Secondary Literacy

School-Wide Literacy Programmes

By Judine Ladbrook
Auckland College of Education

For the success of a school-wide literacy thrust there needs to be a whole school commitment to literacy.

For this to come about, time for staff to discuss issues and 'own' policies and ideas, needs to be a priority. We suggest that there is staff time given to developing:

  1. a cohesive definition of literacy
  2. a whole school literacy policy
  3. a whole school acceptance and understanding of what should be the school's short term literacy aim
  4. an appointment of a school literacy coordinator. This person needs to be seen as important and crucial for the developments. There needs to be appropriate rewards for this crucial role.

We also suggest that there is a literacy coordinator for each subject department/curriculum area. Clear role descriptions for these people need to be written and they should be high profile people in their areas.

Any goals formulated need to be then divided into achievable targets, with time frames and evaluation procedures built in. This should include whole school targets and departmental targets, each of which are supported and monitored by the school literacy coordinator. These become the short term literacy aims.

Establishing literacy as a priority will mean dropping some other things and focussing time and money on literacy. This will mean

  1. establishing with the staff that literacy really is the priority
  2. setting up/supporting the appropriate structures
  3. creating a reading ethos
  4. making literacy part of the curriculum.

Later the definition of literacy could be extended to include other types of literacy.

This will all need developing over time.