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Welcome to JSTC’s literacy page! Here you’ll be able to discover how much we value literacy at JSTC and appreciate its role as an essential part of everyone’s learning journey.

What is Literacy?

‘Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world’ (National Literacy Trust)

Literacy at JSTC

At JSTC we intend to develop confident learners and having good literacy skills is a fundamental part of achieving that. It is a well-known fact that students with high levels of literacy are more likely to succeed in school and the world beyond; therefore, it is our aim to support, develop and improve these skills in all our students, regardless of ability.

Improving standards in literacy is a priority of all teaching staff, across all subject areas. Through quality first teaching and the staff literary learning community, we continually develop and explore ways to support our students’ literacy needs and assist those who need additional support with necessary intervention. In addition, beyond the curriculum, we promote literacy throughout the school in a variety of ways including reading programmes, weekly literacy and word foci, literacy events and extra-curricular activities involving student volunteers.

To discover more please scroll down to see our Literacy enrichment projects.


Tutor Time Reading

Reading for pleasure is a great way for anyone to unwind, escape and be entertained. We hope to inspire a love of reading through our new tutor reading programme.

How does it work?

Every week, during tutor time, Year 7 students will be read to by their tutor. This provides opportunities to expose students to a range of literature of different genres, cultures and styles whilst also starting the day focused, relaxed, and involved in an enjoyable activity.

Below you can view a selection of our Year 7 titles. Each text is age appropriate and with a variety of settings and characters.

Book 1: Can You See Me?

By Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott


With diary entries written by eleven-year-old Libby Scott, based on her own experiences of autism, this pioneering book, written in collaboration with esteemed author Rebecca Westcott, has been widely praised for its realistic portrayal of autism.

Tally is eleven years old and she's just like her friends. Well, sometimes she is. If she tries really hard to be. Because there's something that makes Tally not the same as her friends. Something she can't cover up, no matter how hard she tries: Tally is autistic.

Tally's autism means there are things that bother her even though she wishes they didn't. It means that some people misunderstand her and feel frustrated by her.

People think that because Tally's autistic, she doesn't realise what they're thinking, but Tally sees and hears - and notices - all of it. And, honestly? That's not the easiest thing to live with.


Book 2: Mud, Sweat and Tears, Junior Edition

By Bear Grylls


Bear Grylls is a man who has always loved adventure. After leaving school, he spent months hiking in the Himalayas as he considered joining the Indian Army. Upon his return to England after a change of heart, he passed SAS selection and served with 21 SAS for three years. During this time, he broke his back in several places in a free-fall parachuting accident and it was questionable whether he would ever walk again.


However, after months of rehabilitation, focusing always on his childhood dream of climbing Everest, he slowly became strong enough to attempt the ultimate ascent of the world's highest peak. At 7.22 a.m. on 26 May 1998, Bear entered the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest Briton to have successfully climbed Everest and returned alive. He was only twenty-three years old and this was only the beginning of his extreme adventures.


Known and admired by millions - whether from his prime-time TV adventures, as a bestselling author or as a world-class motivational speaker - Bear has been there and done it all. Now, for the first time and in his own words, this is the story of his action-packed life.


Carnegie Shadowers Group

The Carnegie Medal is an annual literacy award celebrating outstanding works of literature for children. Each year, students across the country are invited to read the books that have been shortlisted for the award, review and share their views and ‘shadow’ the judges as they vote for the winning book.

JSTC’s Carnegie Shadowers group, ‘Bookmarked’ invites some of our most enthusiastic readers in KS4 to take part.

Find out more about the Carnegie children's book awards by clicking link to the website below:

2022 Student Reviews 

October, October 
by Katya Balen

'I have just finished reading October, October and I must say it is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. It has the perfect amount of mystery and sadness, while keeping you wondering.

October, October shows perfectly the struggles of adapting to new surroundings using two point of views following October's, but whilst showing snippets of the point of view of the owl companion, Stig, and while this is not directly shown, the more you read, the more you realise they are almost like the same soul in different bodies, both longing to be wild again'.

The Crossing

by Manjeet Mann

'In simple words I would describe the book as an adventurous read about two very different characters with two very different stories, yet so similar to each other. They both end up swimming across the English Channel and the book counts down to the moment where they can escape. However, only one manages to successfully cross the channel in the end.


'The Crossing' overall is a book with a unique structure than other children's books filled with both sadness and happiness. I would definitely recommend this phenomenal read to others as I for sure enjoyed it myself.'

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town

by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

'Everyone Dies famous in a Small Town' shows about how everyone’s lives and everyone’s actions link to / affects another. It’s created by adding a bunch of short stories together. The book is set throughout a few towns in Alaska which is actually where the author of it was raised, so maybe she added echoes of her childhood throughout the story. Everyone dies famous in a small town covers a lot of serious issues that can be found in real life such as the impact of wildfire, disappearances and deaths of loved ones. Hobbies that anyone would find perfectly normal are filled with hidden truths. Like when Gina ice skates with her step sister, Poppy, in the first chapter. It reveals her mum died and her dad moved on to be with Poppy’s mum, it revealed Gina was jealous of Poppy even though she is much younger than her and she was afraid her dad was moving on and forgetting about her mother too soon.

The book is about a few characters who meet: we have Poppy, with her invisible friend Elizabeth; there’s Fiona and Amy, who are best friends but get into a lot of fights; and there’s Kenny, who loves playing basketball. And many more. They all meet because their life ties into each other’s one way or another. The book truly makes you think. Even the title. In this book everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything. But as I went on to read the story it kind of makes the characters question how much they truly know about each other. Although this book was good, however, I wish the author went back to some of the previous stories and flipped back to the previous characters.

My personal favourite of each of the stories was ‘Angry Starfish’. I liked the sensitive topic about Gina’s mum dying and about the jealousy and sadness that stemmed from that. Gina started to get flashbacks of when she was younger with her mum and I thinks it’s very wholesome. As readers we see Gina adores her mum and doesn’t want to forget the memories with her. I like the serious topic of grief I think it’s because it’s relatable to me and to most readers. The sensitive topics let readers know they aren’t alone in situations such as grief and trauma. Overall the book is a really good read.

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