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mmu nqt conference 1 8 th january approaches to literacy
MMU - NQT Conference 18th January Approaches to Literacy

To be literateis to gain a voice and to participate meaningfully and assertively in decisions that affect one’s life. To be literate is to gain self-confidence. To be literate is to become self-assertive …Literacy enables people to read their own world and to write their own history…Literacy provides access to written knowledge – and knowledge is power. In a nutshell, literacy empowers.

Y Kassam‘Who benefits from Literacy? Literacy and Empowerment’ in The challenge of illiteracy: from reflection to action, Garland Publishing, New York, 1994



…is the primary cause of

academic failure


Low vocabulary

is the primary cause of

academic failure.


What percentage of men and women with low literacy skills have never received a promotion, once in employment?


Men = 63%

Women = 75%


What percentage of 5-8 year olds read a book every day?

What percentage of 15-17 year olds read a book every day?


30% of 5-8 year olds read a book every day?

17% of 15-17 year olds read abook every day?


Of the number of school age prisoners currently in custody, what percentage have the literacy and numeracy levels of an average 7 year old?


Of the number of school age prisoners currently in custody, 26% have the literacy and numeracy levels of an average 7 year old.


Of the number of 18-20 year old prisoners currently in custody, what percentage have not attended school beyond the age of 13?


Of the number of 18-20 year old prisoners currently in custody, 75% have not attended school beyond the age of 13.

focusing on lac
Focusing on LAC?

In response to the revised Ofsted framework

Revised Teacher Standards from 2012

Literacy can be a barrier to achievement in the Ebaccsubjects

Literacy as a barrier to achieving the KS4 floor standards

Changes to GCSE – increased focus on the quality of written communication

The pupil premium – more able pupils


Revised Teacher Standards, 2012

A teacher must:

‘Demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject.’


HMCI, 15.3.12

HMCI, 15th March 2012

‘Improving standards of literacy must be a priority for all our schools….but what does this mean in practice? It means being passionate about high standards of literacy for every single pupil and creating a no-excuses culture for both pupils and staff.’

‘Strong leadership is the key to improving literacy.’

‘The best nurseries, schools and colleges ensure all their young people develop good literacy skills, regardless of their background. They set high standards for every single learner, ensure their teaching is always good or better and intervene when underachievement takes place.’

Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI.

ofsted september 2012
Ofsted September 2012


The teaching of reading , writing and communication is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum. ( Outstanding)

Reading, writing , communication and mathematics are taught effectively (good)

Teaching is likely to be inadequate where any of the following apply:

  • Pupils cannot communicate , read, write or apply mathematics as well as they should .
ofsted september 20121
Ofsted September 2012


  • Pupils read widely and often across all subjects.
  • Pupils develop and apply a wide range of skills to great effect, in reading, writing and communication and mathematics. They are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment. (Outstanding)
  • Pupils’ communication skills (including reading and / or writing) … are not sufficiently strong for them to succeed in the next stage of education, training, or employment (Inadequate)
ofsted september 20122
Ofsted – September 2012

Overall effectiveness:

  • There is excellent practice which ensures that all pupils have high levels of literacy appropriate to their age. (Outstanding)
  • Pupils’ progress is not held back by an inability to read accurately and fluently. Those pupils who have fallen behind are being helped to make rapid progress in their reading(Good)
  • The school is likely to be inadequate if any of the following are inadequate:

Pupils’ progress in literacy ….

reading strategies
Reading Strategies
  • Activate prior knowledge
  • Ask questions
  • Empathise
  • Read backwards and forwards
  • Infer and deduce
  • Predict
  • Visualise

Developing and sharing the vision:

  • Some considerations:
  • Does your school have a clear vision for the development of literacy?
  • How has that vision been developed and communicated?
  • Are all teachers and support staff clear about the vision or focus for literacy? Could you/they articulate answers to the 5Ws in relation to the vision?
  • (5Ws - what the vision is; where they are heading; why the vision is necessary; who is doing what; how the vision will be achieved)

Sharing current practice: Reading

What does your school already do to develop pupils’ reading skills both in and out of the classroom?

Share a strategy on your table – one where there is consistency in practice/approach.

What impact has it had?

spelling strategies
Spelling Strategies

Word Web





















diner/dinner, writing/written




















Spelling Strategies

Try your own word webs using the following words:-

  • biology
  • equilateral
  • democracy
  • microscope
  • pentathlete
  • thermometer

You might find it useful to have an etymological dictionary handy if you do this in class, for fielding unexpected roots!


Spelling Strategies

  • Break into sounds (d-i-a-r-y)
  • Break into syllables (re-mem-ber)
  • Break into affixes (dis + satisfy)
  • Use a mnemonic (one collar two sleeves) necessary
  • Refer to word in the same family (muscle –muscular)
  • Say it as it sounds (Wed-nes-day)
  • Words within words (Parliament – I AM parliament)
  • Refer to etymology (bi + cycle = two + wheels)
  • Use analogy (bright, light, night, etc)
  • Use a key word
  • Apply spelling rules
  • Learn by sight (look – cover – write - check)
  • Visual memory (look-cover-write-check)
steps to improvement
Steps to Improvement

Step Two:

  • Conduct a thorough audit of the current literacy provision in your school.
  • What is working well? What needs to improve?
  • How will you find the effective literacy practice that already exists?
  • What can your students do well? What are the skills they need to develop?
  • Does your data provide information on students’ literacy skills?
  • Can you identify which groups of students are doing well and those that are underachieving?
  • How can you use student voice to ensure your students have their say?
  • Does your curriculum ensure that all your students make good progress?
  • Step Three:
  • Embedding quality assurance into development planning. Identify quality assurance procedures for any literacy development work planned.
  • What are your short, medium and long term goals regarding the development of literacy across the curriculum?
  • How will you know the planned literacy development work is having a positive impact on learning?
  • Who will ensure that the literacy work is embedded in your whole-school development plan?
ofsted report march 2011
Ofsted report: March 2011
  • What does the school need to do to improve further?
  • Improve the student’s literacy and oracy skills by:
  • Developing the use of subject specific vocabulary in every subject
  • Consistently encouraging students to articulate their thinking and explain their answers
  • Ensuring that all classroom environments promote literacy skills
monitor and evaluate impact
Monitor and evaluate impact
  • How will you monitor and evaluate literacy development as part of your existing improvement cycle?
  • How will you know that pupils’ skills are developing?
  • How will you know pedagogy and practice is improving? Can you use your existing lesson observation cycle?
  • Who will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation process and feeding back to stakeholders?
  • Who will be involved in reviewing and planning ahead for the following year?
  • What actions will be taken when an area of literacy development fails to achieve the performance indicator?
  • Have you taken into account all success factors when reviewing progress?
  • Review: Remember, literacy development is never complete. Re-consider each stage of the literacy development cycle annually to ensure that you continue to meet the literacy needs of your learners.
next steps
Next Steps
  • Strategies from today I could use?
  • Next steps in school:
    • Short term
    • Medium term
  • Future networking?