Improving Literacy in Key Stage Two

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

A seven-step plan to boost reading and writing skills for key stage 2 students has been made available by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) – the charity behind the well-known Teaching and Learning Toolkit.

The resource – entitled Improving Literacy in Key Stage Two – reviews the best available research and compiles practical recommendations on what makes effective literacy teaching.

The guidance says that teaching primary school pupils to write and spell “quickly as well as accurately” is vital. This is because pupils’ writing skills – including spelling, handwriting and typing – need to become automatic so that they can concentrate on the content of their writing.

A second step focuses on how schools can develop their pupils’ language skills by encouraging them to read books aloud and have conversations with their friends about the texts. The other five recommendations are:

  • Supporting pupils’ reading skills by teaching strategies they can re-use.
  • Improving pupils’ understanding of different texts by getting them to clarify what they don’t understand.
  • Giving pupils a purpose and an audience to write for so that they can learn how, when and why different writing strategies are effective.
  • Using data on every child’s current capability to tailor teaching to their specific needs.
  • Giving children who are struggling to read and write additional support through high-quality one-on-one or small-group interventions.

The report is being sent to every primary school and is also available online. It complements existing guidance – Improving Literacy in Key Stage One – which offers eight-practical tips for boosting literacy in the first three years of primary school.

The recommendations from both reports are being used in the EEF’s North East Primary Literacy Campaign, a five-year, £10 million project involving 880 primary schools who will have the opportunity to work with local partners to improve literacy teaching.

Both reports can be downloaded from the EEF website. Visit

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