Promoting high standards of reading, writing and communication across all areas of school is a top priority at Wood Green. There are lots of ways you can support your children in this at home. The quality of students’ writing is a particular focus and teachers are addressing this across the school. Whole-school tools include PUSH and our writing mats:
PUSH. Students are being reminded in all subjects of the importance of
Pen – having a good black or blue pen for all written work. They need a pen which allows them to write neatly and clearly with no smudges. Everyone needs a spare or two in case their pen runs out.
Underline – titles and sub titles need to be underlined. When they come to revise from their notes, they need to be able to find the information easily. A small ruler is vital.
Sentences – all sentences must start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Students need to be particularly careful to do this all the time and avoid falling into bad habits.
Handwriting – a clear, legible, personal style. Unless a reader can easily read their writing, students’ ideas will not be understood. It is important to emphasise that illegible handwriting and sloppy habits can affect grades.
All written GCSEs now carry marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. We would really value your support in getting this message across. Please support us by ensuring your son or daughter has a fully equipped pencil case and by praising well-presented homework and challenging messy presentation.
Another way we are supporting students to write accurately is the Wood Green Writing Mat. Laminated mats are a resource in classrooms so students can refer to them when constructing written pieces in school. The basic rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar feature on it and there is a useful glossary of connectives. The mat can be downloaded here. It is very helpful to have a copy printed off and kept at home for homework tasks and to help your child if they are unsure about any aspects of written accuracy.
An example of a Wood Green Writing Mat (pdf) can be downloaded here.
We all get confused about grammar sometimes and a useful resource is grammar tutorials and quizzes, from Bristol University. Students can work through these at home when feedback from their teachers suggests an area of weakness. Parents might also like to refer to it to answer once and for all those thorny issues of grammar!
There are lots of great literacy apps available for free download on to smartphones and tablets. Some we particularly like are Spell Tower, Wordament and Word Ruggle, Spell Me Right and Chicktionary. These are great fun and should come with a health warning: they are seriously addictive! Please encourage your children to download one and practise their word skills.
Finally, the best way to improve students’ literacy is to get them reading. Reading well-written texts with wide, interesting vocabulary allows students to broaden their own language horizons. Year 7 and 8 students all take part in Accelerated Reader and should have a book with them every day. They have 20 minutes a day allocated to reading in school and they should match this with 20 minutes each evening. All students should be encouraged to read at home: the impact of not reading is very significant.
The school library is a wonderful resource, with a regularly updated stock of the best fiction and non-fiction for young people. It is open every day from 8.30 am until an hour after school and year 7 and 8 students visit fortnightly during English lessons. Please encourage your children to go along and borrow from the wide choice available.
Sharing ideas about reading and recommendations for new books is something good readers do. There are reading lists on Sharepoint, and we hold reading clubs weekly in the library. Fictionary Club meets weekly to discuss books and do other creative activities related to books. Pageturners meets monthly. This is a more conventional book club for advanced readers. All readers are encouraged to talk about their reading, make recommendations to their peers and blog about their favourite books. We also recommend children sign up to www.goodreads.com and get sharing. Again, parents will find this a fabulous site to use!