The opportunity to apply for a specialist responsibility in supporting literacy development has arisen in your educational environment. For your interview you have been asked to prepare information to show that you can:
Literacy means the ability to read and write. Only recently has the word ‘literacy’ been applied as the definitive term for reading and writing, mostly since the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy in schools. The skills of reading and writing complement each other and develop together, it therefore makes sense to use the term ‘literacy’. Reading and writing are forms of communication based on the spoken language. Effective speaking and listening skills are essential in order to develop literacy skills. The progression of literacy skills is a vital aspect of development and learning. Without the ability to read, write and listen children and young people may not be able to function effectively in school, college, university or at work or communicate with others about their ideas and participate fully and safely in the community.
Literacy enables children and young people to express themselves creatively and productively. The majority of jobs and careers rely on an element of basic literacy (and numeracy) skills. Literacy is required in our everyday lives, to keep us safe by being able to read signs and follow instructions, read directions, reading newspapers, recipes, food labels, dealing with household finances. Literacy also enables us to progress with technology by being able use computers competently, surfing the internet and being able to read and write emails. As the heart of all learning lies the two key skills, literacy and numeracy. Literacy is possibly the more important of both skills as children and young people need literacy in order to access further curriculum areas, e.g in order to approach a numeracy problem, the question needs to be read and understood before the answer can begin to be found.
The development of literacy is important from an early age for all children and young people. As Teaching Assistants it is likely that we will be supporting children and young people with communication difficulties or other Special Educational Needs which could have an impact on their literacy skills, a situation may also arise where English is not the first language. It is important that children and young people are encouraged to explore the way the English language works, e.g phonics for vocabulary, reading, writing and spelling. This will enable children and young people to gain knowledge to be able to read, write and spell confidently.
The learning objectives are associated to 12 strands in literacy to demonstrate progression in each strand. The strands are as follows:- Speak and listen for a wide range of purposes in different contexts
2. Listening and responding
3. Group discussion and interaction
Read and write for a range of purposes on paper and on screen 5. Word recognition: decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling)
6. Word Structure and spelling
7. Understanding and interpreting texts
8. Engaging and responding to texts
9. Creating and shaping texts
10. Text structure and organisation
11. Sentence structure and punctuation
Within my setting we aim to encourage children and young people to be able read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, to be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to monitor their read and be able to correct their own mistakes. To understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately, have fluent, legible and cursive handwriting. To have an interest in words and their meanings and a growing vocabulary. To know, understand and be able to write a number of genres in fiction and poetry, understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through basic literacy ideas of setting, character and plot. The ability to understand, use and be able to write a range of non-fiction texts, plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing, have a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading and writing.
Children are encouraged to be interested in books, read with enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences. Develop their own powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness through reading and writing. In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) – Children and young people should be given the opportunity to speak, listen and represent ideas in their activities. Use communication, language and English in every part of the curriculum and to become immersed in an environment rich in print and possibilities for communication. All Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) – Children and young people should learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They should begin to read and write independently (using phonic knowledge) and with enthusiasm. They should be using language to explore their own experiences and imaginary words. All Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) – Children and young people should learn to change the way they speak and write to suit appropriate situations, purposes and audiences.
They should read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They should explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how the structure of language works. Intervention groups are offered in speaking, reading, writing and listening to those children and young people who are under-attaining and booster groups for the more able. Where the pupils performance is significantly below average we will seek specialist provision such as speech therapy, EAL programmes and reading recovery will be accessed as needed. In Key stages 1 and 2, English sessions use the National Strategy unit plans (our own versions) focusing on shared reading, shared and guided writing and producing sustained outcomes. Further lessons are also used for focused activities in phonics, guided reading and comprehension. In Key Stage 1 there is a daily phonics session, daily guided reading and English lesson. There is one discrete handwriting session each week. In addition to this, there is also a slot used for the development of speaking and listening and the class story. In lower Key Stage 2 there is also a daily phonics session, four guided reading sessions and a daily English lesson. There is one discrete handwriting session every fortnight.
Additionally there is also a slot used for the development of speaking and listening and the class story. In upper Key Stage 2 there is a daily phonics/spelling session, four guided reading sessions and a daily English lesson. There is one discrete handwriting session every fortnight. Additional there is a slot used for the development of speaking and listening and the class story. The monitoring and evaluation of the English policy is the responsibility of the English co-ordinator who is responsible to the head teacher and the governors for the development of English throughout the school.
This is to be achieved in a variety of ways: Regular discussions with staff concerning the progress of groups and individuals Involvement in long and medium term planning across the school in English Regular classroom observation and working alongside colleagues to help identify strengths and weaknesses, to provide support to individual staff where appropriate Regular monitoring of resources, planning and children’s work Reviewing of assessment outcomes and data to evaluate the quality of learning in English throughout the school. Checking that within a key stage there is coverage of the full English curriculum in line with national curriculum requirements, the early learning goals and current National Primary Framework objectives (where used) Checking that appropriate opportunities to raise multicultural and gender issues are created and taken Ensure that the time spent on the teaching of English is meeting our pupils needs Literacy Lessons are the same time each day, after morning break time. They are broken down into phonics and spelling, guided reading and English. The lesson starts at 10.45 and finishes at 12.30pm. The children start by gathering on the carpet area to be given an overview of what is happening in the day’s lesson.
As a Teaching Assistant a discussion would have taken place with the Class Teacher prior to the lesson taking place to establish the lesson plan and what is expected of you for the lesson. Some Teaching Assistants may have been involved with elements of planning a lesson and able to give their own ideas as to how is the best way to carry out activities. It may be that you work with a designated group of children who have development issues and require more attention. It is important that the Teaching Assistant works together with the class teach to monitor the progress of pupils in all areas of literacy development. This will usually ensure that the children and young people are focused and able to meet the learning objectives. Some pupils will require more encouragement to participate than others through the use of praise and feedback, whilst identifying any concerns or problems they may have.
Monitoring of the children and young people also involves the relaying of information to the Class Teacher in respect of learning objectives and feedback as to how the tasks were managed and how to achieve their goals going forwards. We also carry out intervention activities in my setting where a group of children are taken out of the lesson by a Teaching Assistant to carry out some additional literacy activities to concentrate on tasks such as sounds of letter groups, reading sessions and basic spellings to help improve their literacy development. There are also groups of children who are taken out of lessons 3 times a week to carry out additional reading activities to help improve their reading skills.
In our classrooms, we also use a ‘working wall display’ to show the key learning objectives for the terms activities and the pupils are able to use this to assist with their learning independently. Within my setting we also have a reading partners lesson on a Thursday morning where year groups visit other class rooms and read with each other, e.g Year 4 read with reception, Year 3 read with year 1 and year 2 with year 5. This gives children and young people to the chance to gain confidence in reading and speaking in front of other children who are of a different age and more developed.
Burnham,L, Baker,B (2010) Level 3 Diploma Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary). Harlow. Heinemann part of Pearson
Burnham,L(2002) Brilliant Teaching Assistant. Prentice Hall
Kamen, T (2008) 2nd Edition Teaching Assistants Handbook NVQ & SVQ Levels 2 &
3. Maidstone. Hodder Education
Primary School Literacy Curriculum Policy overview