At  Swanwick Hall School, we take the development of students’ literacy extremely seriously. All of our staff are trained, and supported, to be teachers of literacy. We know from research that students who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of their life. Developing students’ literacy is a priority to meet our mission of enhancing students’ life choices and enabling them to make a positive contribution to the world we share.

All The Two Counties Trust schools are working on embedding five key strategies to embed literacy across the curriculum, these are:

  • Implementing a Trust-wide word of the week strategy.
  • Resourcing, tracking and monitoring teacher (fiction) recommendations to students.
  • Resourcing, tracking and monitoring fiction reading lists for each year group.
  • Structuring talk/oracy expectations , e.g. speaking in full sentences.
  • Embedding Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary across all subjects.

The most valuable thing that families can do is to encoruage their child to read for pleasure. It is important to encourage children to read regularly for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.

Reading regularly is proven to develop imagination as well as increase vocabulary and improve spelling, writing, and speaking skills. Reading frequently also helps to create empathy towards others, develop critical thinking skills, and increase confidence and improve mental health. Regular reading boosts the chances of gaining better grades in all subject areas across secondary school, which will result in improving career prospects in later life. Reading can also be fun and enjoyable for children.

It is important that your child is reading a suitable book. If your child needs support selecting a book, they can speak to their tutor who will arrange a library visit with Mrs Gonsai, our school librarian, who will be happy to help.

Reading with your child is another fantastic way to support literacy. Just because your children are older, it doesn’t mean you need to stop sharing stories. Whilst reading together, talk about word meanings, discuss new or interesting words. Ask questions before, during and after reading together to help develop ‘infectious enthusiasm’ about the book you are reading together.

Other fantastic ways to support literacy at home:

  • Play word games e.g. Taboo, Scrabble, Articulate
  • Watch quiz shows together e.g. the Chase
  • Engage in conversations about the news and world events
  • Model reading behaviour at home
  • Talk about school
  • Review homework together
  • Have a family bookshelf with a mixture of your famalies favourite books, newspapers and magazines
  • Subcribe to magazines that your child might be interested in
  • Spend time to take a trip to a library or book store together to select a new book to read
  • Listen to audio books or podcasts in the car
  • Have some technology down time where you focus as a family to engage in reading
  • Buy books as presents
  • Encourage your child to bring a book to school every day

Hushed reading

In year 7 and 8, students take part in hushed reading daily from 8.45-9.00am. On a Tuesday morning, the reading continues until 9.10am. Form tutors also read during the Tuesday reading time to model fantastic reading behaviours for our students.

Form time reading by our tutors

On a Tuesday morning, during tutor time across years 9-11, our tutors read carefully selected short stories to our students. This helps to model our teachers as readers, encouraging our students to experience reading as fun and positive experience. It also helps to build strong vocabulary, build connections between spoken and written words, strengthens cognition and provides a safe space to explore strong emotions linked to the stories being read. The book choices also have strong links to SMSC and our fundamental British values, providing avenues for our students to explore these themes with a trusted adult.


Every month, across KS3, our students take part in ‘drop everything and listen.’ This takes the form of a rolling read for the first ten minutes of every lesson from periods one to five. Our fantastic librarian carefully selects a fiction book that is split into extracts for teachers to read throughout the day. Once again this provides students with a positive and pleasurable reading experience.


Y6 students from all primary feeder schools receive a free book to read in their first term at Swanwick Hall, together with an activity pack to support their Literacy. Mrs Gonsai has carefully selected a choice of six books that students can select. Students will then be offered the chance to take part in a book swap and book review competition.

Staff book reviews

Every month, one of our staff members will complete a teacher book review in the form of an audio PowerPoint which is played to students during tutor time. The review focusses on a recent read where the staff member talks about what they liked, disliked, key moments they took from the book, as well as a Swanwick Hall rating out of five. This strategy promotes reading across the school but also helps to recommend book choices to our students.

Literacy Teaching and Learning Group

We have a teaching and learning group focussed on driving forward literacy across the school. The group is composed of a range of staff from across the school, including teachers and support staff. The group works together to research current literature around our current literacy priorities, trial and develop new strategies in lessons, as well as drip feeding pedagogy and teaching strategies to their faculty teams. The group meets once per half-term and are the hub of literacy practice within the school.