Literacy and Reading


At Sir John Talbot’s School we believe that literacy is important for several reasons:

  1. Literacy is among the major antidotes for poverty.
  2. Literacy makes your life better.
  3. Literate people have more choices in their work and personal lives, leading to greater freedom.
  4. Literacy is great at teaching you how to think successively – that is, making meaning one step at a time to then build a story. Narrative is a key feature of learning and participating within society.
  5. Literacy soon becomes the currency of other learning.

Strategies for Literacy

Literacy lessons
Once a week, students in Year 7 and 8 have a dedicated literacy lesson using the Accelerated Reader Building Brilliant Sentences and Crafting Building Sentences. Reading, writing and oracy skills are developed in these lessons and students have time to share and discuss their reading.

Click on the images below for more information:






Closing the word gap and why it is so important

Read Every Lesson

We encourage all faculties to help students develop their reading skills by reading aloud in lessons. This could be non-fiction articles, texts, or information pieces as well as fiction.

Reading Families
A proportion of students from each year who are identified as having a reading age below that of their chronological age are placed into Reading Families. These groups have a maximum of 10 students in them and students all read the same book aloud. In these groups, teachers encourage reading with emphasis and learning new vocabulary.

Reading Buddies

Some students who need extra reading support will be assigned a reading buddy to support them. This could be an older student or a member of staff.


Some students who need extra reading support will be taught phonics using the Ruth Miskin scheme. Ruth Miskin Phonics Training

Writing and Spelling Intervention

During AR or form time (in the morning) some students will access extra support in writing and spelling via their English teacher. These sessions will be tailored to the needs of the group selected. These may include IDL: IDL Literacy Programme | Literacy Software | IDL | IDL (


How can I support a student at home?

  1.  Have a range of books at home (just having books around your house has a massive impact). Encourage your child to read every day at home and to visit the library at school or your local library. It is suggested that students read for at least 30 minutes each day to truly develop their skills.
  2. Talk to your child about what he or she has read recently.
  3. Read yourself! Be a literacy role model.
  4. Help your child to proofread their written work. Assist them to check spellings and punctuation. Encourage your child to ask for clarification when unsure of a spelling or the use of a punctuation mark. Please click here for more information.
  5. Read the news together at least twice a week and discuss current events.

Please access our Parent Guide for literacy: ‘How do I support my child’s literacy?’ here:

Literacy Support
Parent guide supporting the improvement of handwriting
Parent guide to help improve spelling at home
Purposes of Writing Conventions and Structure Frames
Toolkit for Effective Writing

Helpful websites:



We believe that literacy begins with reading. At Sir John Talbot’s School, we have created a nurturing environment to help our students’ reading and writing prosper. At the heart of our literacy strategy is ‘reading for pleasure’. We encourage all our students to read in their own time and to bring their current reading book to school every day. We promote reading through initiatives like our ‘Reading School’ strategy – providing all Year 7 to 9 students with 25 minutes dedicated reading time every day. We help make what students are reading relevant to the real world, enhancing their understanding and perspectives, by talking about the books which they and our teachers are reading.

During the reading time, students take part in focused, independent, reading, or one of our reading support strategies.

More information about these strategies can be found at > Sir John Talbot’s School – Literacy

Accessing books

Our library is at the heart of the school and central to literacy learning at Sir John Talbot’s School. It is an outstanding resource where students can borrow a wide range of reading material that is continuously updated or find a space to work and read.  We welcome requests and suggestions from parents, carers, and our students. 

Here are some of the ‘Good Reads’ you can borrow at Sir John Talbot’s School > Good Reads