Teaching literacy

What can we all do within our own classrooms to help improve the literacy standards of our students? What are the marginal gains that could make the difference for our students? Jo’s recent Teaching & Learning briefings helped shed light on what we can all be doing to support our students in making those vital steps with their literacy…

Common mistakes in writing, like those below, may well be the difference between meeting a target grade and falling below it:

• The train station is desolate. the cafe sign was creaking backwards and forwards in a sudden scurry of wind.
• Rabbits have no eyelids; therefore they cannot blink or remove substances from there eyes.
• Typicaly i was afflicted by the blues that rain carries with it every where it goes.
• “Alright just pass it here and well do it.” Said Sam in a confident tone.
• He had made his own prison were truth was the key that unlocked the door.
• He could not die every man that came over the top was killed by his hand and everytime he did so a little more of him died with that person.
• The ferry port appeared as if it was noon though night descends on the outside buildings like a warm blanket.
• He reached the Quay and was spotted by two fisherman, they raced over towards him.

The words below are those most commonly misspelt by our students and need highlighting and correcting – no matter which subject we may be teaching:

• alot
• infront of
• in so far
• alright
• its/it’s
• independant
• GCSE’s
• relevent
• publically

When our students are speaking in class, Jo highlighted just how crucial it is to pick up on the following:

• Is the student fluent in speech?
• Are they speaking without fillers … er … Like…
• Are they able to articulate their ideas?
• Are they able to hold a discussion sustaining eye contact?
• Are they able to use a diverse range of vocabulary?

We need to make the distinction between formal and informal speech. Dialect is a great thing – you just have to listen to the Wurzels to see this – but it can make the difference between a grade for our students! See Jo’s presentations here Literacy T&L briefing.

Further reading on how we can keep literacy at the forefront in our lesson can be found on the Guardian blog. Want a literacy poster for your faculty or classroom? Check out Dan@Design Thinking here.