Why do we need to focus on literacy? There are too many adults who lack basic literacy skills. More than five million adults lack functional literacy, the level needed to get by in life and at work. A 2011 survey of 566 employers shows 42% are not satisfied with the basic use of English by school and college leavers. In Geography, History, Religious Studies and English Literature, 5% of marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Approximately 85% of exam content is tested through reading and writing. * The Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use. There are only about eight punctuation marks that are used regularly in written English. Can you think of eight punctuation marks that you know how to use? Even though there are only a few of them, punctuation marks can easily overpower words. An English teacher wrote the words: ‘A woman without her man is nothing’ On the board and asked the students to punctuate it correctly. All of the male students in the class wrote: ‘A woman, without her man, is nothing.’ All of the females in the class wrote: ‘A woman: without her, man is nothing.’ Punctuation has the power to change the meaning of your words. *They opened fire with live ammunition. *They opened fire with live ammunition! Love letters? * Dear Mr Macguire, I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we are apart. I can be forever happy. Will you let me be yours? Gloria. * Dear Mr Macguire, I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we are apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours, Gloria. Why should you care about literacy and punctuation? • SWATs (Years 7,8 and 9) • GCSEs now marked for spelling punctuation and grammar (Years 9, 10 and 11) • A level courses depend on your ability to write clearly (Years 12 and 13) • Universities and employers remain concerned about the literacy levels of school leavers (Years 11, 12 and 13) Semicolons are easy to use! You can use them to connect sentences that are closely related. It’s a fast paced world and nobody has time for semicolons any more. Can easily become: It’s a fast paced world ; nobody has time for semicolons any more. Use semicolons when ‘and’ is banned.