Our Literacy vision within the context of AHS

The impact of reading and literacy on pupil progress is well-documented. Much time and research has gone into investigating the importance of reading both in and out of an educational context, over the past few years. Our reading and literacy policy has been most heavily influenced by three bodies of research:

  • Oxford School Improvement, Building an Outstanding Reading School, 2017.
  • Education Endowment Foundation, Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools Guidance Report, 2019.
  • Doug Lemov et al., Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction, 2016.

The ability to read well, speak fluently and write competently for a range of audiences and purposes are absolutely vital to a student’s academic and social success. They underpin the whole school curriculum, and are core life skills that enable students to flourish and thrive in an increasingly demanding world.

At AHS, we believe that literacy and communication are essential life skills. Because literacy is central to children’s academic, emotional and social development, it should be at the heart of any curriculum. We want our pupils to develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate fluently, effectively and creatively through both the spoken and written language. Finally, we want to equip students with the necessary skills to become engaged global citizens and lifelong learners.

Over the past few years, we have worked hard to instil a love of reading at KS3 and KS4 with the introduction of the Accelerated Reader programme; Word of the Week; subject glossaries; DEAR time; reading bell work and much more. Our AHS Reading Ready plan is such that it allows us to build on current successful approaches, whilst also making small but effective changes to further secure and embed pupils’ reading, writing and spoken skills. With this in mind, we intend to make small but effective changes to the way we teach reading and literacy as a school over the next three years.

Year 2

Our priority in year two will be around ensuring that our current strategies for embedding vocabulary are well-integrated, robust and widely used by all relevant staff and the development of oracy strategies to improve learning through talk.

Pupils at Archbishop Holgate’s will be encouraged to develop their vocabulary and oracy: Our aim is to address the word gap, ensuring that all pupils have the vocabulary needed to be successful academically, socially and emotionally, regardless of their starting point in life and develop pupils’ oracy skills in order to equip them with the communication, presentation and interpersonal skills needed throughout their academic career and beyond


  1. Vocabulary is broadened through a weekly Word of the Week: exam specific, ambitious and tier 2 words are carefully selected to address gaps in knowledge and close the word gap.
  2. Subject specific terminology is explicitly taught in all subject areas, signposted by the use of the vocabulary logo and integrated into the literacy marking policy. Marking for literacy also forms part of our work trawl process. Frayer Model is used as bell work activity once a week in departments
  3. Pupils are frequently tested on the spelling and meaning of subject specific vocabulary as part of the homework policy, using glossaries, knowledge organisers or other such resources as support.
  4. Pupils will engage in a variety of activities and strategies to develop oracy skills: Think, Pair, Share/Paired Talk, Using sentence stems, Talking points.

Year 1

Our priority in the first year is to ensure that good reading practices are consistently embedded across the school, building on our current successful approaches.

Pupils at Archbishop Holgate’s will read widely and often, and in a variety of ways (silently, aloud and read to): At AHS our commitment is to ensure that our pupils are fluent readers and speakers, with a focus on oracy as a means of accessing the world.


  1. All pupils in Years 7-9 will engage in 5 minutes of independent reading at the start of lessons, carrying an appropriate reading book as part of their equipment requirements.
  2. All pupils will be provided opportunities to engage in ‘popcorn reading’, across their subjects.
  3. All pupils will read at least one shared text per half-term in DEAR time-led by the form tutor and based around a culturally relevant topic or theme. This will then form part of a half-termly homework reading task, that is ‘reviewed’ in form time through a series of pre-planned text-dependent questions.