The most valuable thing that families 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 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 often 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 families, carer or sibling reading to a child or listening via audiobook.
At KS3, the Literacy Knowledge Organiser includes a Reading Log to fill out. In this, your child can record the books which they have read and complete comprehension activities. These are checked once a week in Library lessons.
It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. At KS3, the weekly Library Reading Lesson is an opportunity for pupils to get advice from a Librarian or an English teacher, as well as recommendations from peers. We expect all our KS3 pupils to always have a reading book in their bag.
What to Read
In the Literacy Knowledge Organiser, 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. The librarian manager, Mrs Pulsford can also offer support and advice on what to read.
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.
At KS3, the Literacy Knowledge Organiser contains key spellings from across the curriculum to be learnt in the vocabulary lessons, as well as in tutor time spelling tests. You could encourage your child to use the method of ‘look, cover, write and check’.
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. If your child does need to make their writing more legible, there is a ‘Handwriting Practice’ section available in the Literacy Knowledge Organiser.
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
To maximise success at GCSE, encourage your child to keep reading fiction and non-fiction for pleasure. They can also practice proofreading timed exam responses from their subject specific Knowledge Organisers.