The most valuable thing that parents can do is talk to their child about their Literacy in school. It is important to encourage children to read regularly for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.
Reading for pleasure is vital for improving Literacy. Each student at The Manor Academy will have a reading test each year which produces a reading age to ensure that staff are aware of their students’ reading ability. This allows for staff to provide support and challenge where necessary, across the curriculum.
Reading regularly is proven to develop imaginations, improve vocabulary, spelling, writing, and speaking skills. Reading frequently also helps to create empathy towards others, develop critical thinking skills, as well as increase confidence and improve mental health. Regular reading boosts the chances of gaining better grades in all subject areas across secondary school, which will result in improving career prospects in later life. Also, reading can be fun and enjoyable.
Having an established routine for reading can be helpful. For example: reading being completed and then children being rewarded with screen time. An alternative could be to ensure reading is done in bed before a child goes to sleep; this can help improve the quality of sleep and is much healthier than looking at a screen just before sleep. A bonding activity when reading could be to have your child read out loud to you. From this, you could ask them questions on what they have been reading to encourage them and check comprehension. A positive alternative to reading could be having a parent, carer or sibling reading to a child or listening via audiobook.
What to Read
In the vocabulary book, each student receives a ‘Reading Challenge’ to provide guidance on what to read and ensure enough range and challenge.
Some students struggle to find the right book for them which can often cause a barrier to reading. There are millions of books and the internet is an excellent place for discovering the world of books out there. We have also invested thousands of pounds into our library to expand the variety of books that we have to offer. Should your child need assistance in choosing a new book, they can speak to Miss Fletcher in our library.
Encourage your child to write for pleasure. There are lots of activities in the reading log which they can complete – diary entries, stories or letters are just some of the examples. Before writing, please encourage your child to plan their extended piece of writing.
Teachers at The Manor Academy encourage students to proof check their written work to check for basic Literacy errors like full stops, capital letters or spelling errors. If the work is read aloud, this helps to punctuate work, as it will help them to hear where the punctuation should go. You could even try reading this aloud to them with the correct pauses.
If handwriting is clear and legible then priority should be given to the speed of writing over neatness. Not getting enough down on the page within time limits can be a barrier to success for some of our students.
At The Manor Academy, we believe that it is imperative for every child to find their voice for success. This is vital within education and the wider world after school. Successful speakers understand how to be polite and respectful, actively listen to others and articulate themselves, as well adapt their speaking for different purposes and audiences. Being able to scrutinise and develop ideas are just as important in speech as they are in writing.
To develop speaking and presentation skills, you could ask your child to read some of their reading book or written work out loud to you. As they do so, you could encourage them to speak clearly and fluently, in Standard English, and to vary the intonation and pace of their speech. Using eye contact, gestures and open body language is also important.
Literacy at GCSE
All the above information for Literacy is important and applicable to GCSE study. However, it is important to note that many GCSE exams, not just English, award marks for SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). To ensure success at GCSE, it is crucial that students can read the exam questions, understand them, and communicate clearly in their writing, often under stressful time pressures.
To maximise success at GCSE, encourage your child to keep reading fiction and non-fiction for pleasure.
Confident speaking skills are essential for learning and career development while studying GCSE. In English Language, students will have to deliver a spoken presentation to their class teacher, which is filmed and assessed for their GCSE Spoken Language grade. In Year 10, students will complete a one-week Work Experience placement which they have to apply to, as well as communicate with, adults outside of the academy. In Year 11, pupils will have to attend interviews when applying for Post-16 places or careers interviews. For success in all these areas, encourage your child to prepare and practise for their assessment and interviews.
Literacy in the Sixth Form
Strong Literacy skills are essential for students to meet the demands of Post-16 study. All the information for KS3 and GCSE are relevant for our Sixth Form students. As the majority of our Sixth Form students aim to attend university, secure an apprenticeship, or obtain a job, wider reading helps applicants to stand out in their personal statements, application forms and at the interview process.