At Toynbee School we believe that Literacy is a fundamental life skill. Literacy develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Literacy, of course, involves the ability to read and write; however, it also encompasses the capacity to recognise, reproduce and manipulate the conventions of a range of texts and a variety of modes. It is about being able to control, harness and utilise language. Literacy underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ abilities to speak, listen and communicate as well as think, organise and solve problems.
There are also new forms of literacy (on-screen literacy and moving image media) to consider, alongside the more traditional print literacy. The definition of what it means to be ‘literate’ is constantly changing, and it is our aim to equip children with the skills they need to be able to fully engage with the world around them. The world can be a very challenging place for young people today and literacy is one of the most vital and valuable tools they can possess when entering this world.
Literacy is also important because it enables pupils to gain access to the subjects studied in school, to read for information and pleasure, and to communicate successfully. Strong literacy skills enable pupils to read, understand and access examination materials, so that pupils are able to achieve their personal best across the curriculum. Therefore, at Toynbee, all departments and all teachers have a crucial role to play in supporting students’ literacy development. All our teachers are teachers of literacy. Our school is utterly committed to developing literacy skills in all of our pupils, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards across the curriculum.
In summary, improving literacy standards across the curriculum is vital because:
• pupils need vocabulary, expression and control over the written word to cope with the cognitive demands of all subjects;
• reading helps us to learn from sources beyond our immediate experience;
• writing helps us to sustain and order thought;
• language helps us to reflect on, revise and evaluate the things we do, and the
things others have said, written or done;
• responding to higher order questions encourages the development of thinking
skills and enquiry;
• literacy and learning can have an impact on pupils’ self-esteem, motivation
and behaviour. Literate students learn independently and deeply. Literacy is empowering.
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