The literacy policy applies to the whole school and encompasses all students, teachers, departments, parents, subjects, class-work, homework and study.



This school being a source of pride in the community aspires to the holistic development of its pupils embracing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of their lives.


Pupils will be challenged and encouraged to achieve their full potential through the recognition and reward of their effort and responsibilities, allowing them to feel confident in their ability to take their place as valued members of society. The good name and reputation of the school as an institution must be nurtured and protected for the benefit of all pupils. Each of the partners, teachers, parents and pupils has roles and responsibilities, which must be fulfilled if successful educational outcomes are to be achieved.






This reflects the spirit of the school which respects and promotes the unique potential of every student and encourages each to maximize it. We also promote mutual respect between all partners in education.



Literacy includes the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media and digital media.



In Ardscoil Rath Iomghain, Whole School Literacy is seen as an essential part of the teaching and learning process.


We recognize the importance of literacy in the school environment, to life within the wider society and to the personal growth of individuals. We recognize that for our literacy policy to be effective, it needs to be adopted, promoted and enacted by all teachers in their subject area.

Students have a responsibility to recognize the importance of literacy in life and to fully engage with the initiatives put into place.

We also recognize the importance of parental support and encouragement and the need for them to be active in promoting the policy in the home.



A literary steering group was set up to promote and develop literacy in the school.

Paul Murphy

Deirdre Doyle

Emmet Rice

Eleanor Appleby

Martin Creegan

Sinead Commons

Thelma Corr

Margaret Rowe


This group will be responsible for

1)    Developing and implementing a plan for a whole school approach to literacy.

2)    Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the literacy plan.


In-service training was provided to Principal, Deputy Principal and some staff members.




1)    All subjects departments will include literacy in their meeting agendas.

2)    Subject department plans will include literacy initiatives.

3)    Ardscoil Rath Iomghain will develop as a book-rich and literacy rich environment.

4)    Teachers will drive the literacy plan and develop a whole school aspect.

5)    The Pastoral Care team will liaise with individual teachers especially in relation to students with special education needs.

6)    Parents will be encouraged and advised how to promote the literacy plan at home. Helpful advice and suggestions will be posted on the school website.

7)    Students will be encouraged to fully engage with the initiatives put into place.



The key strategies will address the multifaceted nature of literacy and promote the definition of literacy as defined by the DES 2011.

1)    Word of the Week. Classes will select the word so that they have ownership of the word. A student will announce the word over the intercom. The word will be displayed on the television in the assembly area.

2)    A literacy notice board in the school. Students will be encouraged to make contributions and write articles.

3)    Mr. Rice will establish a literacy committee of students in the school.

4)    A small whiteboard beside the main board will be put in all classrooms and they will record the homework and word of the week.

5)    The library will be refurbished and become a reading room.

6)    Each month an aspect of literacy will be targeted –grammar.

7)    A spelling bee.

8)    A dictionary will be given to all first years.

9)    Drop Everything and Read will happen once a term.

10) Paired reading programmes.

11) Keyword Journals.

12)  To encourage debating in the school both internally and externally.

13) Continued use of standardized testing.

14) New entrance examination for first years.

15) Teacher and student book club in the school.

16) Transition years will participate in the European Youth Parliament.

17) A school magazine will be published by the students and students in all years will be encouraged to contribute.



During the academic year, under the themes of literacy and numeracy we aim to self-evaluate :

1)    Preparation for teaching.

2)    Teaching methodologies.

3)    Students’ engagement with learning.


The evaluation tools that will be used include:

1)    Teacher discussion and reflection.

2)    Review of student’s work.

3)    Review of written plans.

4)    Analysis of information on students’ attainments and achievements with regard to literacy.

5)    Comparison of the outcomes of standardized tests within school and with the national norms.

6)    Comparison of the outcomes of state examinations attainments in English and Mathematics.







The committee will meet in August 2015 and evaluate the policy. We will assess how the literacy initiatives are working to date and what improvements have to be made.


FOR PARENTS (posted on school website)


How to promote literacy in the home


1)    Provide a text-rich environment in the home. Display books in the home and encourage your child to read newspapers and magazines. Parents that are seen to read influence their child to read.

2)    When out and about with your child visit bookshops and browse the different sections. Encourage your child to find a book that is of interest to them and purchase the book if it is affordable. Follow this up by discussing the book as your child is reading it.

