An effective literacy policy is a central element of a coherent, measurable approach to literacy in the classroom. Estyn (2011) recommend that schools have a ‘comprehensive and robust literacy policy and strategies for teaching oracy, reading and writing’ (Estyn, 2011). Literacy policies should be 'visible'; that is, an observer should be able to 'see' the policy in the school environment from the displays in the hallways to the language focus in lessons to marking of learners’ work. A good policy makes the link between theory, research and guidance and the classroom. This task provides the opportunity to consider what a literacy policy could include, who it is for and how it can be made visible in the classroom.
Using the information gathered in Activity 3.2, annotate the opening of this literacy policy. Consider which aspects you found useful, how they linked with good practice as suggested by the readings you have explored in Topic 1: Literacy in Wales and, in précis, in Activity 3.2. Consider also, where you think the policy is unhelpful or could be improved. Example comments have been provided.
Before you do this, consider the following questions:
- Who is the policy for?
- What is its purpose?
- Does it fit in with the principles found in your reading?
- What else would you include? Why?
One of the key questions to be considered when writing a literacy policy is: 'How will you know if it has impact?'. The monitoring section of the policy has been started but left blank aside from some pointers as to some things to consider. Complete this section with a view to establishing a monitoring and evaluation system that is manageable, purposeful and transparent for all involved.
Policy should provide a framework that supports good literacy practices in the classroom. It shouldn't be a dusty folder that is kept in the corner of the room, but something that is used to inform and guide key principles and practices across the school. The move from policy to the classroom is the next stage of this topic. The guidance from Estyn (2011) includes a prompt sheet for observations of lessons. In preparation for this next stage, take the form to one of your lessons and assess yourself in each category. If possible and appropriate, you may wish to ask somebody else to complete the form during your lesson. You will have the chance to return to this assessment at the end of this topic.