LITERACY ACROSS THE
The application of this policy and procedure ensures that no employee receives less
favourable treatment on grounds of sex, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, religion or
belief, marital status, civil partnership status, age, race, colour, nationality, national origin,
ethnic origin, disability, part time status or trade union activities.
POLICY AGREED BY __________________________________________________ DATE _____________
POLICY REVIEW DATE ________________________________________________________________________
VERSION 1 – JULY 2012
Aims of the three Language modes 4
Speaking and Listening 4
Speaking and Listening 6
Assessing Literacy Across the Curriculum 9
Implementation of Policy 10
Monitoring and Evaluation 10
Roles and Responsibilities 11
Key Priorities for 2010/2011 11
Appendix 1: Subject Audit 12
Appendix 2: Speaking and Listening Advice 14
Appendix 3: Text Types and Writing Frames 18
Literacy underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ abilities to
speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to
learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. Helping students to
express themselves clearly orally and in writing enhances and enriches
teaching and learning in all subjects. All departments and all teachers have a
crucial role to play in supporting students’ literacy development.
The aims of this policy document are to:
support students’ learning in all subjects by helping teachers to be
clear about the ways in which their work with students contributes
to the development of students’ communication skills;
develop a shared understanding between all staff of the role of
language in students’ learning and how work in different subjects
can contribute to and benefit from the development of students’
ability to communicate effectively;
recognise that language is central to students’ sense of identity,
belonging and growth;
raise students’ own expectations of achievement, thus raising
develop students’ confidence and self-expression;
promote knowledge and understanding of the students’ standards
of achievement and assessment in speaking and listening, writing
and reading, and the identification of any areas of strength and
AIMS OF THE THREE LANGUAGE MODES
Although the following is divided into three sections, Speaking and Listening,
Reading and Writing, we recognise that the three language modes are
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Talk is our main means of communication in everyday life and is fundamental
to the development of understanding.
We want our students to develop increasing confidence and competence in
speaking and listening so that they are able to:
clarify and express their ideas and explain their thinking;
adapt their speech to a widening range of circumstances including
paired and group discussions and speaking to a larger audience;
use varied and specialised vocabulary;
speak for a range of purposes e.g. to narrate, to analyse, to
explain, to reflect and evaluate;
listen with understanding and respond sensitively and appropriately.
We want our students to enjoy reading, to be able to use their reading to help
them learn and to develop increasing confidence and competence in
reading so that they are able to:
read fluently, accurately and with understanding;
become independent and critical readers and make informed and
select information from a wide range of texts and sources including
print, media and ICT and to evaluate those sources;
apply techniques such as skimming, scanning, and text-marking
effectively in order to research and appraise texts.
Many lessons include and depend on written communication. We want our
students to develop increasing confidence and competence in writing so that
they are able to:
write in a widening variety of forms for different purposes e.g. to
interpret, evaluate, explain, analyse and explore;
develop ideas and communicate meaning to a reader using wide-
ranging and technical vocabulary and an effective style,
organising and structuring sentences grammatically and whole
present their writing clearly using accurate punctuation, correct
spelling and legible handwriting;
apply word processing conventions and understand the principles
of authoring multi-media text.
Successful implementation of this policy is dependent upon the extent to
take account of the needs of all students, with regard to ethnicity,
gender, ability and social and cultural factors
value students’ language achievements including those in
languages other than English and dialects other than standard
English (SEE APPENDIX ONE );
structure lessons appropriately in ways that support and stimulate
language development and show how learning objectives for
students are to be achieved;
recognise how resources will be organised and used to support this
monitor and evaluate the impact of common goals and clear,
shared expectations of students’ developing ability to talk, read
and write effectively and, specifically, establish whether targets
have been achieved.
IMPLEMENTATION OF SPEAKING AND LISTENING
In our teaching we should provide planned opportunities across the
curriculum for students to engage in purposeful talk, both formally
In planning for talk we should consider pace and timing so that
purposeful talk is maintained.
Whilst teacher exposition is essential we should take account of
demands on concentration to ensure that students are required to
listen for realistic lengths of time.
