Literacy across the curriculum

Literacy opens up personal pathways to success and is central to personal expression and active participation in the society, economy and culture. St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is committed to raising the standards of literacy of all of its students, so that they develop the ability to use literacy skills effectively in all areas of the curriculum and use it as a platform to cope confidently with the demands of further education, employment and adult life. Staff recognise that the development of literacy skills is an entitlement for all students and the responsibility of the whole school community.

Literacy across the curriculum is embedded via good learning and teaching practices, as recognised by Ofsted (2/13): “Application of basic skills, particularly in literacy, is well embedded across the school”. “Literacy is promoted strongly. As a result, students are able to produce high quality written work using accurate, specialist vocabulary”.


Each subject promotes students’ appreciation of the links between speaking and listening, reading and writing and the value of each in their own subject areas. The principles of literacy skills, as outlined below, are reinforced in all areas of the curriculum and students are subsequently able to:


  • Sufficiently plan and draft key pieces
  • Use writing to organise thoughts and aid learning
  • Correctly spell the subject specific key words
  • Understand the meaning of the subject specific key words
  • Use subject specific key words in context in their writing


  • Employ skimming and scanning skills
  • Read and follow written instructions
  • Read with understanding for a variety of purposes
  • Sift, select and take notes from the text.
  • Access their textbook, including format and index
  • Work out inferential meanings from textual matter
  • Use reading to research the subject area (making effective use of school and public libraries; using the Internet and other ICT texts effectively)
  • Develop an interest in a variety of texts, both literary and non-literary

Speaking and Listening

  • Use talk for a range of purposes and audiences
  • Use talk to explore and evaluate
  • Use talk to ask and answer questions
  • Plan and evaluate their speaking and listening and that of their peers
  • Seek to solve problems collaboratively through discussion

All subject teachers ensure this by:


  • Specifying the FLAP for key pieces of written work

(writing in a variety of Forms using the appropriate Language formality for different Purposes and Audiences)

  • Offering students models for writing in a range of forms
  • Providing appropriate activities for all levels and abilities
  • Defining for pupils the appropriate style for pieces of writing
  • Demonstrating for pupils the way to organise and express pieces of writing
  • Providing annotated examples of writing in the subject, so that pupils understand what is required
  • Displaying useful phrases to help pupils link and develop ideas in writing
  • Helping students to draft writing through the subject context
  • Helping students with handwriting, spelling and presentational aspects of their writing
  • Support students to spell identified subject vocabulary


  • Presenting reading tasks at a suitable level- differentiating where possible
  • Drawing pupils’ attention to structure, layout, form, print and other signposts
  • Taking new pupils through any book they use regularly (e.g. text books) and showing them how to navigate it
  • Showing pupils how to work on a text when they are expected to read alone (e.g. how to skim or scan, how to take notes, how to identify key points).
  • Promoting reading (for pleasure and information).

Speaking and Listening

  • Appreciating talk as a valuable area of learning
  • Encourage students to develop ideas through pair & group work, drama and role play

In addition, the wider school curriculum promotes literacy through:

  • Effective use of private reading
  • The Accelerated Reader programme
  • Promotion of relevant school/national competitions

We need your help to make a difference

How can you help your child to succeed?

Encourage your child to read more at home- This can be absolutely anything, ranging from an autobiography to a magazine that they are interested in. Reading anything will help your child to develop crucial inference and deduction skills, as well as developing their concentration skills.

Question your child about what they have read. If they are reading a newspaper or a magazine article, question them about what the article is about, what the main message of the article is, what the purpose of the article is, how the article uses language to establish a certain tone to their writing.

Highlight all the positive words in the article and think about what this does to the tone of the article.

Highlight all the negative words in the article- thinking carefully about the use of adjectives and the effect of them.

Highlight all the persuasive devices that are used in the article, such as IMPERATIVE VERBS, ALLITERATION, METAPHORS, ANECDOTES, FACTS, OPINIONS, RHETORICAL QUESTIONS, EMOTIVE LANGUAGE, STATISTICS, THREE ( RULE OF), EXPERT OPINIONS, REPETITION and think about the effect of them.

If your child is reading a fictional novel, question their understanding about certain characters within the novel, thinking carefully about how the writer has used language to present the character to you and to make you feel a certain way about them.

Think about the descriptive elements of the novel that they are reading- how does the writer establish the setting and the mood to you through the use of language? 

Set aside time for your child to read each day- whether they are reading to you or to themselves, they are developing vital skills.

Encourage your child to analyse the vocabulary that is used in the text that they are reading and explore new words together.

Encourage your child to be independent in their approach to reading- encourage them to join a local library and take out books that will challenge them and will ignite their imagination.