Literacy is among the most important skills taught in Spa N.S. It is fundamental to every person’s ability to succeed in education, to gain fulfilling employment and to lead a satisfying and rewarding life. In Spa N.S. we view Literacy as much more than “reading and writing” Literacy includes the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media, and digital media. In Spa N.S., when we refer to “literacy” we mean this broader understanding of the skill, including speaking and listening, as well as communication using not only traditional writing and print but also digital media.
From September 2012 to June 2013 the staff chose to focus on Literacy in Spa N.S. for our school self-evaluation. We completed a self-evaluation report on literacy in June 2013 and devised a school improvement plan that was completed in September 2013.
Spa N.S.'s main strengths in Literacy (identified during S.S.E. process)
- Standardised Test and individual class test results highlight a very high standard of attainment in literacy already in Spa N.S.
- Over 90% of our students score above the 51% in standardised literacy tests.
- Teaching staff are eager and committed to further development of literacy standards in the school.
- Member of In School Management team has agreed to act as the literacy link teacher.
- There is good parental support for the further development of literacy standards in the school.
- Pupil & Parental Survey1) 86% of parents believe that their children like to read regularly for pleasure
2) 94% of parents believe that their child displays a good understanding of what he / she reads.
3) 65% of parents believe that their child like to and are capbale of discussing confidently the content of the material they’re reading.
4) 91% of parents believe that their child’s written work in English is checked with appropriate frequency.
5) 76% of parents would listen to their child read every night.
6) 92% of students enjoy the literacy work they do in class.
- Spa N.S. has many organised reading initiatives to encourage reading – Paired reading, DEAR, shared reading, book week and visits to Library.
- Text books are carefully chosen. Commercial products are used with close reference to Curriculum Objectives
- Variety of Assessment tools used throughout the school. Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning
- Print rich environment – lots of sight vocabulary
- Strong emphasis on spiral phonics in lower classes
- Good variety of reading texts used.
- Diagnostic and standardised tests administered.
- The process of writing is fostered and children write for real purposes.
- Draft, edit redrafting is used in the writing process.
- A variety of writing genres are taught in the senior classes.
- Children are given opportunities to write and display stories and poetry for inter school competitions.
Areas for development/improvement (identified during S.S.E. process)
- List of methodologies/websites to assist in the teaching of phonics throughout the school to be compiled.
- The ‘Look, Say, Cover, Write Check method to be used to introduce all new spellings. Spellings to be assessed using dictation sentences.
- The ‘Five Components of Oral Language’ to be incorporated into class lessons. 30 minutes of discrete oral language to be timetabled every week.
- Full review of all reading material available at each class level. Sets of novels to be purchased for class use.
- Centralised Reading Zone to be established in the resource room.
- Whole School Shared Reading programme to be developed further. 10 minute DEAR sessions to be used as much as possible.
- Specific comprehension strategies from ‘Building Bridges of Understanding’ to be allocated to each class level.
- Each class to participate in one six week block of guided reading.
- Allocated writing genres to be taught in line with the First Steps Writing Programme.
- 30 minutes Free Writing sessions to be used as often as possible.
- Whole school scheme in the teaching of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation to be finalised.
- All classes to follow the agreed cursive handwriting style.
- Develop ICT facilities in the school resource to facilitate literacy development
Please note that copies of the School Self Evaluation Report in Literacy 2013 and School Improvement Plan in Literacy 2013 are available in the school secretary’s office.