We should give students regular opportunities to speak and listen in
the following contexts:
o in pairs with a working partner;
o in small groups with opportunities to take on the roles of chair
o with the teacher or another adult;
o in whole class discussions;
o presentations to a wider audience;
In these contexts some of the following activities should take place:
o exploring and describing events, activities and problems,
exploring and developing ideas with others;
o reporting back to a wider audience in order to consolidate
ideas and understanding;
o asking questions as well as answering them;
o speculating, hypothesising and imagining;
o planning, organising and reviewing activities;
o investigating and solving problems collaboratively;
o evaluating experiences and reflecting on learning;
o talking at length and adopting the ‘expert’ role.
IMPLEMENTATION OF READING
We should use available data on students’ reading levels in order to
make informed choices about appropriate texts and to plan
appropriate support for pupils in order that they may successfully
access texts. (see Appendix Two).
We should take opportunities to demonstrate pleasure in reading.
We should make opportunities both in lessons and in tutorial times
for students and teachers to share their reading experiences.
We should provide planned opportunities across the curriculum for
o read and follow written instructions;
o read and engage with narratives of events or activities;
o follow up their interests and read texts of varying lengths;
o question and challenge printed information and views;
o read with understanding descriptions of processes, structures
o read and explore ideas and theories;
o learn how to sift and select, and take notes from text and
read to locate and relocate information;
o learn how to scan for overall meaning and scan for key
points, words and phrases;
o use reading to research and investigate from printed words
and moving images ICT texts.
IMPLEMENTATION OF WRITING
We should draw attention to the purpose and intended readers of
each piece of writing. Whilst the audience for students’ writing is
often teacher and peer group, students should be encouraged to
write for a range of intended readers. For example, writing to
explain a scientific principle to a younger audience, writing
guidance for peers on an aspect of the subject, writing to agencies
to elicit information or to express a viewpoint.
We should pay close attention to writing as a learning tool as well
as a product of the learning.
We should help students to appreciate the differences between
standard English and non-standard forms of the language.
We should help students to recognise the appropriate form for their
written responses so that they know when to respond in note form
and when more formal constructions are required.
We should limit the use of pre-structured writing e.g. copying,
sentence completion, sentence rearrangement.
We should provide planned opportunities across the curriculum for
o make notes from a variety of sources - printed word, moving
images and ICT texts;
o use writing to plan organise and record;
o write logs and journals in order to clarify thoughts and
develop new understanding;
o plan, draft, discuss and reflect on their writing;
o learn the conventions of different forms of writing in different
subject areas e.g. by using writing frames and providing clear
models for writing (see Appendix Three);
o write at appropriate length, sometimes briefly;
o write collaboratively with other students;
o present some writing for display or publication.
We should expect high standard of presentation in most of
students’ finished writing;
We should provide good models of particular kinds of writing;
We should provide dictionaries, glossaries and lists of appropriate
subject vocabulary and encourage students to use them;
help students to use a range of strategies to learn spellings,
o look – say – cover – write – check;
o making connections between words with the same visual
o exploring families of words.
We should aim to provide:
displays of reading material relevant to the topic or national
curriculum subject and of relevant vocabulary;
relevant material at appropriate levels of interest and difficulty and
from a range of text types;
reading material of high quality which is up to date, relevant, and
balanced in its presentation of ethnicity, culture and gender;
some texts in the first languages of pupils acquiring English as an
access to school and public libraries and to ICT sources of
access to appropriate audio visual equipment;
a classroom environment which is conducive to good literacy
ASSESSING LITERACY ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
When assessing students’ work across the curriculum we should
value their oral contributions and listening skills alongside their
reading and writing.
We should take into account students’ performance in speaking
and listening, reading and writing when assessing and reporting on
students’ progress in subject areas.
When setting writing tasks we should make explicit to the students
the key features of language which will be considered.
When responding to pupils’ work we should:
o make comments which are positive and supportive;
o target specific areas for improvement (a selective and
focussed identification of errors);
o give guidance on how to achieve the short-term targets set.
For example, whilst “improve your spelling” is unhelpful and
vague, the identification of a particular spelling error e.g.
doubling of letters before adding -ing is specific and
presents the student with a target which can be addressed;
o create opportunities for students to reflect on the quality of
their own work and for peer assessment.
IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY
In order to ensure that the introduction of a whole school literacy policy is
successful, the importance of the following activities should be recognised:
Carry out action planning and target setting.
Set up a literacy management group.
Audit existing literacy provision and review current support for
students with individual needs.
Provide guidance for subject teachers and form tutors on how they
can support students’ literacy development across the curriculum.
Establish assessment procedures to monitor and evaluate students’
Inform parents and governors of the high priority the school places
Raise the profile of literacy across the curriculum at the start of Year
7 e.g. introduce literacy diaries in which students can monitor their
literacy progress; these diaries could be used as part of tutor group
activities and a focus for review and guidance.
Arrange for subject and pastoral staff to visit local primary schools
and explore local literacy initiatives.
Establish close contact with primary schools and enhance bridging
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
We will make use of available data to assess the standards of pupils’ literacy.
Senior managers, the Head of English and the literacy co-ordinator, will decide
how to monitor progress in the school.
Possible approaches are:
sampling work – both pupils’ work and departmental schemes;
observation – pupil pursuit and literacy teaching;
scrutiny of development plans;
encouraging departments to share good practice by exhibiting or
exemplifying pupils’ work.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
LITERACY CO-ORDINATOR: supports departments in the implementation
of strategies and encourages departments to learn from each
other’s practice by sharing ideas.
SENIOR MANAGERS: lead and give a high profile to literacy;
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT: provide pupils with knowledge, skills and
understanding they need to read, write and speak and listen
TEACHERS ACROSS THE CURRICULUM: contribute to pupils’ development of
language, since speaking, listening, writing and reading are, to
varying degrees, integral to all lessons;
PARENTS: encourage their children to use the range of strategies they
have learnt to improve their levels of literacy;
PUPILS: take increasing responsibility for recognising their own literacy
needs and making improvements;
GOVERNORS: an identified governor could meet with staff and pupils
and report progress and issues to the governing body and to
parents in the governors’ annual report.
KEY PRIORITIES FOR 2010/2011
To explicitly teach Speaking and Listening skills with a view to
encouraging students to give detailed, precise and coherent
contributions to talk in a variety of different scenarios.
To explicitly teach Reading strategies that enable students access
the curriculum and research independently.
APPENDIX 1: Subject Audit of Applicable Literacy Skills
The three biggest barriers to learning in relation to literacy for this subject are:
The Skills that are applicable to ________________________ are:
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
ACTIVITY Year: 7 8 9 10 11
exploring and describing events, activities and problems,
exploring and developing ideas with others; □ □ □ □ □
reporting back to a wider audience in order to consolidate
ideas and understanding; □ □ □ □ □
asking questions as well as answering them; □ □ □ □ □
speculating, hypothesising and imagining; □ □ □ □ □
planning, organising and reviewing activities; □ □ □ □ □
investigating and solving problems collaboratively; □ □ □ □ □
evaluating experiences and reflecting on learning; □ □ □ □ □
talking at length and adopting the ‘expert’ role. □ □ □ □ □
in pairs with a working partner; □ □ □ □ □
in small groups with opportunities to take on the roles of
chair or scribe; □ □ □ □ □
with the teacher or another adult; □ □ □ □ □
in whole class discussions; □ □ □ □ □
presentations to a wider audience; □ □ □ □ □
READING YEAR: 7 8 9 10 11
read and follow written instructions; □ □ □ □ □
read and engage with narratives of events or activities; □ □ □ □ □
follow up their interests and read texts of varying lengths; □ □ □ □ □
question and challenge printed information and views; □ □ □ □ □
read with understanding descriptions of processes,
structures and mechanisms; □ □ □ □ □
read and explore ideas and theories; □ □ □ □ □
learn how to sift and select, and take notes from text and
read to locate and relocate information; □ □ □ □ □
learn how to scan for overall meaning and scan for key
points, words and phrases; □ □ □ □ □
use reading to research and investigate from printed
words and moving images, ICT texts. □ □ □ □ □
Writing to recount, □ □ □ □ □
Writing to report, □ □ □ □ □
Writing to explain, □ □ □ □ □
Writing to instruct, □ □ □ □ □
Writing to persuade □ □ □ □ □
Writing to discuss □ □ □ □ □
APPENDIX 2: SPEAKING AND LISTENING ADVICE SHEET
PRODUCTIVE TALK BEHAVIOURS
Making suggestions or introducing new ideas.
