Top Tips to Improve your Literacy
- Realise that you’re practising literacy all the time: reading bus timetables, road signs, text messages, cereal boxes; all of these wouldn’t be possible without literacy.
- Read widely. Research has repeatedly shown that reading a range of texts regularly can help with vocabulary acquisition, spelling, and learning inherent rules of grammar.
- Find and read books that you’re interested in and enjoy. Research by the National Literacy Trust shows that children who enjoy reading are more likely to have good mental health than those who don’t. If you are reading a book you don’t like, instead of putting it off, stop reading it, and swap it for one you do enjoy!
- Before writing, talk about what you’re going to write. The act of planning it, especially out loud, helps you articulate your ideas ready for writing.
- Keep a journal. Journaling helps you organise your ideas and thoughts, and reflect upon your experiences. The more you write, the more experimental you will become with your writing.
- Read through your work carefully, using a checklist of things you know you need to improve on. It might be the basics such as capital letters and full stops, or it might be more complex elements like structuring your sentences for effect.
- Practise your spellings. Sometimes, the spelling rules in English just don’t make sense or are really tricky to learn. Use your knowledge of phonics to sound out the word, or use look, cover, write, check to learn the spellings.
- Keep a log of new words that you learn, and try to use them in your own talk or writing. You will find that as soon as you learn a new word, you’ll start seeing it everywhere!
- Ask a friend to read your writing, and make suggestions for you. Another set of eyes can help you see things you haven’t noticed, and you can share your ideas with them too!
- Parents, read with your children. Sadly, this lovely habit seems to stop at secondary school, but it’s so beneficial to your child’s development, and a great opportunity to spend time with your child too!
My Favourite Book
His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman
‘I vividly remember reading these as a teenager and got completely lost in the world Pullman created. I think these books have paved the way for many others that have followed, and they still remain some of the best in their genre. The more recent ‘Book of Dust’ series, about the same world and characters, is also well worth reading.’ – Ms Dawson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
‘I love this book because it has the most unusual narrator: death. Death becomes captivated by a girl, Liesel, who is growing up in the time of the Nazi regime in Germany. The book teaches important lessons about friendship, humanity, and the importance of the written word and its power to change things.’ – Ms Andrews
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
‘I love this book because it introduces you to a new fantasy world where immortality is possible. Structurally, there are five narrators throughout the text (a similar structure to his other famous novel, Cloud Atlas) primarily focusing on the protagonist with psychic abilities, Holly Sykes. The plot focuses on a war between the Anchorites, immortal characters who remain immortal by murdering, and the Horologists who naturally reincarnate and try to defeat the Anchorites. It is a bizarre world that it utterly consuming! I cannot recommend it (and other books by David Mitchell) enough to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre!’ – Ms Kirwan
Book of the Month