Literacy covers the three key aspects of reading, writing, and speaking & listening. Mastering these skills is not only essential for life, but will also ensure the full curriculum can be accessed and success achieved in all subjects. At Wilsthorpe, we take a cross-curricular approach to literacy. All staff receive regular training and we have lots of whole-school programmes and initiatives to promote and improve literacy.

Wilsthorpe Literacy Strategy

The student shared Google Drive is full of supporting literacy resources which can be accessed from any device.

CGP workbooks and guides are available to purchase for your child through ParentPay from only £2.60 each.

Reading for pleasure is vital for improving your child’s literacy. All students must read for pleasure for a minimum of 15-30 minutes per night or equivalent. Each student has their reading ability tested each year, which produces a reading age. This information will be shared with you and is used by staff to monitor improvement and provide support/challenge where necessary.

Regular reading is proven to:

  • Improve vocabulary, spelling, writing and speaking skills.
  • Develop imagination, empathy and critical-thinking skills.
  • Improve mental health and increase confidence.
  • Improve your child’s chances of getting better grades in all subjects; and improve career prospects in later life.
  • Be fun and enjoyable!

Reading is the most significant indicator of life chances.

Lots of Wilsthorpe students say that they get distracted when trying to read, and this is where you as parents can really support them in establishing helpful routines around reading. For example: insist reading is completed before rewarding with screen time. Alternatively, ensure reading is completed in bed before sleep: this is much healthier than looking at a screen before going to sleep and will also improve sleep quality. Also ask your child questions on what they have been reading to encourage them and check comprehension.

What to Read
It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. Our Library is open before, after and during schools hours and all students have sessions timetabled in there. We expect all of our pupils to have a reading book in their bag at all times. Students are rewarded every time they finish reading a book. To make choosing a book simpler, we have ‘Year Group’ reading lists and a ‘Super Readable Reads’ section in the Library for those students who may find reading more difficult.

81 Novel Ideas

Recommended Reading Lists:

  • Ensure your child knows a range of connectives – these can ensure extended answers are logically structured and developed.
  • Encourage your child to write for pleasure: a diary entry, a story, letters to family, an opinion piece – fiction or non-fiction – anything goes!
  • Planning: encourage your child to plan before attempting an extended piece of writing.
  • Proofread: teachers at Wilsthorpe encourage pupils to check their written work before they see it as ‘finished’. Encourage your child to check for full stops, capital letters and spelling mistakes as the very basics.
  • Read aloud to punctuate: get your child to read out their completed work and they should hopefully hear where the punctuation should go. If not, try reading it to them with the correct pauses for punctuation (rather than simply telling them where the punctuation goes).
  • Make your fridge a word wall: using magnetic fridge letters, you could create vocabulary lists (such as alternative words for ‘good’) or put up commonly-misspelled words on the fridge door! A variation on this is to put up words that are incorrect and ask them to spot the mistakes.


Academic Word List

Word Study Template


As long as handwriting is legible, priority should be given to the speed of writing over neatness. Not getting enough down on the page within time limits can be a barrier to success. If your child does need to make their writing more legible, there is a booklet available to download and print.

Handwriting Support Booklet

We believe it is vital for every child to ‘find their voice’: for success in education and the wider world. Successful speakers understand how to be polite and respectful, actively listen and articulate themselves, as well adapt their speaking for different audiences and purposes. Being able to scrutinise and develop ideas are just as important in speech as they are in writing. In lessons, we use the ABC Discussion model and remind our students how to speak to others appropriately and effectively.

Parents may wish to follow the ‘Talk with TRUST’ model when speaking to your child:

  • Take turns to talk
  • Recap ideas
  • Use lots of encouragement
  • Share and talk about experiences
  • Tune-in and be interested

Please explicitly discuss speaking with your child – explain and model successful communication to them. Help them to prepare and practice for spoken interviews and presentations.

An example of ‘Talk with TRUST’
ABC Discussion Model
Effective Speaking and Listening

All Key Stage 3 students have access to the Literacy Planet website, which includes a range of fun activities proven to improve Literacy. Logins are available from English teachers. Key Stage 3 students with a lower reading age will receive literacy books for free of charge at the start of each academic year.

