"Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won't be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won't be able to support their own child's learning." National Literacy Trust

These courses will support the development of literacy, a key skill for life and work.
Talking Partners

Literacy Support Training Programme

Talking Partners is a structured oral language programme that aims to improve Key Stage 3 students’ talking and listening skills. Targeted pupils are those whose oral language is delayed, who lack confidence and fluency and who demonstrate a narrow vocabulary or poor expressive language. There will be a knock-on effect on pupils’ writing, so writing standards are also monitored along with oral skills.

This programme aims to improve confidence and oral skills and accelerate learning resulting in increased independence in talking and listening. There is also evidence of an improvement in writing as a direct result. The emphasis is on praise, a positive environment and specific prompts to extend learning.

Participants are given two days’ training following which they work with groups of three or four pupils from their own school for one hourly session and one or two follow-up sessions of ten minutes per week for ten weeks. Pupils will learn how to listen more actively and how to talk for a variety of purposes. The wide range of activities and strategies have been specifically devised to support the development of oral language skills.

Skills learned in Talking Partners support talking and listening in class through an understanding of the skills and strategies promoted during the training.

This programme has been shown to be effective for pupils who:

  • Lack skills or confidence as speakers and listeners.
  • Have speech, language and communication difficulties.
  • Are EAL students (English as an Additional Language).
  • Are gifted and talented.
  • Have mild, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Key areas that will be explored:

  • Discussion and analysis of how pupils learn.
  • Opportunities to try the range of activities in the programme.
  • Learning how to plan activities and find resources.
  • Looking at how to record progress.
Boosted Reading @ Secondary


This programme supports the acquisition of good reading skills and is specifically designed to improve the way students read, enabling them to be independent problem-solvers who read with understanding and enjoyment, which in turn opens the door to the wider curriculum.

Once trained, the attendee will return to school and work with pupils for fifteen minutes on a one-to-one basis three times a week for ten weeks.

Each session includes:

  • Practising independent reading skills on a familiar text.
  • Ongoing assessment.
  • Working on an unfamiliar text with support, leading to reading with independence and understanding.

This programme is targeted at Key Stage 3 students who typically have a reading age of two or three years below their chronological reading age.

This training course is delivered over two days and is designed for classroom assistants, learning mentors or school-based volunteers. The training provides a good mix of teaching, discussion and activities to practise skills and develop understanding.

It includes:

  • Observing two lessons.
  • An understanding of the reading process.
  • Developing question skills.
  • Assessment and close observation techniques.

Training and materials have been designed so that Boosting Reading @ Secondary can be delivered confidently and easily by the trained adult. The programme also enhances attendees’ skills and confidence in supporting literacy effectively in other contexts.

Getting Clever with Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

Modern forms of communication often disregard the rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling but the accurate use of language remains key to effective writing and academic success. This course will provide advice and guidance on the integration and development of language skills in the contexts of speaking, reading and writing.

Research shows that anxiety around spelling can inhibit good and creative writing. This means that rich opportunities must be provided in class to encourage children to develop vocabulary in an interesting range of contexts through, for example, ‘Talk for Writing’ activities. This will be explored during the course.

Attendees will be provided with fun and engaging activities and learning strategies to use in their classroom to develop and extend the knowledge, understanding and skills of pupils.

The course will provide an opportunity to discuss ongoing issues surrounding spelling, punctuation and grammar in a friendly and supportive workshop environment. We will review the differences in spoken and written language and the difficulties that some children face using grammatical constructs in their written exposition.

The writing skills workshop will explore basic rules of punctuation and grammar and provide interactive opportunities and activities to practise them.

