KSS Literacy Strategy

Kidsgrove Secondary School’s curriculum offer provides our pupils with a multitude of learning opportunities within various subject areas. However, analysis of pupil groups identifies literacy skills as one of the greatest barriers to students accessing the curriculum. It is recognised nationally that effective reading skills and a broad vocabulary strongly correlate with successful academic outcomes. Evidence collated from multiple sources (baseline assessments, the graduated response process, staff feedback, performance data, work scrutiny, pupil pursuits and access arrangement applications) reinforces that a robust literacy strategy should be followed to develop a positive reading culture and secure the outcomes for our learners to progress. Our aim is to ensure pupils are prepared with the skills required for their chosen programmes of study at KS4, enabling them to achieve and progress to the next stage of education.


From September 2023 Kidsgrove Secondary School have partnered up with Sparx Reader to launch an additional layer to the reading strategy.  

Sparx Reader is a reading, comprehension and vocabulary programme that gets all young people reading regularly to help improve their literacy and motivates them to read for pleasure.  Any device with a web browser is able to access Sparx Reader. 

Students take a test and then they choose a book according to their level. Sparx Reader will regularly check their understanding of the story throughout the book by asking question based on comprehension of the text they are reading.  Students are rewarded Sparx Reader Points by reading carefully and over time, their literacy and reading abilities will improve. Students need to achieve 300 Sparx Points each week. 

Students always have a choice in what they read as this is important to develop our reading for pleasure culture. The e-book library has modern fiction books from many publishers as well as classic stories. Once pupils reach the gold level, they have autonomy over the text they choose; they can add their own books from home too. 

Tasks are personalised based on each student's reading ability so that every student can be successful with their reading. The books that a student can choose from are carefully chosen so that the text is accessible yet suitably challenging. 

In addition, and more recently, daily vocabulary puzzles are now available so pupils can discover, and practise new words presented to them in context. Over time, this will support student to develop their vocabulary.  


Lens 1: Provision for all

The literacy strategy is applied throughout all areas of the school curriculum, with everyone being responsible for developing a reading culture that prioritises reading and vocabulary. The table below outlines the school’s approach to quality reading provision following guidance from the DFE Reading Strategy and EEF Guidance Report. 





Quality First Teaching – High quality teaching that prioritises reading development.

  • Teachers develop pupils’ reading accuracy, automaticity, and prosody.
  • Time is given to pupils reading a lot of text, across the school curriculum, to develop their reading fluency.
  • Knowledge necessary for comprehension is taught explicitly and includes vocabulary, knowledge of narrative structure, lexical and syntactical knowledge, as well as knowledge of context and ideas in the text.
  • Teachers emphasise the relationships between words, helping pupils to explore morphology and etymology to support their comprehension and spelling.
  • Teachers encourage pupils to read for pleasure while ensuring that they become accomplished readers as soon as possible.
  • Planned and spaced recall helps pupils to retain the new vocabulary they have learned.

Disciplinary literacy – Creating a love for reading.


Disciplinary literacy is an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum that emphasises the importance of subject specific support. All teachers should teach students to read, write and communicate effectively in their subjects.

Targeted vocabulary

Word recognition and language

Teachers in every subject provide explicitly vocabulary instruction to help students access and use academic language. Teachers should prioritise the teaching of tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary, which student are unlikely to hear in everyday speech.

Reading complex texts – Appropriately matched texts

Develop students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts. This involves students’ actively engaging with what they are reading and can be developed through retrieval activities, comprehension-based quizzes/questioning, prediction and modelling work. Extended learning tasks that involve a reading activities may be built into planning. Adaptive teaching is at the forefront of the delivery of complex texts as KS3 access two pathways depending upon ability. Students with a lower prior reading ability access a foundation pathway during English lessons and those with a higher prior reading ability access a traditional pathway. These pathways determine whether an abridged text is used or not.

Breakdown complex/extended writing tasks

Writing is challenging and students in every subject will benefit from explicit instruction in how to improve.

