Faculty blog – the importance of literacy

20 September 2019

As literacy coordinator at National, it gives me ‘grate’ pleasure to be asked to ‘right’ the initial faculty blog for this year. However, I do feel a sense of pressure; what if I make a ‘mis steak’? what if I fail to use a capital at the start of the sentence? What if I forget to use a question mark at the end of a question.

I am, of course, hoping that you will realise the mistakes in the above paragraph are deliberate. I would like to think that I could write a blog without such basic inaccuracies, and I do know that all questions require a question mark at the end. Which all leads me to this question:  why have I started the blog in this way?

The answer is that it appears to be a common perception that literacy is all about spelling, punctuation and grammar. While these areas are undeniably important and are indeed aspects of literacy, the truth of the matter is that literacy is about so much more than this. Literacy is about reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is about communication. It is about learning and sharing our joy of learning. It is about creativity, imagination and pleasure.

The first sentence of this blog actually contains a mistake. The mistake is that this is not a ‘faculty’ blog. Literacy is not a faculty. Rather, it is something that is essential in all faculties. Every faculty requires students to read, whether that is a complex source in history, a problem in maths or a sonnet in English. Every faculty requires students to write, be that an evaluation of an experiment in science, a design brief in DT or an extended essay in religious studies. In addition, students are required to listen carefully and talk in all lessons, either to the teacher or to their peers.

Furthermore, literacy is not a subject which is confined to the four walls of a classroom. No matter the path taken by our students, they will need literacy in all aspects of their life. Being able to read, being able to write appropriately and being able to communicate effectively in all the various situations in life opens up many doors, providing opportunities for our students to live life in all its fullness.

I am (as I hope is clear) passionate about literacy and its importance to all the fantastic students at National. My colleagues are passionate too, with each and every member of staff aware of its importance. Our academy is committed to sharing this message to the students and we continue to provide a vast range of opportunities for literacy skills to develop.  Dedicated literacy lessons are delivered to the majority of students in KS3. Literacy activities are part of the pastoral programme, accessed by all students.  Reading for pleasure is strongly promoted in the languages faculty. The library continues to be a hub of enthusiastic students, delightfully talking about the books they have read.  This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Ask your child or children to give you more examples of how literacy is promoted here and I am sure they would be able to give you plenty!

I would like to end this blog by sharing three of my favourite quotes about literacy, specifically about reading. In fact, specifically about reading for pleasure. These quotes speak for themselves and beautifully express the value and importance in reading for pleasure.

  • The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
    (Dr. Seuss)
  • “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
    (Roald Dahl)
  • “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”
    (George R.R. Martin)

If you have any further thoughts, comments, suggestions, other quotes or great books to read (in fact, anything to do with literacy), these would be gratefully received.

Mr Barnett
kbarnett@nationalce-ac.org.uk

National Church of England Academy