Best Practice

Breaking down literacy barriers in year 7

Some pupils in year 7 lack the required vocabulary and literacy skills. Ruth Everett looks at how we can support students for whom literacy difficulties are a barrier to accessing the curriculum

The initial thrill of the new academic year is waning, new books have names of students and teachers marked neatly upon them, and stiff shoes are becoming more comfortable. However, the harsh reality of the academic challenges of year 7 are beginning to kick in for some students.

This is secondary school with its academically rigorous curriculum, dominated by expository reading and non-fiction texts.

The latter demand a knowledge and understanding of 95 per cent of their vocabulary to be comfortably understood. In addition, year 7 students need to become accustomed to navigating the content and demands of up to six subjects a day, a skill that is known as code-switching.

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