Supporting others’ suggestions by building upon them, clarifying them or
Challenging ideas so that others reflect upon their validity.
Reasoning or justifying ideas.
Asking questions to seek clarification and elaboration.
Summarising to move the discussion on.
Analysing and evaluating to make explicit the strengths and weaknesses
of own and others’ ideas.
TYPES OF TALK
EXPLAINING why, how or what to do
INSTRUCTING how to do
QUESTIONING checking on understanding
DESCRIBING what is going on or should go on
ANALYSING detailed examination of how an
EVALUATING describing strengths and
SPECULATING AND HYPOTHESISING possible ways of solving a
problem; suggestions to be tested
during an activity
REASONS AND CHARACTERISTICS FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF TALK
overall statement of purpose/location
suitable pace with repetition for clarity
sequencing marked by adverbials (phrases the perform the function of
use of either imperatives (commands) and/or second person
future tense and/or modal verbs occasionally used to help the listener
review to check understanding
clear exposition (statement of meaning or intent) achieved by
straightforward vocabulary and syntax (structure of a sentence)
staged and logical order, indicated by adverbials
clarification of technicalities
present tense, often second person and use of imperatives
monitoring of understanding
visual aids when appropriate
use of quotations
supporting evidence, statistical, tangible proof
illustrative examples, accounts of specific case, testimony
use of rhetorical devices such as exaggeration, alliteration, repetition,
balanced or contrasting couplets, lists in threes
jokes and comic anecdote
surprise/incongruity (when it doesn’t make sense)
exaggeration and strong verbal images
using a particular type of language in an inappropriate setting
TO ARGUE A CASE:
clear structure: opening premise, arguments to substantiate, and
use of discourse markers: e.g. firstly, furthermore, in conclusion
referring to opponents’ arguments to contrast own views
use of rhetorical questions
use of supporting evidence, statistics, facts, technical terms
use of examples, illustration, testimony
use of humour, sarcasm or irony
STRATEGIES FOR ORGANISING GROUP TALK
Easy to organise even in cramped classrooms. Ideal to promote high levels of
participation and to ensure that the discussions are highly focused, especially if allied
to tight deadlines. Use in the early stages of learning for pupils to recall work from a
previous lesson, generate questions, work together to plan a piece of writing, or to
take turns to tell a story. Use pairs to promote ‘response partners’ during the drafting
process, and to work as reading partners with an unfamiliar text. Ideal for quick-fire
reflection and review and for rehearsal of ideas before presenting them in the whole
PAIRS TO FOURS
Pupils work together in pairs – possibly friendship, possibly boy-girl, etc. Each pair then
joins up with another pair to explain and compare ideas.
Pupils work in groups of three. Each pupil takes on the role of talker, questioner or
recorder. The talker explains something, or comments on an issue, or expresses
opinions. The questioner prompts and seeks clarification. The recorder makes notes
and gives a report at the end of the conversation. Next time, roles are changed.
Once groups have carried out a task, one person from each group is selected as an
‘envoy’ and moves to a new group to explain and summarise, and to find out what
the new group thought, decided or achieved. The envoy then returns to the original
group and feeds back. This is an effective way of avoiding tedious and repetitive
‘reporting back’ sessions. It also puts a ‘press’ on the envoy’s use of language and
creates groups of active listeners.
Pairs discuss an issue, or brainstorm some initial ideas, then double up to fours and
continue the process, then into groups of eight in order to compare ideas and to sort
out the best or to agree on a course of action. Finally, the whole class is drawn
together and spokespersons for each group of eight feed back ideas. A useful
strategy to promote more public discussion and debate.
