Literacy support

At Cowes Enterprise College we are committed to promoting whole school literacy across all year groups in order to support their learning and raise standards.

Literacy underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ ability to: speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. We know helping students to express themselves clearly orally and in writing enhances and enriches teaching and learning in all subjects.

We are committed to developing literacy skills in all our students, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards in all subject areas. Language is the prime medium through which students learn and express themselves across the curriculum, and all teachers have a stake in effective literacy.

We promote high standards of literacy across the curriculum and one way of doing this is through a standardised, video approach to five key strands of literacy. We call it FEAST.

  • Full sentences
  • Formal standard English
  • Active listening
  • Sentence starters
  • Technical (tier 3) vocabulary

We support students with their reading by:

  • Ensuring students have opportunities to read in English lessons as part of our mastery curriculum
    Using our tutors as role models to express enthusiasm and passion for reading
  • Every tutor group (Year 7 -11) having three tutor times per week dedicated to reading
  • Using data from reading assessments at key transition points to identify students who need additional reading support – this could be buddy reading for example.
  • Providing literacy boosting support for struggling readers through our Oasis support team
    Supporting and training teachers to effectively use reading data and apply that to their subject specialism

You can support your child with reading by:

  • Encouraging your child to read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Encouraging your child to make predictions about the book they are reading
  • Take them to local libraries or bookshops and encourage them to select books they are interested in
  • Ensure your child’s book is appropriate for their ability – too challenging will put them off and too easy may not be rewarding
  • Read yourself. It is helpful if children see their parents reading
  • Audio books could be used to help create interest in an author and improve creativity and imagination
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to express views on the text e.g. plot, setting, mood and character
  • Identify language devices a writer uses e.g. adjectives, similes and metaphors
  • Research the context of the novel e.g. World War Two, the Victorian era or a particular culture or country

We support students with their writing by:

  • Identifying the technical vocabulary for every scheme of learning/topic and ensuring they are available either as a list for exercise books or displayed in lessons
  • Supporting students with the use of accurate SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar)
  • Rewarding high standards of presentation in exercise books
  •  Promoting strategies in every subject to encourage and support students who struggle to write
  • Providing literacy support for struggling writers through Oasis (as for reading)

You can support your child with writing by:

  • Ask to see their exercise books regularly and ask them about what they are doing
  • Aid them in correcting spelling errors
  • Encourage your child to improve their vocabulary by selecting different words to enhance their range. Admit any spelling difficulties of your own but encourage an inquisitive approach by looking words up online
  • Encourage your child to learn challenging spellings especially technical academic language

We support students with their speaking by:

  • Working with Oracy21 and have staff taking part in the Oracy Leaders Programme to benchmark our school against challenging criteria for excellent oracy
  • We have a set of five agreed strategies all teachers will use in all subjects to support speaking
  • Always using full sentences
  • Promoting the use of formal standard English
  • Actively listening to the teacher and peers
  • Supporting students by using sentence starters
  • Using and promoting technical vocabulary to support students in accessing academic text and to speak in the manner their subject requires
  • We are developing a culture of debating across the school           
  • We dedicate time each term in tutor time to discussion and presentations as part of the student Charter

You can support your child with speaking:

  • When your child comes home try talking to them about their day and the things they have been doing.  You can also try the websites listed below for guidance. The websites include activities for your child and information and advice for parents. Try to use “open questions” that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead of “Did you have a good day?” try asking “What was the best part of your day today?” This will encourage your child to share more information about their school day
  • Talking with others is a great way to develop vocabulary; the more we talk, the more we pick up on different words that other people may use
  • Encourage your child to talk and share their opinions
  • Encourage your child to talk to people of all ages, they could read aloud to younger siblings, explaining the story as they go or sit with grandparents and older relatives and talk about their own experiences in life