3)    When giving your child presents for birthday and Christmas always include either books or book tokens as part of the gift.

4)    Encourage your child to make regular visits to the local library.

5)    Encourage your child to read material other than schoolwork at least once a day. A good way to unwind after a day in school is by reading a book and parents should encourage this downtime.

6)    Involve your child in literacy activities such as crosswords and word searches in the newspaper. Also play games like scrabble.

7)    Always have a dictionary and a thesaurus in the home and encourage your child to use them to find the meaning and spellings of words that come up in books and conversation.



Useful literacy websites

This site helps the user to explore every aspect of a story in a clear and simplified way.

This site allows students to test their knowledge of high frequency words.

This is a short basketball game testing out the user’s ability to learn the difference between nouns.



Review of the policy 27-8-2015


In attendance:

Paul Murphy

Emmet Rice

Martin Creegan

Sinead Commons

Thelma Corr

Margaret Rowe

Deirdre Doyle


1)    Word of the Week will continue as it proved very successful and popular. The word will be announced over the intercom and displayed on the television.

2)    Teachers will encourage the students to use the literacy notice board.

3)    The literacy committee will continue in the school.

4)    A spelling bee will take place in the school from September to Christmas, with the grand finale taking place the day of the Christmas holidays.

5)    Drop Everything and Read will take place on the 7th October and 3rd March.

6)    The Paired Reading Programme will continue  in the school and be extended into the primary schools this coming year.

7)    The Keyword Journals will be used with first years.

8)    Students will get three words a week and the teacher will give the definitions.  The key word book will be put on the desk at the start of each class with the school journal. Random checks will be conducted to make sure that the key word books are being used. These words will count for 10% of the Christmas test. Students can be tested either in class or on the examination paper.

9)    We are entering the Well Read competition.

10) A teacher and student book club will be established in the school.




 Specific strategies and methodologies to be used in subject areas.




1)    ‘Show me Boards’ to promote literacy and assessment for learning.

2)     ‘Fix me up’ plan or procedures to be created to assist in homework and improve literacy.

3)    Get students to underline key words in project mathematic examination questions.

4)    Keep up to date key word posters in all mathematic classrooms.

5)    Teachers will use key terms while teaching classes.

6)    Break down words into root, prefix and suffix.

7)    Explain in words how to do questions. Practice comprehension and problem solving when reading questions.

8)    Bring students to the computer room to look up words, use geogebra and other packages.





1)    Use subject specific key words.

2)    Keep a key word section at the back of the copy.

3)    Use the same definitions in all classes.

4)    Have a space on the board for the key words.

5)    Have a brief description of the machines under the names on current labels.

6)     Use digital media more.

7)    Put up posters with key words and images.

8)    Posters with standardized sizes/dimensions of materials.

9)    Deconstructing words to help students find meaning of words.

10) Emphasis on the spelling of the key words and terms.

11) Highlight engineering symbols used for measurements in drawings.

12) Create a link between theory and practice with ‘Spindle Speed’.





1)    Encourage oral answering of questions and group discussions.

2)    Pre-teaching- find out what knowledge the students bring to class.

3)    During teaching recap and revisit the vocabulary.

4)     After lesson using higher and lower order questioning.

5)     Continued use of key words at the back of their copies.




1)    Teach key terms and develop a key word bank.

2)    Develop comprehension skills, analytical skills and critical thinking skills.

3)    Use higher and lower order questioning.

4)    Use peer assessment.

5)    Teach students to scan and skim passages for information.

6)    Develop note taking skills.

7)    Use graphic organizers, show me boards and word squares.

8)    Greater use of digital media.




1)    Pre-teaching musical features and key terms by using musical examples.

2)    Fix it up strategies for melody writing.

3)    Active demonstrations.

4)    Use semantic squares.

5)    Researching appropriate songs for repertoire.

6)    Improving aural skills by learning how to listen and relate the music to the musical terms.

7)    Making use of u tube and animoto.

8)    Asking questions that are open ended and asking higher order questions to extend the students.

9)    Teach the students to ask critical questions.

10) Get students to research their general studies, composing melodies and harmony.




1)    Asking questions based on topic covered.

2)    New words put on board at the start of class.

3)    Explaining difficult words in simple terms.

4)    More use of IT in class.

5)    Making notes on the various topics and underlining the key words in each chapter.

