Our aim at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda is to enable our pupils to read, write and speak Welsh and English to the level required for them to excel within the school and beyond. As a school that promotes literacy we pay particular attention to those pupils who do not receive support from the Special Educational Needs Department, but who, however, still need to develop these skills. For many of our pupils the only opportunity to interact through the medium of welsh is during school hours. Consequently, we place particular emphasis on the enablement of pupils oral skills as these are the foundations on which all language development is based.
At Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda literacy is promoted using the following methods:
Whole School Correctional Code
In order to ensure consistency and raise the standard of pupils’ written work each member of staff uses a single correctional code to regularly mark pupils’ work.
On entering Year Seven each pupil completes a Welsh and English reading and spelling test. From the results of these tests four target groups are formed for Welsh and English reading and spelling. Pupils who score below their chronological reading age are targeted to receive support throughout the year.
The Reading Scheme
Pupils targeted to receive support are given the opportunity to participate in a reading scheme. For a six week period each pupil is required to attend additional daily reading sessions with a reading mentor. Reading mentors are a combination of teaching staff and members of our sixth form. Mentors work closely with the pupils, not only listening to pupils read and acting as a source of information but also fostering in them a sense of reading for pleasure. The mentors also benefit from their participation in the scheme as their communication skills develop hand in hand with the pupils’ language development. Since its inception, the reading scheme has proved a great success achieving dramatic improvements in pupils’ reading ages.
Spelling and Handwriting Scheme
Similarly, pupils who require assistance with their spelling and handwriting are also targeted through a six week programme. Pupils attend specific handwriting and spelling lessons with Literacy Co-ordinator Ms Carys Jones in order to develop their written skills.
The Role of the Parent
At Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda we strongly believe that a contract betweenparents, the school and the pupil ensures the best possible education for ourpupils. Literacy is promoted in many ways.
Reading and writing and maths are probably the most important subjects for us all. In Wales, girls are doing much better than boys in these skills.
As parents and grandparents you can really help your children get on with reading and writing. Here are some things you can do to help your child:
You and reading
Let your child or grandchild see YOU reading.
When your child is with you at home, ask him or her to help you – for example by checking out instruction leaflets, or choosing what to watch on television.
Talk about the sort of reading and writing youhave to do in your work and show your child of examples of what you have to do.
How can I help?
By ensuring that your child brings both Welsh and English reading books to school each day. There’s no need to buy, as there are plenty of books available at local libraries. Reading lists are available from the Welsh and English departments.
Read to and with your child
Look around for something that will appeal to his or her interests. Not all children like fiction. Many like adventure and Science fiction stories. Some may also like real life stories. A good book is one that he or she wants to read!
Comics, websites, newspapers, joke books and instruction booklets are all good for reading practice.
Give your child or grandchild book tokens for presents so that he or she can choose what to read at home.
How can I help if my child wants to read silently?
If your child prefers to read silently, particularly as they read longerstories, just chat to them about their view of the story or theauthor’s/illustrator’s style. Continue to show that you are interested in theirchoice but respect their growing independence as readers.
If your child struggles with reading
Spend a short time (around 15 minutes each day) getting them to read to you, and helping him/her with tricky words. Make sure these sessions are fun and not a sort of punishment!
Let him or her choose what to read. It might be something on the web rather than a book. If he/she chooses something which may seem too easy this is probably because they are unsure of their reading skills and need to be reassured and encouraged.
Encourage them to work out the tricky words by using the sense of the sentence, by breaking up the word into smaller sections, or by sounding out the word.
If he/she struggles to read a tricky word then don't let them struggle on - tell them what it is.
Praise your child when they get it right and encourage them when they struggle.
Share the reading in these short sessions - you read some and then get them to read a section. If the reading is too hard for him/her but the story is good then just read it to them.
If you have time, round off these sessions with you reading to your child or talking to them about what you like to read and why.
Ask your child's teacher how else you can help them to improve their reading.
I'm an English speaker, how can I help my child with reading in Welsh?
The most important thing you can do is to show a supportive attitude from the very beginning. This will build your child's confidence. Encourage your child to read in both languages as often as possible. Ask your child to read signs in Welsh. Ask them to tell you the Welsh words for things. This will give your child a lot of confidence. Ask your child to tell you in English about a story they've read in Welsh. The most important thing you can do is to encourage and show interest.
Useful websites for pupils