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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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Session 5: Embedding literacy in your school

Introduction

Literacy is, in the words of the National Literacy Trust, ‘the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world’ (2017). Reading plays a particularly key role in the development of these skills: by being exposed to new words, ideas and concepts, reading encourages you to develop your vocabulary, think creatively and improve your comprehension. One study which analysed data from 370,000 UK secondary students found a significant link between reading ability and achievement in all GCSEs subjects including maths and science (GL Assessment, 2020). Literacy rates have also been shown to positively correlate with greater earnings and employability (Demos, 2018). The OECD has even gone so far as to argue that literacy is a prerequisite for achievement in life (OECD, 2002).

Although libraries support literacy in all its forms, it is with reading that librarians have an opportunity to make a real difference. Reading falls into two areas: academic study and reading for pleasure, both of which are central to your role. When building your academic collection, resources will be influenced by the curriculum and recommendations made by your teaching colleagues. Reading for pleasure is where you will have greater freedom to exercise control and demonstrate an awareness of your students’ preferences, current trends, new releases and emerging authors. However, whether supporting academic study or reading for pleasure, your library is key to embedding literacy in your school.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • recognise the importance of literacy and the library’s role in embedding it in your school
  • appreciate how marketing and role models can be used to promote your resources, encourage reading and embed literacy in your school
  • understand the role of non-fiction in the development of literacy and how teachers can help you create subject-specific resources which support the curriculum.