6)    Use mind maps for revision of a topic.

7)    Teaching students to make a conclusion based on the information given.



1)    Use key word journals for key words in each topic covered.

2)    Underline key words and display key words on the wall/board.

3)    Explain new complicated words in a way students understand them (photo-synthesis =making something using light)

4)    More use of IT in class.

5)    Spend more time explaining and asking where the word is used in everyday life.

6)    Question students as they are doing their experiments.

7)    Show Me Boards for oral assessment.

8)    Use scifolio to record experiments.

9)    Digital Logger Pro packages to show how graphs form and to record temperature.

10) Use differentiated worksheets and fill in blank sheets.

11) Use mind maps.

12) Teach students to draw conclusions based on the evidence presented.




1)    Use of spell check and Thesaurus to improve spelling and grammar.

2)    Use the internet to research articles.

3)    Use of online games to improve literacy.

4)    Use of Microsoft word/Microsoft power point to create projects.

5)    Use the synonyms function on the computer.



1)    Put key words on the board or poster when starting a new topic.

2)    Devise a ‘fix-up’ plan to assist students with homework.

3)    Highlight important words and phrases in examination questions.

4)    Greater use of digital literacy like animoto and popplet.

5)    Will encourage higher order thinking and self assessment.

6)    Peer assessment will take place in class.

7)    Students will be encouraged to skim and scan for key meanings.

8)    Group work and pair work will take place.

9)    Students will be encouraged to link their knowledge of the subject to a broader context.

10) Power point presentations with transition years.




1)    Repetition of key words.

2)    Posters in class of key words.

3)    Establishing prior knowledge.

4)    Use of ICT and u-tube to help engage students and reinforce vocabulary.

5)    Interactive games online.

6)    Frequent use of morphemes.

7)    Use word squares and jigsaws.

8)    Get students to read aloud in class.

9)    Facilitate discussions in class.

10) Encourage problem solving based on student’s knowledge of subject.

11) Use of higher order questioning and open ended questions.



1)    Reinforce word of the week in class.

2)    Prepare a suffix and prefix sheet for each student.

3)    Put key terms in copy.

4)    Dedicate time for students to read for pleasure.

5)    Emphasize oral presentations in class as part of homework.

6)    Encourage students to discuss and apply knowledge learned in class.

7)    Use open ended questions and higher order thinking in teaching methodologies.

8)    Teach students to read, evaluate and analyse.



1)    Display key vocabulary around the room.

2)    Key vocabulary words to be recorded in copies.

3)    Have a spelling and a handwriting competition in class.

4)    Read a variety of written material in class.

5)    Peer assessment.

6)    Oral presentation of work by students.

7)    Sraith Pictiur projected.

8)    Group work.

9)    Broaden digital literacy.



1)    Encourage critical thinking through various methodologies for example true false statements, think pair share, placemats and six hats.

2)    Use semantic maps to break down words.

3)    Use varying methodologies to engage students like table quizzes, mind maps, market place and the hot seat.

4)    Greater use of digital media like prezi, you tube and pinterest.

5)    Have group presentations in class.

6)    Give out art history essay examples.

7)    Identify new words in the correct context.

8)    Encourage peer assessment and critical thinking.



1)    Have students engaged in pair work and role plays.

2)    Encourage greater oral literacy to build up word bank knowledge.

3)    Use explicit vocabulary instruction.

4)    Greater use of dictionaries in class.

5)    Introduce new methodologies in class like think-pair-share, semantic maps, think aloud and fix up strategies.

6)    Greater use of digital literacy like popplet, prezi, and animoto.

7)    Greater use of higher order questioning to broaden their critical thinking.

8)    Use vocabulary games to engage students in the learning process.

9)    Use word searches to improve word bank.

10) Introduce students to the examination marking scheme.

11) Laminate key word for topics and display in class.

12) Make a word wall with the most commonly used words.

13) When doing a comprehension tap into student’s prior knowledge.

14) Show videos with subtitles.

15) The target language will be the dominant language of the class.



1)    Highlight the key words associated with PE.

2)    Use information cards to highlight the important words in circuit training.

3)    Posters are used as visual aids to improve literacy.

4)    The PE Department documents the progress of all fitness testing and students record and examine all their own results.

5)    The data projector is used regularly to demonstrate exercises and skills from various internet sources.