Literacy

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity… For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” ― Kofi Annan

Literacy skills are vital to the success of our children as they progress through school and travel through life into the world of work. Literacy is defined in ‘Count, Read: Succeed’; a ‘Strategy to Improve Outcomes in Literacy and Numeracy’ as: ‘the ability to read and use written information and to write appropriately and legibly, taking account of different purposes, contexts, conventions and audiences.

It involves the development of:

– An integrated approach to the acquisition of talking, listening, reading and writing skills across the curriculum;

– Knowledge that allows a speaker, writer and reader to use language appropriate to different social situations;

– Formal and informal language across all areas of social interaction; and

– The ability to read, understand and use information in multiple formats and platforms, including traditional print and on-screen material’.

In St Mark’s High School we offer a variety of individual and group programmes that help develop the Literacy skills of our students. These range from personal reading programmes, group Literacy sessions, spellings programmes, writing skills workshops and an extra curricular ‘Literacy Fun Club’. These initiatives all aim to develop our student’s Literacy skills with a fun, interactive approach. In St. Mark’s High School we try our best to help students reach their full potential by using the talents of all staff within our school and external agencies.

However, there are a number of things that you can at home to help support your child’s literacy:

1) Support your child’s reading

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

At 11 to 14 years of age your child may be too old for bedtime stories, but you can still help shape their reading habits. You can develop your child’s interest by:

– Encouraging them to read magazines, comics and newspapers as well as books;
– Buying books for presents – those that tie in to a favourite television show, pop band or computer game are often a hit;
– Reading together – try picking reading material on subjects you both enjoy like a sports team, music group or holiday destination;
– Reading the books or plays your child is studying in school and discussing what you’ve read with them;
– If you haven’t done so already, join the local lending library together.

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy

2) Support your child’s writing

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you”B. B King

– Encourage your child to plan all pieces of written work by creating a thought shower or mind map;
– Encourage your child to proof read work and self-correct;
– Encourage your child to use a dictionary and thesaurus to improve their written vocabulary;
– Encourage your child to keep in touch via email with friends they met on holiday;
– Engage in some fun word games with your child such as ‘Junior Scrabble’, ‘Count Down’ and ‘Word Snap’;
– Encourage your child to visit educational websites to help improve their grammar and writing skills (please see a list of useful websites below).

3) Literacy Programmes
There are a variety of Literacy programmes on offer in St. Mark’s High School. Each student will have a say in what programme they do so that it meets their interests and they have ownership of their reading material. Each year new novels are introduced to the programme so that students find the learning experience modern and enjoyable. The following Literacy programmes currently on offer are:

Roald Dahl
The Magic Finger
The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me
Esio Trot
The Twits
Fantastic Mr Fox

David Walliams
Grandpa’s Great Escape
Gangsta Granny
Demon Dentist
Awful Auntie

Francesca Simon
A variety of Horrid Henry programmes linked to the short Horrid Henry stories.

Michael Morpurgo
Billy the Kid
The Wreck of the Zanzibar
Farm Boy
Not Bad for a Bad Lad
Friend or Foe
Kensuke’s Kingdom
Little Manfred

Bali Rai
The Gun
What’s your problem?

Collins Collection
Lone Wolf
This Boy
Point Danger

Ted Hughes
The Iron Man

Joan Lingard
The 12th Day of July

Spelling Programme:
We offer a variety of computerised spelling programmes which are mapped to a student’s spelling age. In the after school spelling club there will be a number of students on different spelling programmes as they may have different spelling ages. This programme is made by Prim-Ed Publishing and it involves learning spellings through games and enjoyable Literacy activities such as word searches and crosswords.

BBC Educational Websites

BBC Bitesize – Reading for Key Stage 3
BBC Bitesize – Writing for Key Stage 3
BBC Bitesize – Speaking and Listening for Key Stage 3

4) Contact the Literacy Co-ordinator in School

If you need more help or advice on how to improve your child’s Literacy skills please email Mrs C Featherstone on cfeatherstone262@stmarks.warrenpoint.ni.sch.uk or contact Mrs Featherstone on the school telephone number: 02841753366. If you would like more information on the document ‘Count, Read: Succeed’ you can access this via the internet on www.deni.gov.uk.

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