What is Literacy?

Literacy is the ability to communicate, to read and to write. 

It is also the ability to identify and use an appropriate register in spoken and written communications.

Finally, it is the ability to recognise the need for accurate information and that complete and accurate information is the basis for intelligent problem-solving and decision making.

Maiden Erlegh is committed to promoting whole school literacy across all year groups in order to support their learning and raise standards. Literacy underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ ability to: speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. Helping students to express themselves clearly orally and in writing enhances and enriches teaching and learning in all subjects.

We believe that literacy allows people to use language to enhance their capacity to think, create and question, enabling them to become more aware of the world and empowering them to participate more effectively in society.

We are committed to developing literacy skills in all our pupils, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards in all subject areas. Language is the prime medium through which students learn and express themselves across the curriculum, and all teachers have a stake in effective literacy.


Here are some practical strategies to help develop your child’s literacy skills.

Reading strategies:

  • Encourage you child to read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Encourage your child to make predictions about the book they are reading
  • Take them to local libraries or bookshops and encourage them to select books they are interested in
  • Ensure your child’s book is appropriate for their ability- too challenging will put them off and too easy may not be rewarding
  • Read yourself; It is helpful if children see their parents reading
  • Audio books could be used to help create interest in an author and improve creativity and imagination
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to express views on the text e.g. plot, setting, mood and character
  • Identify language devices a writer uses e.g. adjectives, similes and metaphors
  • Research the context of the novel e.g. World War 2, Victorian times or a particular culture or country

Writing strategies:

  • •Ask to see their books regularly and ask them about what they are doing.
  • Aid them in correcting spelling errors.
  • Encourage your child to improve their vocabulary by selecting different words to enhance their range. Admit any spelling difficulties of your own but encourage use of a thesaurus and dictionary at home to help improve them. They are also available online.
  • Encourage your child to learn challenging spellings
  • Create a newspaper article about their favourite subject at school.
  • Write a persuasive speech or letter.
  • Creative writing based on a personal experience.
  • Create a story board based on an extract, scene or non-fiction text.

Speaking and listening strategies:

  • •When your child comes home try talking to them about their day and the things they have done. Try to use “open questions” that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead of “Did you have a good day?” try asking “What was the best part of your day today?” This will encourage your child to share more information about their school day.
  • Talking with others is a great way to develop vocabulary; the more we talk, the more we pick up on different words that other people may use.
  • Encourage your child to talk and share their opinions
  • Encourage your child to talk to people of all ages, they could read aloud to younger siblings, explaining the story as they go or sit with grandparents and older relatives and talk about their own experiences in life.
  • If your child is preparing for a speaking and listening activity, allow them space at home to practise what they want to say. This will also help to boost confidence as it will help them to feel secure in what they are going to do.

You can also try these websites. They include activities for your child and information and advice for parents.

Rebecca Elliott
Literacy Coordinator