Understanding Literacy for GCSEs: Teaching disciplinary literacy

pen and paper

The reformed GCSEs place greater demands on students' literacy skills in each subject. This workshop helps secondary school teachers to develop themselves as literacy experts to improve students’ literacy in their subject areas.

About the workshop

In line with recommendations from the EEF's Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools, this one-day workshop supports teachers to prioritise and to teach ‘disciplinary literacy’ across the curriculum.

  • Develop strategies for improving reading comprehension and extended writing in curriculum areas

    Explore reciprocal reading and the Directed Activities Related to Texts (DARTS) approach. Examine approaches to teaching writing, modelling specific language features for improved writing - including discourse markers, the passive voice and nominalisation.

  • Learn to highlight specific language features and identify appropriate academic register

    Transform informal, speech-like writing into a more formal written style so students can write like subject experts. Examine 'dictogloss' as a strategy to include nominalisation in formal writing.

  • Annotate and explain a piece of GCSE writing to highlight typical language features

    Identify audience and purpose for different text types, recognising command words as indicators of specific writing conventions. Explore subject-specific language features, including tier 2 vocabulary that helps make students writing more coherent and cohesive.

  • Understand how to analyse the literacy demands of your own subject

    Examine mark schemes from different subjects to identify assessment objectives. Identify key types of writing required. Develop the ability to write and model an extended GCSE answer for individual subjects.

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Workshop structure and pricing


The workshop takes place over one day.

  • Explore the research on academic language in education
  • Understand the literacy demands of curriculum subjects
  • From talk to writing: understanding the register continuum
  • Learn strategies for improving talking and writing in an academic style
  • Plan for implementing these strategies and activities back in your school


The training is more effective when a cross-section of subjects are represented, so we encourage at least two teachers from each school (including the literacy lead) to attend.

  • £175 for the first participant per school
  • Additional places £125*
  • 1 day workshop available as whole school inset - prices available on request
  • Follow up consultancy may be available on request

Attendance includes a £25 discount on National Literacy Trust membership. Existing members receive a £25 discount on the workshop per school.

Express an interest

Could you host?

We are always looking for enthusiastic schools across the UK to host our training programmes. We ask you to:

  • Provide a teaching space with IT facilities
  • Print resources for the sessions
  • Organise lunch where required

In return, we offer a complimentary place on the course. This is also a great opportunity for you to position yourself as a research-led school.

Express an interest

Resources related to cross-curricular literacy

Consider becoming a member of the National Literacy Trust to access our full library of downloadable resources and evaluation tools.

Become a National Literacy Trust member