Literacy at St Peters

In order to engage successfully with the secondary school curriculum, adolescent learners must have a range of literacy abilities to allow them to connect with each subject or learning area for a range of purposes. As students move through secondary school, the texts that they engage with become more complex, the concepts and ideas become more abstract, and the purposes for reading and writing become more specialised. The vocabulary that students encounter throughout secondary school becomes increasingly specialised, technical and subject-specific.

In addition, today’s adolescents are immersed in a world of complex digital media environments that require skills in navigation, comprehension, analysis and evaluation across multiple sources. The array of information available to students is vast, and the literacy skills and knowledge required to use that information are increasingly complex. This means that the literacy skills and knowledge that students obtained at primary school will not be sufficient to see them through secondary school, and that literacy learning needs to be ongoing.

The literacy programme that we offer at St. Peter’s Catholic Academy is not only individualised to specific pupils’ needs but it is also embedded across our whole school curriculum. We aim to have a positive reading culture that celebrates the enjoyment of reading. Every pupil is issued a reading book and they are given access to the school library during English lessons. Time is allocated simply for reading during English lessons and during form time. We feel that it is extremely important that every child has a love of reading so that they are able to develop their learning skills.

Across the curriculum, every child is given many opportunities to read using a technique called ‘control the game’. This is harvesting an increased engagement in lessons whilst developing the pupils’ confidence when reading in front of their peers. Furthermore, pupils are explicitly taught key vocabulary throughout every lesson. A vocabulary dictionary is provided within the pupils’ planner where they can record key words. Time is further given for a more detailed view of specific words. Pupils will then be able to use the key words in their own writing.

For our pupils that need a little extra help with literacy, we are proud to offer an extensive range of pathways depending on each child’s needs. We can help with phonics through the Mature Instruction Programme or aid with improving a pupil’s reading age through the reciprocal reading programme. Further, we are able to offer handwriting support on a small group basis. Each pathway is already proving a success as we are beginning to see pupils graduate from their pathways!