This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How do you teach literacy?!(15 Posts)
I realise you can read the title of this thread in two ways... How do you teach literacy... And how do you teach literacy...! I'm kind of asking both!
I've been a primary school teacher for 8 years (less a year off for each of my 2 children), but I still really struggle with the process of teaching literacy, specifically writing. Currently I'm in y3. Usually, I use a text to hang everything on... something short and accessible with a simple structure (linked to topic if appropriate) then do some word/sentence level work around it. Eventually I build up to children rewriting the text with some details changed (setting, characters, problem etc).
Suddenly I feel myself in a sort of panic about what to do and how to teach! It doesn't help that I only work 2 days at the moment so feel a bit 'out of control' and find it hard to build up to sustained writing.
I suppose what I'm asking is, what are people's experiences of teaching literacy? I find schools give very little support in terms of structure or resources, and I feel like asking for advice at this point in my career is a bit of a no no!
Any input/advice/people feeling the same welcome!x
Read and interpret a suitable text. Compare it with another suitable text. List features of those texts and find examples. Either rewrite a part of one of the examples or write own version, sometimes with some scaffolding and sometimes I'll model the planning/writing/checking. Give oral and/or written feedback during and after the lesson as appropriate.
Disclaimer: I'm a supply teacher and have been for many years so haven't planned a literacy topic for quite some time and my way of working might be out of fashion now.
Talk to your English subject lead. Ask colleagues who seem to do a good job. You can always ask at every stage! You could pitch it as feeling stuck in a rut so want new ideas to mix things up a bit.
You are clearly doing a good job or you'd have been pulled up before now :-)
You might get more responses if you post this under staff room xxx
Whole class guided reading. We read texts I select across a wide range of genres- always really good quality. We use VIPERS (vocab, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, summarise) to structure analysis. Around SATs time I'm afraid we do thousands of practice questions from books like 'Achieve 100/ 100+' and I model answers for them.
Grammar- taught discretely for 15 minutes per day then backed up with examples found in guided reading and practiced in writing.
Writing- 20 mins a day. Usually quick shared or modelled write then independent writing. Editing from feedback every few days. Each full piece completed in about 2 weeks. They usually have around 5 inputs/ 3 feedbacks on each piece over the fortnight. I relate the genre to the guided reading IF possible.
Spelling- 10mins per day everybody working on their own list from spelling frame, test once a week.
Independent reading- 20 mins a day through Accelerated Reader
Class Novel- 20 mins per day, just for fun. I choose the most brilliant books I can find and honestly think this is the thing that has the biggest impact.
RSTera - do you teach y6? That sounds fabulous! Do you get a lot of structure from your school? I feel this is part of what I am missing. I have only been at my school for a year, and on just 2 days a week. I think it's easier to try different things and see what works when you're full time, so I'm just trying to find my way and fit in with how things already are if that makes sense!
I have 4/5/6 and we have to have a lot of structure because they are a specialist class of kids with Aspergers/ HFA.
The rest of the school do very similar things though.
This is how I teach English:
Reading- I allow them to pick a book and then we start reading it. I focus on vocabulary context clues comprehension deduction, prediction etc). If a exam is approaching I get hold of previous exam papers and figure out strengths and weaknesses. I also have revision classes and homework club.
Writing- we cover basic skills in writing and grammar rules. I also do sentence construction and features of texts too. Writing styles are also targeted here.
Spelling- oral spelling tests. And I concentrate on making sure that they understand properly. We have used a couple of workbooks to reinforce concepts.
Grammar- combined with spelling.
Listening and speaking- the children spend time having a healthy discussion on a topic chosen by me. Opinions are shared with each other and thoughts and ideas encouraged.
Pie Corbet’s ‘fiction writing in ks2’ and ‘non fiction writing in ks2’ will really helpful when planning a long unit of lessons to get them from first read to writing their own. It also helped me understand the importance of letting them ‘copy’ a text and internalise the structure/language.
However from what you describe you’re already doing most of this.
Thanks wellthen - that makes me feel better! 🤣 I did have some training on pie Corbett years ago! Are the things you refer to books, or can they be accessed online somewhere? I'll have a little search!
I think I'm just having a crisis of confidence! I've always found planning and teaching maths so much easier!
You should really be posting under Staffroom.
Does your school not have a curriculum with set texts? I'm confused as to why an individual teacher is having to invent the wheel from scratch.
I have also posted under staff room but had no replies there 😊
No we do not have set texts. We basically have the national curriculum simplified into objectives, but nothing else to go on really. It was the same in my other school. You have obviously been lucky to work in quite supportive schools!
They are books. The non fiction one is co authored by Julia Strong and actually called Talk for writing across the curriculum; how to teach non-fiction writing across the curriculum.
You’ll find the Pie Corbet stuff online but he’s been going for so long that there’s a lot to trawl through. The books are easy to dip into for different text types.
I’ve also used Alan Pete’s sentence types (there is a book but these are also easily found online)
I agree with PP- talk for writing is a great book and anything by Pie Corbett is worth reading as it gave some great results for independent writing by my class. You say that you only teach 2 days a week - if that is a job share, then don't you plan together with the other teacher? To be honest I would say that the fault lies with your Literacy Coordinator who should have a whole school strategy for teaching Literacy.
If you are feeling lost with literacy I would suggest looking at www.hamilton-trust.org.uk. It does cost a £28 a year to subscribe but it has long/medium and short term plans which you will be able to use and feel confident that you are covering all of the objectives for the year. It also has maths and topic plans and I've found them really helpful and completely worth the money. There are also some free units on there to look at so you can have a look and see if you like it. I think it might just give you the confidence to know that you had all the curriculum covered and we're teaching everything needed. It bases most of its units on books/texts and they are really good plans (would also save you a heap of time from planning as you can just print them out and get going!)