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Literacy Improving Students' Levels of Literacy as a Collective Responsibility

Our world is dominated by the written word and symbols both online and in print. This means we can only contribute and participate actively if we can read and write sufficiently well. Literacy is about people’s ability to thrive in society as individuals, active citizens, employees and parents. Literate students can engage with texts and ideas that challenge preconceptions and develop understanding beyond the personal and immediate; they can use talk and writing as a means of exploring a range of views and perspectives on the world.

The teaching of literacy is not the responsibility of the English Department alone; we have a collective responsibility to ensure our students can read, write and communicate effectively.

We are all familiar with the need to close the gap between the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students and their peers. Improving students’ levels of literacy will do this: as teachers we need to know that if we’re not explicitly addressing the needs of ‘have nots’, then the gap between the word-rich and word-poor will get ever wider. This course aims to provide a fresh and focused way to equip teachers who teach science and the humanities to bring reading and vocabulary alive in their classrooms.

Impact evidence: Reducing the Difference ● If a child has low levels of literacy, the effects go far beyond low test scores in the classroom: low literacy hinders students’ ability to progress into further education or benefit from lifelong learning; it has a major impact on self-esteem which leads to social isolation; poor literacy skills have a negative impact on employability and income. ● Low literacy levels impede progress and attainment particularly for boys and disadvantaged pupils in the south east. The new knowledge based exam curricular place ever greater emphasis on comprehension and recall. ● Attending our course will give you the confidence to extend reading and enhance vocabulary in your classroom, thereby closing the attainment and progress gap. Relationship to statutory duties or improved outcomes for children and young people; •Teaching Standards 3: demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject.

About the Expert
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Vicky Hawking

Vicky has been the English Subject Facilitator for Brighton and Hove for the past nine years. She works to support English departments across the city by offering training and network meetings for English leaders and running the annual English Joint Practice Development day for the city. Vicky's other role is Senior Lead Teacher at Cardinal Newman School, where she currently leads on a whole school mentoring initiative to help disadvantaged students to progress further faster. She is a pedagogical enthusiast and obsessive reader who is keen to encourage the development of teachers and students.

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