How to build essential GCSE English skills whilst having fun with Wild Literacy!

by 1 Oct, 2023

What are the key skills for both Language and Literature across the different exam boards?

• Being able to understand and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and to influence their readers.


Why are these skills important?

• As a reader, learning analysis skills will help you better understand the experience you yourself have when you read different texts. Being aware of how authors use techniques to affect you will empower you to understand your experiences and think critically about what you read and hear in your everyday life.

• As a writer these skills are essential for creating pieces of work that will get across what you want to say and help you understand how to encourage your readers to feel a certain thing or respond in a certain way.


How can these skills be taught?

These skills are best built up over time in different contexts and without pressure to understand it all at once.

Analysing techniques can seem quite alien at first. BUT… it really helps students when they can start to see how they are already experiencing and using some of these techniques in their own reading and writing. Then it’s easier for them to understand how to see these techniques at work in exam texts, have something to say about them, and use them in their own assessed pieces of writing.


How can Wild Literacy help?

Wild Literacy activities and courses teach and develop these key skills. Children analyse and write through fun and varied activities and in ways that are non-threatening and within a meaningful context (in other words, where children can easily see the point of it rather than it feeling like a task you just have to do).

Children develop their own ability to use these techniques and, particularly through the Wild Literacy courses, they understand what effect using these will have in their writing. If children can understand how they have done this in their own writing they will be able to see it better in other people’s. And as they analyse other people’s writing, it will help improve their own for the writing section of their GCSE/IGCSE exam.


Some examples of how Wild Literacy does this

The Wild Literacy Adventure in Description courses use examples of texts which demonstrate different writing techniques and show students how these work, guiding them to use the techniques in their own piece of writing. This is done in fun and interesting ways which will help students engage in the tasks as well as build their confidence.

In the Level 2 Character Description module we look at examples of similes and metaphors and how authors use these to help describe a character and make the reader feel a certain way about them through the associations the imagery evokes. In the Settings Description module, we look at how techniques such as ‘personification’ and ‘pathetic fallacy’ are used by different writers to give a place a mood or atmosphere, how this engages the reader, and how it makes them feel about the place. These techniques are then used by students to write their own descriptions.

In the writing tasks in the Adventures in Description course, students are guided to think about what effects they want their piece of writing to have and ways they can create those effects (figurative language, etc). I also provide a commentary through the writing and editing process to help them do the same.

This approach also helps students understand and experience for themselves that writing is a craft. That when they look at a piece of text in an exam, they see it as something that has been crafted by the writer. That the writer has made conscious choices in the words they have used and how they have structured those words to create effects. This is really important to understand when answering questions about a text.

For younger and less confident learners, the Wild Literacy site also contains hundreds of activities you can use to enable them to begin using language skills in hands-on, fun and engaging ways through topics of interest, games and craft. For example, Sentence Builder Bingo uses a bingo-style game as a fun way to help children build sentences, become familiar with different types of words (adjectives, nouns, verbs and adverbs), and write a mini story. Silly Similes works for children of all ages and ability and involves playing a simple and funny dice-rolling game to make similes. The Dice Roll Story Game again allows children of all abilities to put together a simple story which can be developed if they wish.

All Wild Literacy activities are putting in the building blocks for what children will need to do at GCSE/IGCSE level and – most importantly – they will help break down barriers to writing and help keep English the fun and creative subject it is meant to be!

Module 1 of the Adventures in Description course (both Level 1 and 2) are availble FREE with a Basic Membership. Sign up here

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