Every teacher is a teacher of English because every teacher is a teacher in English

Matt Bromley

In Daniel Rigney’s The Matthew Effect the message is stark: While good readers gain new skills very rapidly, and quickly move from learning to read to reading to learn, poor readers become increasingly frustrated with the act of reading, and try to avoid reading where possible.

Sandringham staff understand that every teacher is a teacher of literacy, regardless of their subject specialism. Every learner uses words to access every lesson and every day, we aim to narrow the gap between the word-rich and word-poor, so that our students can achieve mastery of language. When literacy obstacles are removed, students make greater progress across the curriculum. With this in mind, we take appropriate opportunities to develop students’  literacy in our lessons through the three strands of reading, writing and oracy (speaking and listening). Crucially, we know that literacy does not look the same in every subject and should not be artificially forced into lessons, so staff use their expertise to teach the literacy skills appropriate to their subject alongside other curricular skills and knowledge.

Three Strands of Literacy: Reading, Writing and Oracy

At Sandringham, we understand that the processes of thinking, reading, writing, speaking and listening are connected through the common currency of words. We take care to develop our students’ skills in the three strands of literacy with clearly planned opportunities in lessons across the curriculum. Students use each of these literacy processes to access the curriculum in all subject areas. Therefore, we are assured that with a greater mastery of language, our students will make greater progress in all subject areas whilst also enhancing their life chances.

Of course, one size does not fit all: different subject areas must inevitably offer different kinds of literacy opportunities. Drama lessons may offer greater opportunities for developing students’ oracy, for example, whilst history lessons will surely offer opportunities to read a range of historical nonfiction sources. By incorporating such subject specific literacy opportunities in our subject areas, each department contributes to the bigger picture of the literacy provision at Sandringham.