Empowering Through Literacy - Unveiling the Significance of Literacy
A deficiency in essential literacy skills acts as a barrier throughout one's journey. During childhood, it hampers success in school; as a young adult, it locks access to job opportunities; and as a parent, it hinders the ability to foster a child's learning. This cycle spans generations, impeding social mobility and equitable societies.
For those grappling with low literacy, a world of limitations arises: an inability to read books, interpret road signs, comprehend price labels, decipher transportation schedules, complete forms, comprehend medicine instructions, or navigate the digital realm.
Moreover, this situation bears economic consequences for the UK. A staggering £2.5 billion is spent annually (KPMG, 2009) due to low literacy's impact on economic competitiveness. Astonishingly, one-third of businesses express dissatisfaction with young recruits' literacy skills, leading to additional expenditures for remedial training.
But what exactly is literacy? What does it truly entail to be literate?
Literacy surpasses mere reading and writing. It encompasses the capacity to articulate thoughts, convey ideas clearly, engage in dialogues, challenge perspectives, and critically engage with diverse texts both within and beyond academic realms. Being literate equips individuals to navigate the curriculum and the wider world, nurturing a profound ability to understand and interact with a multitude of textual landscapes.
Elevate Literacy: We are committed to infusing literacy throughout our curriculum by continuously refining our educational frameworks. Our staff undergo comprehensive training in cutting-edge literacy techniques and resources to ensure a holistic approach.
Vocabulary Mastery: We empower our students to tackle progressively intricate vocabulary across all subjects by delving into etymology (affixes) and morphology (the anatomy of words) within every discipline. This imparts them with the tools to confidently decipher nuanced language.
Cultivating Reading Passion: Our library stands as an ever-evolving treasure trove, housing the latest literary gems and renowned authors. This perpetually renewed collection aims to ignite and sustain a love for reading amongst our students.
Enhancing Comprehension: We guide our students to develop robust comprehension, summarisation, and inference skills through dynamic classroom activities. These exercises are strategically designed to complement their in-class learning.
Empowering Oracy: We are steadfast in nurturing oracy abilities throughout all disciplines. This ensures that students can articulate astute answers in each subject, engage in discussions, partake in debates, and respectfully challenge perspectives on a spectrum of topical subjects.
With these objectives at our core, we are dedicated to fostering an educational environment that equips students with the essential skills to flourish academically and holistically.
Embracing the Gift of Reading - Reading for pleasure is akin to receiving a treasure. It transports us across time and space, enabling us to step into the shoes of others. As Atticus Finch wisely stated, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
The act of reading not only entertains but also nurtures empathy and broadens understanding. It exposes us to diverse places, cultures, and eras, cultivating an expansive world view. Our mission is to cultivate an enduring passion for reading, achieved by curating a thought-provoking, multifaceted selection of books and magazines.
At Gable Hall, the cultivation of a reading feaver stands as a core tenet of our literacy philosophy. Anchored at the heart of our school, our library creates a haven of safety, welcome, and inspiration for all pupils. Lunchtime conversations often meld with the exploration of our extensive, top-tier book collection, or the engagement in an assortment of board games.
As the sun rises, our library doors swing open with the cherished "Hot Chocolate Club," inviting pupils to indulge in complimentary hot cocoa and biscuits while perusing our array of magazines and books – an exquisite way to commence the day. The library's vibrancy doesn't wane with the sunset; post-school hours are abuzz with an array of clubs and activities tailored to diverse interests, as elucidated in our ever-evolving Library Schedule and Events Calendar.
Rooted in our commitment, each KS3 form immerses in the library for at least one session every half term. Guiding them through this literary journey is our librarian, who not only assists in book selections but also fosters active discussions and shared reading, nurturing a culture of engaged exploration.
Literacy, Form Time and ‘Drop Everything And Read’ - The library is not the only place where books and reading are discussed. Each week, a new ‘Recommended Book’ is shared and discussed in forms; the range of books recommended is diverse, including: multi-cultural titles and authors, classics, non-fiction including self-help and autobiographies and new titles and authors.
DEAR is central to our reading culture. Every form across KS3, has a book box which is regularly updated. Each form has a weekly reading session and at the end of every half term a bespoke DEAR activity forms the basis of group discussions about a range of books. See our DEAR folder for the sessions covered so far this year.
Across KS3, weekly literacy activities are a focal point for form discussions and activities. Every week form groups discuss our ‘Prefix of the Week’ as part of our commitment to help pupils decode challenging vocabulary. Learning the meanings of parts of words – prefixes and suffixes – is essential when trying to work out the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary.
Discussion of prefixes and suffixes is continued throughout the curriculum as departments teach key words through their etymological roots.
Empowering Expression: Oracy at Gable Hall - Empowering our students to discover and project their voices lies at the heart of our instructional approach across the curriculum. We uphold the principle of "Talking a Good Answer" as a precursor to penning down thoughts. Our commitment is to provide students with the tools to articulate their ideas with clarity and confidence.
We achieve this through structured practices, such as granting students valuable "thinking time" and fostering an environment that encourages the exploration and exchange of possible theories and responses. These methodologies underscore our dedication to fostering individual growth by enabling students to cultivate well-considered answers prior to contributing to whole-class discussions or theorising.
By nurturing oracy skills, we equip our students to become not just adept writers, but also articulate and expressive communicators, ensuring their ideas resonate powerfully both within and beyond the classroom.
Our key strategies include:
- Thinking time:
- Turn and Talk:
- Critical Thinking Phrases:
- Talking a Good Answer:
How can you support our mission to encourage a love of reading within every child?
“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. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. 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: Human Rights Campaigner and seventh Secretary General of the United Nations