A way of ensuring that pupils are regrouped and learn to work with a range of
others. After small groups have discussed together, pupils are given a number or
colour. Pupils with the same number or colour join up, making groups comprising
representatives of each original group. In their new group pupils take turns to report
back on their group’s work and perhaps begin to work on a new, combined task.
A topic is divided into sections. In ‘home’ groups of four or five, pupils allocate a
section each, and then regroup into ‘expert’ groups. In these groups, experts work
together on their chosen area, then return to original ‘home’ groups to report back
on their area of expertise. The ‘home’ group is then set a task that requires the pupils
to use the different areas of ‘expertise’ for a joint outcome. This strategy requires
advance planning, but is a very effective speaking and listening strategy because it
ensures the participation of all pupils.
Each group appoints a spokesperson. The risks of repetition can be avoided if:
One group gives a full feedback, and others offer additional points only if
they have not been covered.
Each group is asked in turn to offer one new point until every group
Groups are asked to summarise their findings on A3 sheets which are then
displayed. The class is invited to compare and comment on them.
APPENDIX 3: TEXT TYPE AND WRITING FRAMES
The following outlines the characteristics of six different non-fiction genre – recount,
report, explanation, instruction, persuasion and discussion – as identified in the
training materials for the National Literacy Strategy: Reading and Writing for
SEE THE FOLLOWING PAGES
THE STRUCTURES AND LANGUAGE FEATURES OF SOME IMPORTANT TYPES OF
Purpose: to retell events
orientation – ‘scene setting’ opening, e.g. I went to the shop…
events – recount the events as they occurred, e.g. I saw a vase…
reorientation – a closing statement, e.g. When I got back I told my
Language features of recount:
written in the past tense, e.g. I went
in chronological order, using time connectives, e.g. then, next, after,
focus on individual or group participants, e.g. we, I
Purpose: to describe the way things are
an opening, general classification, e.g. Sparrows are birds.
more technical classification (optional), e.g. Their Latin name is…
a description of the phenomena, including some or all of its:
o qualities, e.g. Birds have feathers.
o Parts and their function, e.g. The beak is…
o habits/behaviour or uses, e.g. They nest in…
Language features of report:
written in the present tense, e.g. they nest
focus on generic participants (birds not a particular bird)
Purpose: to explain the processes involved in natural and social phenomena or
to explain how something works
general statement to introduce the topic, e.g. In the autumn some
a series of logical steps explaining how or why something occurs,
e.g. Because the hours of daylight shorten…
These steps continue until the final state is produced or the
explanation is complete
Language features of explanation:
written in the simple present tense, e.g. go
uses time connectives, e.g. then, next,
and/or casual connectives, e.g. because, so, this causes
Purpose: to instruct how something should be done through a series of
goal – a statement of what is to be achieved, e.g. How to make a
materials/equipment needed, e.g. 2 eggs, flour
sequenced steps to achieve the goal, e.g. Cream the sugar and
often there is a diagram or illustration.
Language features of instruction:
written in the imperative, e.g. “First you sift the flour”, or, “Sift the
in chronological order, e.g. first, next, after that
focus on generalised human agents rather than named individuals.
Purpose: to argue the case for a point of view
thesis – an opening statement, e.g. Vegetables are good for you
arguments – often in the form of point + elaboration, e.g. They
contain vitamins. Vitamin C is vital for…
reiteration – summary and restatement of the opening position, e.g.
We have seen that…so…
Language features of persuasion:
the simple present tense
focus mainly on generic participants (vegetables, not a particular
mainly logical rather than time connectives, e.g. this shows,
Purpose: to present arguments and information from differing viewpoints
statement of the issue + a preview of the main arguments
arguments for + supporting evidence
arguments against + supporting evidence
(alternatively, argument/counter argument, a point at a time)
recommendation - summary and conclusion
Language features of discussion:
the simple present tense
generic human (or non-human) participant
logical connectives, e.g. therefore, however
SAMPLE WRITING FRAME: DISCUSSION GENRE
There is a lot of discussion about whether
The people who agree with this idea such as ……………………………………
They also argue that
A further point they make is
However there are also strong arguments against this point of view.
………………… ………… believe that
They say that
Furthermore they claim that
After looking at the different points of view and the evidence for them I think