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Literacy - Supporting Speaking and Listening

We focus on supporting and developing speaking and listening skills across the whole school curriculum.

Speaking and listening give us the basic skills we need to communicate with the world around us. The development of these skills doesn’t just stop when we learn how to talk and respond to others as young children.

Speaking and listening skills are the building block of literacy but can often be passed over when we focus on reading and writing. There is an assumption that pupils will simply “pick up” speaking and listening skills as they go through life. However there is increasing recognition that both speaking and listening need active and consistent support. Under-developed ability in this area will also affect achievement in reading and writing across all subjects.

One of the biggest barriers to developing skills in this area is confidence. Young people feel least confident talking in front of classmates and new people yet statistics show that 9 in 10 pupils agree that face-to-face communication makes it easier to get a point across. At the Academy, as well as encouraging students to take part in group work and individual presentation work, teachers also make use of specific questioning techniques in order to help students think about and present their ideas and suggestions to classmates during one to one and whole class communication. Starting small and building up to speaking on front of larger groups helps to build pupils’ confidence in speaking and listening.

There is a lot that can be done at home to support the development of speaking and listening skills. One of the easiest and simplest ways to do this is through simple talking. When your child comes home try talking to them about their day and the things they have done. Try to use “open questions” that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead of “Did you have a good day?” try asking “What was the best part of your day today?”. This will encourage your child to share more information about their school day. You could also ask them what made their experiences good or bad.  Lead by example and share information about your own day and discuss with them what they think about the experiences you yourself have had. This will help encourage conversation and will further support speaking and listening development.

Talking with others is a great way to develop vocabulary, the more we talk, the more we pick up on different words that other people may use. Talking is essential for supporting language development at any age. This in turn will help support the acquisition of reading and writing skills. The more your child is encouraged to talk and share their opinions in the appropriate way, the more their confidence will grow. Encourage your child to talk to people of all ages, they could read out loud to younger siblings, explaining the story as they go or sit with grandparents and older relatives and talk about their own experiences in life.

If your child is preparing for speaking and listening practise at the Academy, give them space at home to practise what they want to say. This will also help to boost confidence as it will help them to feel secure in what they are going to do.

If you have any queries or questions or would like to learn more please contact the Academy.  Please click below for more information about the topics.

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