Key Stage 3 Parent Guide

Knowledge Organisers
The Knowledge Organiser includes a ‘Reading Log’ to fill out. These are checked once a fortnight in Library lessons. Please ensure your child has read and sign the log to confirm they have done so. Secondly, the ‘Grammar’ page lists spellings to be learnt, which will be tested fortnightly in Grammar lessons. Encourage your child to use the ‘look, cover, write, check’ method to help them to learn these, as well as the meaning of the words.

All of the information above becomes even more important for pupils at Key Stage 4. For success at GCSE, it is essential that pupils can read and understand exam questions and communicate clearly in their writing under time pressure. It is also important to note that many GCSE exams, not just English, award marks for SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). Pupils will also have to attend interviews when applying for post-16 places so confident speaking skills are essential.

Students must:

  • Keep reading for pleasure.
  • Know how to use a range of punctuation and sentence types.
  • Practice timed exam responses.
  • Plan any extended responses.
  • Write accurately and proofread their writing.
  • Break down and highlight key words in exam questions to aid understanding.
  • Know and understand a range of vocabulary, connectives, command words and the words on the ‘Academic Word List’ (see the writing section).
  • Practice for interviews and spoken presentations.

Key Stage 4 Parent Guide

Strong literacy skills (as outlined above) are vital for students to meet the demands of Sixth Form study. It is essential that pupils can respond to questions and tasks in a sophisticated way – often under time pressure. Discussion and debate are central to our curriculum and pupils will have to attend interviews when either applying for university or jobs, so confident speaking skills are essential.

Sixth Form students must:

  • Read for pleasure for a minimum of 30 minutes a night.
  • Undertake wider subject reading.
  • Regularly read online broadsheets.
  • Be able to write academically and use a full range of punctuation.

Wider reading ‘around’ subjects is really important to model academic writing styles to students. It also gives them the extra knowledge they need to improve their grades and show off their ‘expertise’ to universities or employers, who will expect Sixth Formers to be well read and have a sound knowledge of current affairs.

Sixth Form Wider Reading
Key Stage 5 Sixth Form Literacy

Literacy Leaders are a group of Wilsthorpe students who aim to promote literacy across the school. The Literacy Leaders meet in Room 102 during Monday lunchtimes. New members of any age and ability are welcome – this is a rewarding opportunity to help others and enhance CVs.

Our Library

At Wilsthorpe we are proud of our Library which is a vibrant, well-loved and popular space. Our mission is to support the curriculum and also to promote reading for pleasure.  


Our collection contains over 7,000 fiction and information books for students and staff to use. We also stock over 200 films and hold newspapers and academic journals. In addition, we house a careers section. Students are generally allowed to borrow two items at a time, although further loans can be borrowed on agreement with the librarians. We also have 30 networked computers and a colour printer and photocopier for students to access throughout the school day. 

The Librarians produce a termly newsletter, to inform students of events, competitions, latest recommended reads, positive national news items and fun activities. 

Library Lessons, Clubs and Activities 

Students in Key Stage 3 have timetabled library lessons once a fortnight. This gives us an opportunity to recommend new and important works of fiction. We work collaboratively with the English department to ensure these lessons are interactive and informative. Students are also able to access the Library during break times and after school most days.  

Throughout the year we run various activities to promote reading for pleasure including, celebrating World Book Day, participating in author events and shadowing book awards including the Carnegie Award and the Derbyshire Schools’ Book Award. We also run after school clubs including: a Book Club, Chess Club, and Film Club. At Film Club students enjoy watching the latest movies and participating in fun activities such as stage make-up workshops. 

Opening times 

  • Monday           8.35 – 3.00 
  • Tuesday           8.35 – 4.00 
  • Wednesday    8.35 – 4.00 
  • Thursday         8.35 – 4.00 
  • Friday              8.35 – 3.00  

Library Managers 

Mrs Trickey BA MA MCLIP

Mrs Briggs MCLIP