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Supporting the literacy strategy of Falkirk Children's Services

Active Literacy – A Probationer’s Story


farmer duckAlix Thomson, a P3 Probationer teacher at Victoria Primary is delighted to share her experiences implementing active reading in her class. Here is Alix’s story:

This term my P3 class, at Victoria Primary, have been working on developing their comprehension skills, with a particular focus on summarising. The lessons have been successful and the pupils have really developed their skills, so I thought that I would share them with you as you said to send on anything that was working well.

The class began developing their summarising skills by focussing on key words. They used key words in lots of different ways.

  • Picking out key words in reading books: choosing the most important word on each page and explaining why; covering up words to see if they were essential for understanding the sentence.
  • Using different forms of text to further our understanding of the importance of key words: using shop catalogues as their text, pupils had to pick key words to describe an item to a partner without using the name of the product – could their partner work out what they had chosen?; watching or listening to news stories and noting down the key words.
  • The class also started including key words in our Busy Starts: key words from a well known story or film were displayed on the smartboard and pupils had to work out which book or film it was; this then progressed into pupils setting challenges for classmates – what film were their key words describing?

Then pupils developed their understanding by using key words to help them to summarise texts.

  • Note taking: whilst watching a short video clip of our class book (Farmer Duck), we took notes on a whiteboard, trying only to note down key words; these notes helped us to create storyboards summarising the story.
  • One sentence summaries: pupils had to write a sentence to describe their reading book; this skill was then used throughout all curricular areas with pupils using one sentence summaries to describe any of our lessons, or to recap on learning during a lesson.

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