Supporting children's development
Supporting children's development

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Literacy and reading in secondary school

If you are a teaching assistant in a secondary school, think about support materials that could be adapted for your own situation. For example:.


If you are not working in a secondary school but know children at this stage, try to find out more about what they are reading in relation to a specific subject and how vocabulary or key words are different from everyday language. An example from geography could include the following words: globalisation, urban and rural, spit, glacier, soil erosion, deforestation.

  • How does your school help with literacy in the secondary curriculum?
  • What words are linked to a secondary school subject that are different from everyday use?

Your answer will be dependent on your setting, and on whether your school has a policy in place to encourage reading and literacy. Whatever the policy is, that shouldn’t stop you from being creative and encouraging new ideas in children’s literacy.

What you have learned in this section:

  • Aspects of reading and literacy at three different stages of development. In the early years, how babies learn to interact with their parents or carers in early communication.
  • Issues in reading and literacy in primary school.
  • The challenges of reading and literacy that remain at secondary level.
  • The ‘reading gap’ is linked to inequalities in society, and measures are being implemented to overcome it. The ‘gender gap’ is where there are differences between boys and girls in their approaches to reading and literacy.
  • Think about how the topics in this section relate to your own practice: how making the links between your own experience, your studies and the setting in which you work helps you to become a reflective practitioner.

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