Pontefract Road, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 4JB, admin@sjc.bkcat.co.uk

Tel: 01977 555780


At St Joseph’s we believe literacy is a fundamental part of every child's education and we are committed to ensuring that literacy skills are promoted throughout the curriculum, as well as in daily lessons. We ensure continuity and progression in the teaching of the subject, in addition to the integration of literacy within our other curriculum areas. We aim to encourage a love and enthusiasm for reading and writing that will serve our children well as they move through life. Underpinning the literacy opportunities found throughout the curriculum are high expectations and an ethos of high achievement.

Our aim is to teach children to communicate clearly and with confidence in a range of situations. We develop their skills for self-expression, extend their vocabulary and build up the grammatical constructs which are necessary to develop and express more complex thoughts. Children are given opportunities to speak in formal (e.g. class assemblies, school productions, presentations etc.) and informal situations (circle time, 'show and tell' etc.), both prepared and unprepared. They benefit from group work, discussion and debate in literacy lessons throughout the curriculum. We understand and aim to promote the importance of talk as a basis for writing.

We believe that good listening is the key to most learning and mental development, and we therefore promote active listening. Through this, children can achieve mental focus and development, improved thinking skills, socially accepted behaviour and the ability to reflect. This is achieved through insistence on mental focus, listening games and activities, the modelling of standard English and a range of other activities.

Writing does not exist in our culture in a separate, unrelated space or as an isolated pursuit. It is a meaningful activity, completely linked to a wide range of literacy events, with very clear purposes. It develops best where opportunities are provided for extended discussion and developmental talk to support and encourage the writing process. Writing has a better chance of succeeding with pupils who increasingly understand about how a range of texts, carefully constructed for identified audiences, can interact to serve social and learning purposes. In KS2 we teach a lot of our writing through novels as this supports and scaffolds the different genres.

We aim to:

  • ensure pupils read widely, frequently and independently to make greater progress in writing
  • focus on text level objectives such as: What purpose(s) does this work serve? What is characteristic of these sorts of texts? How do published authors achieve these written outcomes?
  • provide constant feedback in the literacy sessions through 'talk partners', teacher / other adults and at the time of composition
  • ensure shared and guided reading form key features of literacy sessions, involving a balance of reading and writing
  • provide opportunities to work on sustained pieces of writing, in which new skills and knowledge should be encouraged
  • recognise the importance of integrating the specific skills taught with good opportunities to use them in genuine writing contexts
  • encourage pupils to articulate their own thoughts, insights, problems, fears, enthusiasms - how they feel about themselves as writers and their levels of self-esteem

Reading is a complex skill with many components. Successful approaches to the teaching of reading should encourage children to use a variety of strategies in their pursuit of meaning. Reading should be a valuable and rewarding aspect to children's learning and consequently should open the door to a world of knowledge. We aim to:

  • encourage a love of reading
  • build on the child's prior knowledge and literacy experience
  • recognise and value the parents / carers role as prime educators in the pre-school years, and work together to develop the child's reading skills
  • teach our pupils to become confident, independent, reflective readers who read from a range of texts for a variety of purposes
  • deliver a structured and progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading
  • create a reading culture by providing a rich language environment within the classroom and throughout the school
  • select appropriate resources to motivate, challenge and extend pupils effectively
  • identify pupils who require additional support and intervene at an early stage
  • monitor reading progress and levels of attainment closely
  • promote an ethos of achievement by setting high expectations and challenging targets

A structured phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’, is delivered times daily in Upper Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 by teachers and Learning Support Assistants. This is extended into Key Stage 2 where appropriate. Children’s progress in phonics is closely monitored and children progress through the phases and move groups according to needs.

St Joseph's Teaching of Reading


At St Joseph’s we believe that drama and role play are powerful tools for learning, both in its own right and in developing skills across the curriculum. Drama utilises children's natural ability to play and imagine other worlds as well as provide purposeful and meaningful contexts for learning - both real and imaginary. It also provides opportunities to develop empathy and a strong sense of community allowing for social learning. Staff use a range of drama strategies and conventions within their lessons, such as Teacher in Role and Hot-Seating to bring their lessons to life. Our aim is to use drama as a learning medium to:

  • ensure every child succeeds
  • build on what learners already know
  • make learning vivid and real
  • make the learning an enjoyable and challenging experience
  • enrich the learning experience
  • promote assessment for learning

At St Joseph’s we aim to ensure that all children are engaged and excited by literacy. To achieve this we provide a great variety of opportunities for children to experience literacy in a wider context. These opportunities have included World Book Day activities, themed writing weeks, writing competitions, visiting theatre groups, puppet workshops and visits to the theatre. Children participate regularly in assemblies, performances and masses and other liturgies within the church’s year.