Teachers can break writing down into planning, monitoring and evaluation, and can support students by modelling each step.

Targeted support should be provided to students who struggle to write fluently, as this may affect writing quality.

Teachers can use a variety of approaches, including collaborative and paired writing, to motivate students to write.


Combining reading and writing instruction

Students should be taught to recognise features of good writing, with spelling, grammar, and punctuation development. 

Opportunities for structured talk/oracy

High-quality talk is encouraged, structured, and guided by teachers. All staff can model high-quality talk.

Quality Literacy interventions – Catch-up and interventions

Proactive planning to support students with the weakest levels of literacy. A tiered level of support is offered with assessment informing the appropriate level and impact of support. See The Simple View of Reading for further guidance. 

Assessment: Question level analysis across curriculum for gap identification, Literacy Assessment Online, Phonics development, Marking and Feedback.


CPD: High quality staff training, bulletin focus/weekly updates, peer evaluation/sharing good practice, monitoring, mentoring and coaching.


Lens 2: Literacy assessment and support cycle



Cycle stage




  • All students are assessed, and their reading age data collated. This is then shared with all staff.
  • Subject staff will have their own subject specific attainment data and QLA.
  • Subject staff identify barrier to learning and inform the TA, where appropriate, TA is then deployed efficiently to support.
  • Subject staff put in place relevant interventions to support at a subject specific level.
  • Literacy interventions (see pathways below)
  • Access arrangements arranged by SENDCo.



  • KSS has a working together approach. All class teachers work with the SENDCo to identify and to adapt teaching appropriately.
  • Pupil voice are completed by all departments with results share with HoDs and SLT.
  • Parent and carer communication via reporting systems then enable us to plan interventions effectively for those who require


  • After all students have been assessed and any barriers to learning are identified they then go onto a particular pathway. Either Keep Up, Catch Up or Intervention.
  • It is then for the subject teacher to work in depth with all students (QFT)
  • Students then produce the work for marking and feedback.



  • The review stage is what happens after the work has been marked and feedback.
  • If progress is good, then the cycle continues to be QFT > Do > Feedback
  • If during the review stage, the subject teacher identifies gaps in knowledge, it is the responsibility of the teacher to bridge these gaps.
  • If the gaps are growing due to literacy barriers or SENd barriers, the relevant member of staff is to be consulted for support.
  • Progress and tracking data is a vital part of the review stage
  • Pupil voice is also regularly completed to inform curriculum impact (KC).
  • Report system also utilised to send home information and data


  • *N.B. Decision to be made regarding the level of support/intervention required during this stage where appropriate.





Literacy Keep-up

Literacy Catch-up

Literacy Intervention


Students are working at an appropriate literacy level (e.g. Reading age same as/ exceeding or close to chronological age) that enables them to access all areas of the curriculum.


  • Form time reading and comprehension activity (The Day).


  • Embedded literacy tasks in subject areas e.g. extended writing.


  • Key terms/definitions & topic spellings


  • Tier 2 & 3 vocabulary teaching in all subject areas


  • Reading room


  • Drop Everything and Read


  • Sparx Reader



Students’ literacy levels are behind their current chronological age. There is a potential barrier to learning that could limit progress in curriculum areas and/or in specific tasks.


  • Timetabled group literacy activities (The Day and Read Theory).


  • Adapted literacy tasks in subject areas to develop literacy skills.


  • Key terms/definitions


  • Topic spellings


  • Access arrangements


  • Reading buddies


  • TA reading intervention

Students’ literacy levels are significantly behind their current chronological age. There is an evident barrier to learning that limits curriculum access. Students require high levels of differentiation to complete learning activities.


  • LSC timetabled literacy intervention (HLTA planned).


  • Structured small group pre-teach lessons in LSC with HLTA (Teacher provide content).


  • Bespoke/targeted 1:1 & group interventions (e.g. systematic and synthetic phonics programme, comprehension, grammar, analytical reading etc.).


  • Access arrangements