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“A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person.

And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints….” Pope Benedict XVI, 2010




At Holy Family, Literacy is at the core of all our other subjects.  We wish to develop in our children a love of language both written and spoken that will go with them into adulthood.  We believe a high standard of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills will place our children at an advantage in their wider curriculum studies.

To achieve our aims, we endeavour to:

  • Create a safe caring environment in which all children feel encouraged to speak and listen as appropriate.
  • Give children access to a wide variety of stimulating literary texts.
  • Hear children read on a regular basis and send reading books home with a reading record for dialogue between school and home.
  • Provide children with the opportunity to produce a range of written work developing skills across a variety of genre, e.g. – narrative, information and poetry.
  • Provide children with a structured programme of phonics, based on the guidelines of Letters and Sounds to develop their knowledge of phonics for reading and spelling.
  • Encourage accurate spelling and correct grammar.
  • Encourage children to develop a clear and legible handwriting style.
  • Maintain records of pupil achievement to assess their progress and build upon success.

Reading: Word Reading and Comprehension

Our main objective is to foster in children a love of reading.  They will be encouraged to value books and read for learning and enjoyment, from a wide range of literary texts from all genres.

Children will be encouraged to read with fluency and understanding, utilising a combination of strategies including phonic knowledge, graphic knowledge, contextual clues and sight vocabulary. Children’s awareness of syntax, punctuation, expression and comprehension will be developed and assessed through a mixture of book based studies, explicit teaching of reading, Guided Reading sessions as well as individual reading. Within class, texts are linked to the creative curriculum.

At Holy Family we follow the DfE Letters and Sounds phonics handbook from Foundation Stage through to Year 2. A Phonics screening check takes place at the end of Year 1 as per DfE requirements and results are given to parents.

Our Reading Scheme is based on Oxford Reading Tree, and as the children progress through the school they read a range of more challenging texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and develop a greater understanding of how language works.

As well as reading to adults at school, children have opportunities to read to a reading partner from another class.  This encourages an enjoyment of reading and develops skills in both the reader and the listener. The children also visit the school library weekly to choose and borrow a book, under the guidance of our school librarian.

As a school we have adopted Tracks Literacy as an intervention programme for children throughout the school, who require extra support. Age appropriate resources are provided for older children who are struggling with reading to enable them to gain greater fluency.

We aim to provide a rich range of literary experience including themed weeks, visits by poets and authors, literacy workshops and participation in drama productions.

You can find books for all primary school age groups on the The BookTrust website (BookTrust is the largest reading charity in the UK):

100 Best Books for ages 0-5
100 Best Books for ages 6-8
100 Best Books for ages 9-11

Writing: Transcription and Composition

Our children need to develop a passion and skill for writing in which they feel comfortable in experimenting with different styles and formats.  From the Foundation Stage, all children’s attempts at writing, including emergent writing, are valued and built upon, so that children appreciate the importance of their writing in conveying meaning to the reader. During Key Stage 2 pupils learn to write more independently and alter the way they write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences.

Writing is embedded across our creative curriculum. In order to inspire children, the school has adopted many of the principles linked to Big Writing (Ros Wilson), helping the children to develop a ‘writing voice’ whilst immersing them in a plethora of stimuli in order to ensure they are truly inspired to write.

“If a child can’t say it, a child can’t write it!’ Ros Wilson

Spelling Punctuation and Grammar

There is a strong focus on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling. SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) is taught both discretely and as an embedded part of English lessons. This focus helps prepare children for end of key stage assessments and to ultimately develop greater fluency in writing. 

National Curriculum English - Spelling


We are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in our cursive / joined up handwriting style. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and joined handwriting.


Spoken Language

Oral language has a key role in classroom teaching and learning.  Discussion and interaction can engage children’s imagination and foster creativity.

In our school the key areas are:

  • Speaking: being able to speak clearly and to develop and sustain ideas in talk.
  • Listening: developing active listening strategies and critical skills of analysis.
  • Group discussion and interaction: taking different roles in groups, making a range of contributions and working collaboratively.
  • Drama: improvising and working in role, scripting and performing, and responding to performances.

Talk is an underlying factor in the development of literacy, with children engaging by responding to text and explaining their choices and rehearsing their ideas in advance of writing.  In maths, answers can be discussed, data interpreted and relevant language can be developed.  However, all areas of the curriculum offer opportunities in this area and therefore it is necessary to teach Spoken Language explicitly across the curriculum.

To develop their Spoken Language, speaking and listening skills are developed across the curriculum as well as specifically in activities such as listening games, show and tell sessions, role play and drama, class discussions and debating.  Children will be expected to listen to others and respond with sensitivity and respect to the talk of others.  The children will have opportunities to speak in front of an audience, using language and techniques appropriate to the task.

Useful Literacy Websites

Literacy Glossary for Parents (including Grammar)

Reading Rockets

Scholastic Parent Resources

School Reading List website this is great for phonics games and recognition of letter sounds and high frequency words. –suitable for children in reception to year 2 online reading games and activities for children from 3 to 13 games, activities and book ideas for children of all ages free on line books! For all ages not just literacy! But great for educational games .  Shakespeare  not just for world book day! Lots of lovely ideas and resources linked to different books. online e-books