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St John the Baptist Primary School, Belfast

Language & Literacy




We aim to enable each child to read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of strategies to self-monitor and correct, to have an interest in books and read for enjoyment, to extend their vocabulary with an interest in words and their meanings, to understand a range of genres and be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to each situation.

Our main aim is to ensure every single child progresses in the areas of reading, writing, talking and listening.

Teachers plan and teach lessons which focus on the particular needs of each child.  Work is differentiated according to ability and support staff are deployed where necessary. Intervention programmes in school are delivered where required following assessment. Some are offered as part of our After School Programme. Progress is tracked to ensure every child can celebrate success.

Literacy is not only a daily, discrete lesson, but it is at the core of the entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons, and we aim for a high standard for all, through the use of current, high-quality texts and vocabulary rich learning environments. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and subsequent high-quality writing from each child. All children explore a variety of genres throughout the year, which helps to utilise and embed their writing skills.

Teachers are able to embed the literacy skills throughout the year in cross curricular writing opportunities to ensure that children are achieving at the expected level and that some achieve at a greater standard.



SJB has a strong focus on developing the child as a reader. Time is devoted to the teaching of reading on a daily basis. We have a whole-school approach to independent reading using D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) when children read silently for a sustained period each morning or afternoon.

Each class has dedicated guided reading sessions for each group. Children are given a home reading book as well as an additional book to encourage independent reading. A Reading Record Book enables communication between parents and teachers.

The school uses ‘Accelerated Reader’ to assess the children’s understanding of texts that they have independently read. All home reading books are organised according to Accelerated Reader ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD). Each child has an individual reading level, as set by the ‘Star Reading Test’ system on ‘Accelerated Reader’. Teachers can ensure that children are reading books suitable for both their age and ability. Library books are organised into fiction and non-fiction and the children have free choice when selecting their library book. All classes have access to our school library and throughout KS1 and KS2 each class will explore set class novels. Each class also has a well-stocked and inviting class library for the children to access and enjoy.


For our school year 2021-2022 we surpassed all targets in Accelerated Reader as we celebrated:

49 Word Millionaires

One Quadruple Millionaire

Two Double Millionaires

119 million words read from P4-P7


We have a Reading Buddy Programme for our KS2 pupils who are paired with Sixth Form partners from our local post-primary school.

We also have an in-school Reading Buddy Programme where our Primary 7 pupils are paired with children from Foundation Stage.

We have participated regularly and successfully in the Poetry in Motion literary programme.  This provides an additional opportunity for the children to develop their creativity, explore the language of poetry and work with a 'real live poet'! 

Our Autumn Book Fair provides an opportunity for children and adults to explore the latest and popular publications. Due to the annual generosity of our school community, our Book Fair generates more than £2000 in sales. Our commission enables us to replenish independent reading stock for every class as well as supplementing stock in our three reading rooms. 

Literacy Workshops are offered to assist parents with aspects of phonics, spellings and reading.



As all aspects of literacy are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing

standards are high and skills taught in the literacy lesson are transferred into other

subjects. Our children are confident writers and are familiar with a wide range of genres.


Due to the rich reading environment in SJB, our children are fluent, expressive readers with

excellent understanding and a highly developed vocabulary. Reward systems and our staff’s

passion ensure that children develop a life- long love of books and reading.