Hundreds of websites offer help with literacy but not all of them provide the necessary support. Teachers need sites that save time, provide good material, are clear and easy to navigate, and provide lesson plans and worksheets closely linked to the literacy framework.
This well organised and presented site supports teachers using ICT to enrich their lessons. The features section provides a range of articles and tips for using ICT in literacy lessons, while the resources area provides tips on using CD-Roms and web links, and suggests a range of software, freeware and shareware programs. Information on the role of classroom assistants can be found in the National Literacy Strategy section, along with help on grammatical knowledge for teachers and issues raised by the teaching of children with special needs or English as an additional language. Overall, a helpful site, although lacking the lesson plans and worksheets available elsewhere.
English Resources (KS12)
With 30,000 hits per month, this site must be doing something right. Resources, including many lesson plans, are listed with descriptions. Learning objectives and outcomes with reference to the national curriculum and NLS are often provided. There is a bulletin board, should you need help or want to offer assistance. There are worksheets and plans on adjectives, antonyms, instructional texts, compound words and the works of Shakespeare, Michael Morpurgo and Roald Dahl.
Hamilton Trust (KS12)
The Hamilton Trust is an educational charity that aims to raise standards in literacy and numeracy teaching by providing high-quality resources. A leading light in this project is Ruth Merttens, author of the popular Abacus scheme.
The site offers medium and weekly literacy plans. The latter include teaching strategies, differentiated activities and plenary ideas. A phonics programme, Code-Breakers, provides valuable material for Reception and Years 1 and 2. Other resources are organised by year group, term and week number. A wide range of lesson plans, worksheets and other practical resources are available free for downloading. The extensive bank of material is still growing.
The English and literacy area can be found under the resources section, with sub-headings that include policies and planning, marking and assessment, word level, spelling, reading, poetry and writing. PowerPoint presentations on phonemes can be found among the materials, which have been submitted by teachers.
Literacy Hour (KS12)
Teachers who are not familiar with the literacy hour will find this site, run by Sunshine Online, informative. It explains terms used and provides guidance on shared, guided, independent and other aspects of reading as well as advice on class organisation. Children can download resources from the Kids Centre, including illustrated homework sheets, interactive learning activities and guided Internet research tasks.
Literacy Lessons (KS23)
Provided by a teacher and literacy consultant, each module begins with an overview, followed by weekly plans. Objectives are given for text, sentence and word level work in each term and for each year group from Years 4 to 7. There are also suggested activities for guided, shared and independent writing and reading.
Literacy Matters (KS12)
Very strong on recommended books for the National Literacy Strategy, this site provides several helpful pages for teachers, parents and classroom assistants. There are resources for each year group, including posters, writing frames, headings, examples, charts, poems, prompts, recipes and labels. There is also a small discussion forum and an opportunity to submit questions to Janet Evans, who worked on the development of the NLS.
Teaching Ideas (KS12)
The English section of this tremendously useful site offers a wide range of resources, neatly organised into reading, writing, speaking and listening activities. Each has a brief description and age-group suitability level. Most of the content consists of teacher-produced worksheets, together with many other helpful time-saving downloads and ideas. Alphabetical order, predictions, dictionary work, punctuation, descriptive and creative writing are just a few of the many practical resources available.
Other literacy websites
www.educate.org.uk teacher_zoneclassroom literacyindex.htm
Excellent resources for KS1 and 2.
Teacher-friendly bank of lesson plans and activity sheets for KS1 and 2.
National Literacy Association resources, articles, news.
A wealth of inspirational ideas and activities for KS2.
US site stacked with eye-catching "Language Arts" resources.
Jim Merrett is a part-time KS2 teacher at Antony primary school in Cornwall