Developing and ensuring that all our students possess the ability to communicate effectively both in their writing and through their verbal communication is paramount at St. Joseph’s. We believe that good literacy skills has a direct correlation to academic success. The urgency of ensuring a strong focus on Literacy throughout St. Joseph’s has become increasingly important with the requirements of the new National Curriculum. Within English, specifically, the types of texts that students are required to analyse are much more challenging in terms of language, themes and contextual relevance. However, these changes are not limited to the English department. Therefore, we are focused on embedding literacy throughout our curriculum.
Reading at St Joseph’s
Encouraging good reading practice and fostering an appreciation for literature has been an ongoing enterprise at St. Joseph’s. It is fundamental that our students are exposed to reading while they are at school because this will help to encourage their appreciation for books and will hopefully make them lifelong readers. Our LRC is regularly updated and stocked with enriching books which are linked to the principles of our curriculum. A full list of the key curriculum reads can be found below.
At St Joseph’s we are passionate about enhancing mentorship amongst our pupils. Our Literacy Leaders Scheme entails our older students supporting our younger students to improve their reading. Furthermore, the Key Stage Three tutor groups take part in an exclusive reading programme. Each KS3 tutor group has been assigned a novel that they read together in tutor time. It is a great opportunity in fostering a love of reading as well as introducing our younger pupils to key classics texts including Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. The tutors are also able to develop thematic discussions that arise from the texts.
Building a Word Rich Community
We build a great emphasis on developing our students’ vocabulary through our use of Bedrock Vocabulary in Years 7 – 9. This is a bespoke programme that focuses on improving each pupil’s individual breadth of vocabulary. In addition, we have the ‘Word of the Week’ or ‘WOW’ challenge where our students are introduced to a new academic word. The students have taken up this challenge with vigour and are endeavouring to use the ‘WOW’ word in their daily interactions. Our hope is to create a language rich community where good vocabulary choices are celebrated.
Key terms are embedded regularly throughout the lessons taught at St Joseph’s encouraging pupils to reach mastery in subject specific writing and speech.
Oracy at St Joseph’s
A number of extra-curricular activities encourage pupils in engaging in high quality discussion. We run a debating society for all Key Stages as well as select pupils taking part in the Mock Trial Competition every year. In addition the RE Department have led Critical Thinking workshops for our pupils to enable them in generating enriching discussion in lessons.
This year we are working with Talk The Talk who are leading workshops on the key principles of effective communication.