Literacy

LITERACY

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. Whole-school tools include Accelerated Reader, Academic Enrichment lessons, Think, Talk, Write and PUSH:

Accelerated Reader:

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.

Academic Enrichment:

All students have one lesson each week in either year 7 or year 8 of Academic Enrichment. Here, we focus on listening and speaking skills in ‘deeper thinking’ philosophical whole-class discussions; on reliable research and how to spot fake news; on how to structure an academic essay and on speech-making to an audience. Please see Academic Enrichment link for more details.

Think, Talk, Write

In year 7 students are explicitly taught the skill of thinking and discussing as a way of planning quality writing. Ways of approaching different subject areas can be distinct and specialised and can offer a way into deeper thinking in the subject areas, so teachers in all subject areas have been trained to build on this with explicit teaching on how to ‘Think like a…scientist, talk like a scientist and then write like a scientist, for example. Students learn the conventions and style of each subject area in this school-wide approach.

PUSH. Students are 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. 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.

Updated; January 2021