In addition to their work in English, pupils will be developing their literacy skills across their learning in every subject. Reading, writing, talking and listening skills are vital to success in school and in life. Therefore, we have a number of strategies to support your child in their literacy development. Firstly, all pupils have been issued with a Literacy Jotter. This contains a double page for each letter of the alphabet where they can record tricky spelling words from every subject. These can then be revised and tested both in English and at home. Additionally, all departments have agreed on success criteria to assess solo and group presentations. Every time a pupil delivers a presentation, they will be given feedback in the same format which they will record at the back of their literacy jotters. This will allow them to chart their progress in this vital literacy skill. They will review their strengths and areas for development in tutor time on a termly basis. It is hoped that parents too can use the success criteria to help their child improve presentation skills.
The S1-3 Broad General Education Course in English aims to consolidate pupils’ learning from primary school and provide opportunities for the progressive development of language skills through stimulating contexts and the enjoyment of a variety of texts.
What will pupils be studying?
The Course is divided into units of work, which concentrate on developing core communication skills in Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening. Typically, a pupil will:
o Develop writing skills by producing personal and imaginative writing, leaflets giving information and persuasive and discursive essays.
o Read and examine a variety of texts such as poetry, drama, novels, short stories, films and various other media – and comment on writer’s craft in a range of ways through writing, presentations and discussion.
o Develop skills in talking and listening such as giving presentations, debating, working collaboratively, group discussion and critical listening. All S1 pupils begin by delivering a presentation on a famous person of their choice.
o Undertake a personal reading programme and take part in the S1 Reading Challenge in which every S1 class is assigned a team and encouraged to read books and complete reviews to win prizes for their class.
o Work with other departments on interdisciplinary projects to show that literacy skills are vital to succeed in all subjects.
What will classes be like?
Classes are organised on a mixed ability basis. There will be a range of learning and teaching approaches including individual, paired and group work together with whole class activities. Technology such as computers and video-cameras are used to enhance the classroom experience. We also have close links with Support for Learning and enjoy the support of S6 Literacy Leaders who help in all S1 classes.
There is an emphasis on skills development with pupils being aware of their own skills, and working with the teacher to set targets for improvement.
Pupils will be given regular feedback about their work both verbal and written. They will use this feedback to make continuous progress. In addition, they will be given formal graded assignments. Pupils’ progress will be recorded on individual profiles. Parents will receive written notification of progress in the form of School Home Reports.
Homework is issued on a weekly basis and will take different forms – from thinking over a topic, to writing and reading. In addition to written assignments, pupils will also have ongoing reading. This is a very important aspect of their overall development. Good reading habits promote language development. Each classroom has a well-stocked library, and pupils may also borrow books from the School Library.
We encourage pupils to become involved in the wider curriculum by trying out the following activities which are a great way to make friends, get to know our department and develop language skills while having fun.
Book Club: all pupils who enjoy reading and writing are encouraged to join this club held on Friday Lunchtimes. The group create lots of posters, poems and stories and enter many writing competitions and have also been on trips! This S1/2 club meets in the library on Monday lunchtimes.
Debating Club: all pupils are encouraged to come along and listen to a variety of debates on topics ranging from footballers being overpaid to books having a ratings system. Pupils can be part of the audience, ask questions, be a main speaker or be the chairperson. They can also suggest topics to debate. Members of the debating club will be selected to represent Trinity in National competitions. This S1-3 club takes place every second Thursday at lunchtime.
Writing Competitions: Last session, many S1 pupils entered national writing competitions and a number were selected for publication in a book of poetry as winners of the “Twist in the Tale” competition. These competitions are advertised in the English Department and all pupils are encouraged to take part.
Ways in Which Parents can Help
o Encourage your child to read for pleasure. Visit the local library and bookshops to help them select appropriate texts. Pupils should have a reading book at all times either from home or from the school library. They are expected to commit at least twenty minutes to personal reading a week for homework.
o Discuss pupils’ ideas for writing and encourage them to make a plan before beginning.
o Ask to see homework, and support your child in using capital letters and full stops, and checking spelling with a dictionary.
o Encourage pupils to use the school website and other educational sites on the internet to improve their skills.
o Ask pupils what targets they are setting to improve their skills in English and discuss how they are going to achieve this.
o Sign your child’s planner so you can see the homework they have been set.