It made me think - if reading was taught in the Guided Reading slot, spellings were taught in the spelling slot and grammar taught for an hour in the grammar slot. Then what was taught in the other 4 hours of 'Literacy?'
Sadly, I think in some schools this is spent preparing children to write on a Friday in their extended writing session. Perhaps this is done by giving children short writing opportunities after a discussion of a stimulus, perhaps an extract of text. we need to ensure that this text analysed using the same reading skills that have been practised in Guided Reading? Do we encourage children to use inference and deduction skills during these sessions, perhaps more importantly do we sign post these for the children so they can see how the skills are linked?
I am sure we give children opportunities to read and write. Opportunities to read and write do not always lead to improvement. We need to show students how to be successful, in my opinion writing and reading skills should be modelled before we ask the students to do it.
We really need to be taking all of the strands of literacy and weaving them together for children in the literacy sessions. It is no good leaving our grammar to a one hour 'spag' session after lunch on a Thursday, it needs to be taught in context, children need to be fed a never ending stream of this, drip fed, force fed if necessary.
It doesn't even need to be in literacy, it can happen in foundation subjects too! How many times have you stopped a science lesson to identify a verb or adverb that a child has used? Have you ever asked your children what synonym for run you could use in PE? It doesn't have to stop the lesson for a long time, it can be done in a matter of seconds. Once again though the skills need to be modelled and taught before we can expect our students to complete the tasks adequately.
I have had a number of discussions with teachers who lament at the fact their foundation subject work is not as well written as the work that happens in the Literacy lessons. Often I find that the children were asked to write a diary or a news report, scaffolded only by some meagre success criteria. When we ask children to write a newspaper story in the literacy sessions we use a range of techniques that could take more than a week to get a piece of high quality writing, in foundation subjects some of us expect the same high quality to occur in less than an hour.
Drip, drip, drip - that is what we need to be doing with literacy skills, and if those skills are poor then that drip needs to be a torrent and the skills need to be practised continuously, relentlessly and in context
Rob from Literacy Shed