...Love Literacy

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  Frederick Douglass

At DPHS we want our students to be free. We want them to be able to choose whatever future they desire and have the necessary skills to be successful. Literacy is fundamental to our students’ lives, enabling them to function in their everyday lives whilst giving them the lifelong skills to be able to communicate and create, to articulate their ideas and understand and interpret the ideas of others.

The simplest definition for literacy is the ability to read and write, but in total there are four strands of literacy:

  • speaking
  • listening
  • reading
  • writing

Our students use and develop their literacy skills in all of their lessons and examined subjects. Students are now marked on the quality of their written responses in their examinations across almost all GCSE subjects.

We believe that literacy begins with reading. At the heart of our literacy strategy is ‘reading for pleasure’. We expect all of our students to read in their own time and to bring their current reading book to school every day. We promote reading through a range of events and through Lesson One. Most importantly, we talk to our students about what they are reading and what we are reading. Having adults as literacy role models is essential to a child’s development. We also provide reading recommendations for our students and our parents. Please see our regular bulletin for these recommendations.

Our LRC is at the heart of the school and at the heart of literacy learning in DPHS. It is an outstanding resource where students can borrow a wide range of reading material and find a space to work and read.

When students are competent readers, they will be great writers. Writing also runs though our literacy learning. We hold regular writing events and competitions to promote writing and we believe that it is every teacher’s responsibility to develop their students’ writing ability.

Speaking and listening aids the development of both reading and writing and is in itself incredibly important. As such, we teach speaking and listening skills explicitly and run a range of highly successful speaking events.

Exciting events that promote a level of literacy!

In recent years we have held a fantastic range of events to develop out students reading, writing, speaking and listening. These include:

  • Celebrations of Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day and World Book Day;
  • A whole school writing day;
  • A whole school reading day;
  • Visiting writers John Hegley and Dan Freedman who held assemblies and workshops;
  • Writing competitions, leading to a number of our students’ work being published;
  • The House of Commons Parliamentary Debating Competition in which we have either won or achieved a high place every year that we have entered;
  • The Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge;
  • Carnegie Prize shadowing;
  • Reading groups.

What could you do to boost your child’s literacy levels?

  • Research proves the importance of the family home in raising literacy levels. Here are five suggestions you could adopt in your home:
  • Have a range of books at home (just having books in your home has a massive impact). Encourage your child to read every day at home and to visit the LRC at school or your local library.
  • Talk to your child about what he or she has read recently.
  • Read yourself! Be a literacy role model.
  • Help your child to proofread their written work. Assist her/him to check spellings and punctuation. Encourage your child to ask for clarification when unsure of a spelling or the use of a punctuation mark. See this website for more information:
  • Read the news together at least twice a week and discuss current events.

Helpful websites:

If you would like more information about literacy at DPHS or you would like to recommend a fantastic book to other parents, please contact me:

'The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.' Dr. Seuss, 'I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!'


We love inspiring our students to read. Often, we find a book we love and we read more by that author. It’s the same for our students so I hope that by visiting some of the websites below, our students will get even more ideas of books they would like to read.

Below are some links to authors’ websites who we have loved working with…

Below are links to authors whose books we love:

A group of our students always participates in the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme. See the following website for more details.