across the curriculum. More importantly though, the ability to communicate effectively is a life skill that all pupils require to be successful.

As a parent it is important to model the importance of talk as a tool to learn from each other. The most effective question you can ask your child each evening is 'what have you learnt today?' This will encourage your child to reflect on their learning and use vocabulary and explanation to verbalise this to you.

*Follow these links to access some active reading, writing, and speaking and listening strategies you could complete with your child at home:8

Advice leaflets. What you can do at home.

Resources your child uses at school to help improve their literacy. You can use these at home too!

Writing Frameworks. Use these to help your child structure a written task!