Literacy across Learning

The government has made it clear that literacy is the responsibility of all members of a secondary school community, not just teachers of English:

  • Literacy enables pupils to access all other areas of the curriculum
  • If literacy elements (e.g. understanding of written texts, extended writing, working with others) play a part in any subject’s final assessments, preparation for that should be embedded within courses from S1 onwards
  • Literacy opens up opportunities for pupils to talk about their learning. Engaging in a metacognitive approach drives forward learning, no matter what the subject.
  • Creating literacy-rush environments is one way in which the attainment gap can be narrowed

Here is a presentation given at Dunoon Grammar School in February 2017,  in which the importance of literacy across all of learning is outlined: Literacy across learning

In embedding literacy across the whole school, the following things are important to remember:

The literacy component should be at a suitable level of challenge – i.e. while the content is level 3 or 4 in your subject areas, is the nature of the literacy task also at level 3 or 4?

The literacy skills pupils are demonstrating should be discussed with them prior to the task – i.e. learning is made visible to pupils

Pupils should be encouraged to set literacy targets and self evaluate against them to create next steps i.e. there is a clear picture of literacy progress across the whole school

Argyll and Bute have a key resource to help support the development of literacy across learning in secondary schools: Learning across the curriculum: literacy guidance


Additional support resources:


Reading across learning

Before during and after reading strategies

Activities to support engagement with texts

Closing the word gap in science


Writing across learning

Types of writing you might use

Hints for how to build up to writing

Vocabulary to use for different types of writing

Editing and reviewing writing

Peer review sheet



Listening and Talking across learning

Discussion stems


Literacy Box

Developed in conjunction with Tobermory High, the contents of this box can be lamintaed, blown up to poster size, split into small sections etc and kept in each classroom. They can then be an important part of making the literacy learning visible to learners.

Any of the above resources can be included, but below are the original contents of the box:

For pupils informal letters and newspaper articles support

For pupils reading & formal letter writing support

For pupils reminder cards

For pupils Support for writing

For Teacher Before during and after reading strategies

For teachers or pupils glossary

I don’t understand a word

Language of discussion stems

Poster Giving a presentation

Poster Group Discussion

Poster Note Taking (original source: Earlston High School)

Poster Sounding persuasive

Poster Writing to Inform

Writing conventions 1

Blooms Question Fans (laminate, cut and add to keyring)