Tag Archives: higher order reading skills

Active Literacy in the Secondary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team is currently working with two Falkirk Secondary Schools on a very exciting Active Literacy transition project.

The recently published Active Literacy pack takes the Active Literacy programme into S1 and Sharon is currently team teaching with John Doherty at Larbert High School and an S1 class, and soon Graeme High School, also with an S1 class on higher order reading skills.

The P4/5 Active Literacy pack develops the higher order skills introduced at P1-3 and the P6/7/S1 pack takes these skills even further.

The S1 classes are developing the six key reading comprehension skills using the Alfred Noyes poem ‘The Highwayman’ as a ‘text’.

The initial lesson looked at Strategy 1 – prior knowledge of ‘highwaymen’ and this period in time, followed by Strategy 2 – using ‘metalinguistics’ – picking out key phrases/ interesting vocabulary. The pupils then used Strategy 3 – using visualisers to produce a mind-map which incorporated the main themes of a non-fiction text about ‘Highwaymen’.

This is a very exciting project taking the Active Literacy programme into S1 and the skills even further into real life.

The second lesson in this series was really successful and examined comprehension strategies 3 (using visualisers), 4 (inference), 5 (main ideas) and 6 (paraphrasing). In a very short timescale, S1 pupils from Larbert High were able to produce visualisers to summarise the main ideas of two stanzas from the poem. Working in cooperative groups on two different stanzas each, the pupils were able to cover the entire poem. They then went onto producing a summary/ paraphrase of those two stanzas using only 140 characters and published these live on twitter.

Some of the tweets included:

‘The highwayman knocks on the window of the inn and finds Bess #younglove x’

‘The Highwayman is a structured poem which has good describing words #shotottheface

‘The highwayman rides to the inn. Sings a song to the girl. Redcoats make her shoot herself. #death

Using Active Approaches to Reading Using Moving Image as ‘Text’

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, has been working with a number of schools on active approaches to reading.

Sharon has been working on the development of skills which address ENG 1/2-17a – ‘To show my understanding, I can respond to different kinds of questions and can create different kinds of questions of my own.’

Working with ‘Lost and Found’ moving image as a text, Sharon has been working alongside class teachers to use Blooms question fans to support generating, and indeed, answering their own higher order questions.

Using a ‘book detective’ approach, pupils have been given specific tasks to find evidence within the ‘text’ to support themes/ characterisation/ setting/ plot and structure.

Incorporating co-operative learning strategies such as ‘corners’ (literal, evaluative and inferential questions) and ‘two stay/ two stray’, pupils have generated their own questions and model answers for other pupils to solve.

In their co-operative learning roles of question master, clarifier, recorder and summariser, pupils initially answered prediction questions about the text, followed by generating their own questions to ask others.

Pupils were highly engaged and motivated during the whole of the sessions. These sessions culminated in pupils taking on the role of teacher (Reciprocal Teaching) where they devised their own lessons for younger pupils using the same moving image as ‘text’. Pupils incorporated Assessment is for Learning strategies into their own lessons and shared learning intentions and success criteria.