Key areas that will be explored:

  • Understanding what grammar is and how grammar should be taught. 
  • A range of engaging interactive resources to get down to the nitty-gritty of grammar.
  • Exploring grammar games and activities to reinforce knowledge of the basic rules and conventions of English grammar in fun contexts.
  • Creative rules for punctuation using a problem-solving approach.
  • Familiarisation of basic spelling patterns and common problems such as double letters, vowel sounds, silent letters and the use of memorising strategies.
  • Improving sentence construction, the use of sentence variation for effect and developing a style.
Supporting Literacy Improvement - Introductory

Introductory Skills for Classroom Assistants

The aim of this course is to provide an opportunity to discuss a variety of approaches for use by classroom assistants and literacy-support personnel in class or in contexts of withdrawal.

The role of the classroom assistant will be described and discussed, both in the contexts of in-class support and in withdrawal.

This course will examine the difficulties encountered by some readers and writers and the processes involved in using language to read, understand and communicate with a range of audiences. Assessment strategies and intervention approaches will be shared.

All participants will be invited to evaluate the progress made by pupils through the use of recommended reading and comprehension tests.

Following this course it is recommended that attendees take the advanced Supporting Literacy Improvement programme where further skills and techniques will be explored and developed.

Key areas that will be explored:

  • The role of literacy-support personnel in the context of literacy development.
  • How to use the language model of text, sentence and word.
  • The links between the three modes of language: talking and listening, reading and writing.
  • A range of strategies to support reading and writing.
  • Appropriate resources and programmes to suit a wide range of needs.
Supporting Literacy Improvement - Advanced

Advanced Skills for Classroom Assistants

This course will follow on from Supporting Literacy Improvement (Introductory Skills for Classroom Assistants). Links will be made back to elements of the previous course to emphasise the ways in which talking, reading and writing are interdependent.

The aim of this course will be to provide an opportunity to discuss different approaches for use by classroom assistants and literacy-support personnel in class or in contexts of withdrawal.

Training will examine the challenges and difficulties experienced by some writers and the processes involved in understanding the conventions of the basic skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Writers benefit from understanding the relevance of audience and purpose when constructing sentences and building paragraphs and whole texts. These will form an important focus of the course.

Key areas that will be explored:

  • The role of literacy-support personnel in the context of literacy development.
  • The importance of the surface skills of writing.
  • How to apply a variety of approaches used when linking ‘Talk for Writing’.
  • The relevance of audience and purpose.
  • Appropriate resources and programmes to suit a wide range of needs.
Helping Students Reach their full Potential

GCSE English Catch-up Programme

GCSE English is a desirable qualification for everyone and a must for almost all careers. English teachers endeavour to support those students who are struggling to achieve a C grade or above. This course provides additional support and guidance directly to those underperforming students and has proven very helpful.

This intensive but fun one-day course can address any unit or aspect of the GCSE English paper.

As an example, the most requested element is the English language examination where the following are explored:

  • Reading non-fiction and media texts.
  • Identifying audience and purpose.
  • Analysing the language features of non-fiction and media texts.
  • Discussing appropriate answers to tasks 2–5 from Section B.

This session is delivered by highly experienced English teachers and facilitators who have years of experience teaching GCSE English.

Phone us to discuss your individual needs. Many educational organisations have arranged this session to be delivered with a partnering educational group.

Parent Literacy Focus

Helping Parents Support their Child in Literacy

We all know the phrase ‘parents are children’s first teachers’. Well, in reality they never stop being their teachers. Research shows that parental interest and involvement in a child and young person’s learning and education is more important than anything else in helping children fulfil their potential. Parents are the ones who go along with their child on their learning journey through to adulthood. This course will provide parents with the confidence, tools and strategies they need to get more actively involved.

The aim of this workshop is to share an understanding of the importance of oral language and to make links with writing and reading. During this fun and interactive session we will discuss what is involved when readers try to understand what they have read at the literal and inferential level.

Key areas that will be explored:

  • Why reading skills remain central to learning and success.
  • Placing the emphasis on understanding what is being read.
  • The variety of reading materials: choices in fiction and non-fiction.
  • How parents can help and encourage their young readers.

Phone us to discuss your individual needs. Many educational organisations have arranged this session to be delivered with a partnering educational group.