Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town


Blooms Taxonomy Poster part of our Literacy SSE Initiative

Literacy work as part of SSE in the Abbey Vocational School:

Literacy in 2013 -2014:

  • A purposive sample of 25 first years did the CAT test to gauge literacy in order to cross-reference generic development across one calendar and curricular year
  • A staff presentation and staff workshops in the area of literacy were held

Literacy initiatives were implemented throughout the year to improve reading - DEAR, Keyword vocabulary Notebooks, Library visits.

  • The sample group resat the Cat 3 tests which they had completed prior to entry. This focus group was comprised of a representational cross-section of our students, with regards to gender, SEN, ethnicity etc. The tests were administered, scored, and the data compared with their previous results.
  • While a substantial number were performing at the same level, 20% had disimproved while conversely 20 % had improved. We also checked to see if it was the same students who were responsible for the change in scores, but in a lot of the cases, this was not apparent.
  • The breakdown of results was brought to the attention of all staff. A possible reason for the decline in scores mooted was that perhaps some of the participating students did not engage with the task fully ; however, having administered the test, the members of the LS Team did not feel that to be true.
  • Another possible reason - speculatively- could be the disconnect between the primary and secondary syllabus, with some of the challenges of navigating new syllabi engendering difficulties for some of the students.
  • A further reason was transition process from primary to post primary school and the compliance with the national statistics that students in first year show scores that imply disimprovement in English and maths

Literacy 2014 – 2015:

  1. Vocabulary initiative was implemented to improve reading comprehension and understanding Blooms taxonomy was implemented as a whole school initiative. Posters on all classroom walls.
  2. Increase reading for pleasure initiatives were implemented :
  • Revamp library
  • Read wall
  • Lunchtime book clubs
  • Creative writing groups
  • Purchase boy friendly material
  • Use school website to involve parents
  • SEES – skills for excellence day – Literacy as a whole school activity – linked to world book day
  • Link in with local library.
  1. Work on transfer process from Primary to Post Primary School was initiated. Transfer booklet introduced by subcommittee

Literacy 2015 2016:


  • Improve figures around those who enjoy reading for pleasure
  • Improve library use (See numerous surveys and initiatives re same )
  • Improve transfer process of incoming students


An Adolescent Reading Survey was given to 2 first year groups in September 2015 and then again in May 2016

Teachers of these groups engaged in a series of strategies to promote “Reading for Pleasure” in their classes


  • Overall the results are disappointing, while there was no change in students views of their reading competence (coded as “Self-concept as a Reader”) there was a decrease in their views on the “Value of Reading”.
  • However possible outside factors may be influencing this, their age, per pressure and the fact that books and reading are competing with ever increasing new technologies which many first years are just getting access to.


  • A different survey for the future, one not reliant on self-confessed attitudes
  • First years may not be a suitable target group to survey

Literacy Initiatives 2015-2016

1: First Year "Reading for Pleasure"

Classes 1 D and 1B. Teachers B Logue and B Keenan agreed to implement “Reading for Pleasure “strategies with these first year groups. This included extra trips to the library, promotion of the reading project, general discussion of popular books and getting students to compiled lists of their favourite books, making posters listing their current reading activities etc... Classes were given a survey at the start of the year the results collated. At the end of the year this same survey was administered and results compared to measure the success of the initiative.

Blooms Taxonomy Posters

A poster was distributed to all teachers with the request they would display it in a prominent location in their classroom. A letter detailing the purpose of the poster was also given.

The Spelling “B”

S Canning organised a Spelling B for the first years, every teacher of first-year English taught the spelling list in the journal until the Mid-term. Teachers assessed their classes and put forward three candidates with the highest scores for an inter-class spelling competition. Classes 1A 1B and 1C competed against one another in the first semi-final and classes 1D 1E and 1F competed in a second semi-final. Nine candidates went forward from these heats to a pre-Christmas final. Winners were presented with prizes and all semi-finalists were given certificates of achievement.

The Reading Room

A selection of texts were taken from the main library and a reading room was set up in room 12A. The librarian made the selection and arranged and cataloged the texts for the reading room.

Mental Health Poetry Competition

As part of a weeklong promotion of mental health within the school a poetry competition was held where first and second years were invited to enter a poem on the theme “It’s good to be alive”. All entries were displayed in the assembly and the winners were given prizes.

The Readathon

English teachers promoted the MS Readathon within their classes, many students participated and over €2000 was raised.

The Literacy Board

A Literacy Board was set up outside the Reading Room. Key words related to curricular assessment will be posted, a different word each day with a definition. Students will post book recommendations and general “book news” will be posted.

World Book Day

Display boards were set up in the main assembly and posters were put up around the school with information about various Irish Writers. Junior students were given quiz sheets and allowed to search the school for the answers, correct quiz sheets were placed in a draw and winners selected for book token prizes.

Crossword Competition

A crossword competition was held and students encouraged to enter. N Doherty collected the entries and corrected entries were put in a draw for a book token.

Shakespeare 400, Quiz, Promotional Board

To celebrate the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death a display board was set up in the main assembly and students were given Shakespeare quiz sheets to complete, the information could be accessed from the board.

2. Improved transfer process:

All first years participated in a survey which was supported and carried out by the NBSS. Data showed that here were areas for improvement in this area. A subcommittee worked on this throughout the year.

  • Work on the enhancement of transfer booklet
  • Work on improved induction process
  • Clear classroom rules posted on all walls
  • Improvements to be made on maps and signposts
  • Homework policy devised by academic monitoring committee

Mentoring system to be introduced

Have a look at :

The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2022

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The Glebe, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, F94A409.
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