We have been developing some training videos which you can use, either just to watch on your own, or with your class in a kind of on-line team teaching situation. As I write we have three weeks of lessons, with each week containing a video for days one to four.
There is also one training video for children in P6/7, which is a spelling investigation. It comes with a pack of activities. We will continue to add a few more to this group.
If you would like access to these, let me know, and I’ll add you to the shared drive.
As we know, vocabulary plays an important role in being able to express ourselves accurately both in speech and in the written text. As such, it is important in our developing sense of self. Where we cannot adequately express our feelings, our wants, our needs or opinions, it can lead to a sense of frustration and heightened levels of anxiety.
When children are reading, if a word is not in their vocabulary, it can mean that they cannot be confident in how the word should be pronounced or its contribution to the overall meaning of the text.
When writing, many children will reduce their vocabulary because they do not feel confident in spelling the word. Others will write using a reduced vocabulary because their vocabulary does not contain the words that they could use to make a more deliberate choice to influence or accurately inform their reader.
Vocabulary is best taught in the context of quality spoken and written language, where new words can be used and practised naturally and regularly in context.
Some ways that will help children to grow and develop their language is through:
Quality adult and child conversations, where the adult models words in the context of natural spoken language and the child feels safe to imitate, practise and explore the uses of the word. Words Up Key Messages
Repeated engagement with a shared book, where children hear new words and explore what they mean and have the word explained to them and have the opportunity to use the word in context.
Pre-teaching the vocabulary is useful for IDL work or when introducing a new book. This means that when they hear the word in context, they are able to understand the text more fully.
Using semantic gradients is a fun way of learning how to use the correct word for each occasion and developing the skills for using words to influence the audience.
For older children, learning the morphology of words is useful for building up an understanding of the units of meaning in a word and being able to transfer that knowledge to other words. Using a word study approach, we look at the meaning of the parts of the word. We can then use this knowledge to look for other words containing the same morphemes (unit of meaning). This can be useful for looking at tier two words.
As you begin to look at your School’s Improvement Plan for the next academic session, you will see the literacy trainings that are on offer which may be able to support you in this task. Although people may sign up for trainings out of personal interest, it is often best to plan for trainings strategically within a whole school approach.
You will be able to find the dates and sign into these trainings through the Highland Council CPD calendar which is on the Schools’ Hub.
Initial Training and termly networks
Literacy for All
Introduction for SMTs
Full day trainings for primary teachers and ASL teachers
Full day trainings for secondary teachers and ASL teachers
Four twilight sessions across the year for primary teachers and ASL teachers
Four twilight sessions across the year for secondary teachers and ASL teachers
Termly network sessions
Literacy Training (offered twice a year)
Reading in a multi-composite class
Reading in Primary 1 and Primary 2
Reading in Primary 3 to Primary 5
Reading in Primary 6 and Primary 7
Teaching spelling in a multi-composite class
Wraparound Spelling (P3-5)
Morpharound Spelling (P6/7)
Teaching writing in a multi-composite class
Writing in Primary 1 – 3
Writing in Primary 4 – 7
Listening and Talking
Talk for Reading and Talk for Writing
The working groups contain a series of dates and are for people who wish to be part of a team developing resources across Highland Council in different areas of literacy. We hope to develop resources in English Medium and Gaelic Medium together.
In the Literacy and English section of curriculum information on the Highland Council’s Schools’ Hub, you will find the up-to-date Literacy Framework. It contains information about the learning and teaching progression which is embedded into the Curriculum for Excellence’s Experiences and Outcomes and Benchmarks.
You will find assessments and resources which may help you as you tailor make the curriculum to meet the developing needs of the children in your class.
The revised Highland Council Literacy and English Framework for Early-Second Levels was launched today at the Primary Attainment Summit for Head Teachers.
The Highland Council Literacy and English Framework is built upon the earlier Highland Literacy Steps to Success progression and the Northern Alliance Early Level Literacy and English Progression Tool. It is organised into the three organisers of Listening and Talking, Reading and Writing for each of the CfE Levels Early – Second.
The format of the Framework will be familiar to practitioners who have used the Highland Council/ Northern Alliance Early Level Framework which was published in 2018. The 2023 Framework has extended the work of Early Level in to First and Second Levels, using the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences & Outcomes and Benchmarks to support the progress of learning, teaching and assessment within and across Levels.
The Framework and a presentation with notes which introduces the Framework can be found on the links below.
We all know how important it is to plan for change, progress, and challenge, always keeping the Experiences and Outcomes in mind as well as the benchmarks. Planning can be time-consuming.
These plans contain dropdown boxes for the Es and Os as well as for the benchmarks, with space for you to plan your learning intentions, success criteria and what activities and resources you will use to support the children through their learning.
Many children struggle to read fluently and accurately. This may be because their decoding skills are not yet automatic, or there are many words which they do not know or understand, or because they have not yet mastered the automatic attention to punctuation.
Many of these reasons, come down to the need for further repeated practice in decoding and reading aloud as well as hearing texts read to them.
Here are some things which may help the children in your class:
Practising decoding words containing the phoneme/graphemes that they know is a good start. The Humpty Dumpty Word Walls can help with this as well as Word Chains – Swap it!. Many children also need help with blending the sounds together in words. The Blending Board can be useful for helping to develop this skill.
Structuring into your daily routine The Daily Three Read for Fluency can be useful to build up a child’s confidence and fluency through repeated readings of texts that they have already been taught. During the Daily Three Read, they read short texts silently to themselves, to someone else and they hear a reading partner read to them. It takes around five minutes per session.
Another great way to develop fluency in reading through repeated practice is by using Reader’s Theatre. Children practise short plays (2 to 5 minutes in length) in groups over a number of days and then read them to their class – no props or costumes are required. Children can also write their own very short plays to perform.
The Speed and Fluency Cards are also useful for giving children repeated reading practice using short texts which provide quantifiable evidence of progress.
Are you thinking about purchasing an intervention for some aspect of literacy?
When considering purchasing a commercial intervention it can be useful to research the intervention first. Brook’s What Works for Literacy Difficulties, contains a lot of useful information around the effectiveness of different interventions based on research trials. It will also indicate the purpose of the intervention, the length of time that the intervention should run for and whether it is a one-to-one intervention or designed for use in small groups or usable within a class situation.
You can access this book, using the hyperlink below.