Literacy and numeracy are an extremely important part of everyday life and the 2 key subjects taught in school; Literacy is the basis of communication, Speaking & Listen, along with Reading and Writing. We speak to and listen to people all the time and we contact people we can’t speak to by letter or email. Then numeracy is in the very least the centre of problem solving; money handling; weighing and measuring along with handling data which we all do on a near daily basis, with activities such as: cooking, shopping and keeping check on our bills and bank account .
It is important that every child develops these skills as early on as possible so the foundations are there to build on as they get older. For the majority of children this should begin at home with family members talking as much as possible with them to encourage their speech and crayons to scribble and gradually inspire them to write their name etc. Parents can count things with them and sing counting songs to promote understanding of numbers and by the time a child starts school/pre-school they should be read to daily.
The aim is to make sure every student can effectively access literacy and numeracy from a young age as it will later be important across the curriculum. Regardless of their ability work should be tailored to meet their specific needs. It is also to promote numeracy and literacy skills in their everyday situations by introducing activities and events which are suitable to their requirements and cover the planned outcomes. All young people need to develop these abilities in order to progress in their learning and education as well as developing their life and social skills ready for most students to successfully gain employment and or to lead independent lives.
Numeracy is applied across the curriculum in several ways: In science and cooking, with the use of weights and measures, timing, problem solving and calculations, science also covers data handling and predictions along with the use of graphs. It is also promoted in activities such as shopping and using a cafe where students have to recognise money; calculate amounts; work out which coins they need and how much change should be given.
It is introduce in practical activities such as wood work where students plan and design something they will make, they measure wood, count screws and possibly use problem solving during the activity if it doesn’t go to plan. Students may be encouraged to grow plants, so they can measure and record growth along with plotting the recordings and showing this in a graph. They are encouraged to analyse the data and explain their findings. Other examples of numeracy across the curriculum are geography, history and PE.
Geography may be using graphs to see such things as rainfall through out a year or in different places, so reading and understanding data is required, and history may use numeracy by putting events in chronological date order and knowing which occurred fist etc. PE uses measurement in high jump, long jump, discuss, javelin and any other activity where distance or height need recording.
Numeracy skills involving money management, addition, subtraction, weights, area, space and measure will be implemented in daily life when shopping, paying bills, checking wages and bank account transactions, along with planning meals, cooking, decorating, ordering curtains, gardening and most DIY projects.
Literacy is more easily promoted across the curriculum as all lessons and activities involve speaking and listening which is generally the main form of communication, and most will involve reading and writing.
The majority of mainstream subjects implicate reading a text book, so good reading skills are essential. Many instructions for work to be completed are given orally and listening skills are required. Students need to be able to ask or answer questions verbally; higher order questioning may be used to ascertain knowledge and understanding and to provoke more independent thinking, so speaking and listening abilities are used here.
Good reading skills also help students with their spellings when writing which helps with presentation in every subject. Strong and confident reading and writing skills will enhance the student’s interpretation of exam papers and lead to better qualifications being gained at the end of their education. Our young people are encouraged to take part in verbal dialogue as much as possible, often prompted by questioning which should be aimed at the student’s level; this promotes their listening skills as well as their speaking.
Some students use PECs to communicate to other, but these students are still verbally and gesturally prompted to speak. Students are encouraged to ask for things they need, rather than it just being given to them, which is done to promote their communication capabilities. Literacy skills involving Speaking, listening, reading and writing will be implemented in everyday life when communicating, whether in a verbal conversation or via a social networking site, or in correspondences such as a letter or email.
In conclusion, numeracy and literacy are the basis to everyday life, so strong foundations need to be established as early as possible to ensure a strong structure to build up on, in order to develop the essential skills for a successful education and more importantly for the life skills we all require to maintain a good standard of independent living as adults. Every effort should be made to ensure all students develop the capability to communicate to the best of their ability as soon as possible, as this is crucial to the continued development of their learning, independence and their social skills, as well as an effective life after school.
The delivery of literacy and numeracy should enhance student’s confidence and individuality along with their personal and social skills. All outcomes, achievements and progress should be clearly recorded with indicators of the next step to be delivered to the young person. With the use of a personal learning plan work should be resourced to meet the level and needs of a student. Numeracy and literacy can be introduced in each subject or task at the appropriate level and often implemented in a practical manor if necessary.
Courtney from Study Moose
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