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English, Reading and Phonics


English at Christ Church CE VA Primary School

‘Together, with God’s love, we can achieve anything’

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.


The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.


We know that our children need strong academic foundations in core subjects to enable access to further education / training / the job market when they are older; we serve an area which is not universally prosperous and so we do emphasise the development of English skills both as a taught subject and as skills developed throughout the curriculum which are core requirements for that future. Success in this subject is promoted through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum. We know that some of our children will not have had the life experiences through home that others in our care have, such as visits to the countryside, historical sites, theatres et al which provide stimuli for creative writing – so we provide them for this aim, amongst others.

We will make links from previous learning to inform, contextualise and support current learning.

We will exemplify and build confidence in speaking to an audience and develop personal presentation skills, preparing for a future employment life where such skills are valued.

 We will provide the opportunity for excellence in English to support positive wellbeing and mental health (a 2018 report by the National Literacy Trust explored the link between “mental wellbeing, reading and writing enjoyment, attitudes and behaviours” and found:

  • children who are the most engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged - 39.4% vs 11.8%
  • conversely, children who are the least engaged with literacy are twice as likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who are the most engaged - 37.4% vs 15%
  • children with above expected reading skills are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than their peers with below expected reading skills - 40.3% vs 13.1%)

By the time children leave our school, we expect them to communicate through speaking and listening, reading and writing, with confidence, fluency, accuracy and understanding and in a range of situations. We want every child to take pleasure in reading across a range of genres and have a strong motivation to read for a variety of purposes.


The time allocated for English lessons is in line with recommendations for key stages one and two.

The children receive at least a one-hour English lesson per day.

In addition to this there are Reading Practice sessions for those children receiving phonics teaching and Guided Reading sessions for those children beyond phonics teaching, whole class reading comprehension, focused vocabulary, phonics & spelling and handwriting sessions.

It is expected that cross-curricular links will contribute to pupils’ effective learning in speaking and listening, reading and writing. This is reinforced through our delivery of the curriculum.

 Children will also benefit from daily class reading sessions where stories or non-fiction books are shared.


The National Curriculum 2014 forms the basis of teaching and learning. All children receive at least the minimum entitlement of a daily English lesson.

Teachers work towards independent learning and plan for different working groups. Teachers employ a range of generic teaching strategies.

Teachers use the National Curriculum 2014 and the Cyclical Foundation subjects’ long-term maps as a starting point for creating their medium-term English plans. These medium-term plans follow the five key aspects of English teaching: familiarization with the genre and text type; capturing ideas; teacher demonstration; teacher scribing through supported and guided writing and finally, independent writing to create a teaching sequence. This is used as a basis for short term planning and adapted according to the needs of the children. Teachers plan closely with year group colleagues to ensure consistency of opportunity for all children. Clear objectives are set for each session and are shared with pupils. Teachers differentiate according to the needs of the pupils. Literacy is encouraged and developed across our curriculum and links are made where appropriate.

ICT is used where it enhances, extends and complements English teaching and learning – for example, the ‘Reading Plus’ tailored reading skills program. Teaching assistants are used to support the teaching of English. They work under the guidance of the teacher with small groups of children or individuals.

How We Teach Reading and Writing at Christ Church:


(Please also see separate Phonics and Early Reading Policy)

We know that through reading, pupils will have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We know that reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.

Our Reading Intent is for Children to:

  • develop positive attitudes towards reading so that it is a pleasurable and meaningful activity;
  • use well-developed reading skills as an integral part of learning throughout the curriculum;
  • read and respond to a variety of texts whilst gaining increased level of fluency, accuracy, independence and understanding
  • develop different strategies for approaching reading and be able to orchestrate the full range of strategies
  • develop a rich vocabulary.


Pupils have access to a wide range of reading opportunities that include:

  • guided reading
  • regular independent reading
  • home school reading
  • class story
  • reading non-fiction books relating to the wider curriculum
  • selecting own choice of texts
  • visits to the Padgate library
  • browsing books classroom libraries
  • ‘Book Sharing Baskets’
  • Author of the Term
  • Reading Online Plus (children in Years 3-6)
  • Author visits & author webinars

Much of the Programme of Study will be taught through English lessons, Reading Comprehension lessons and Reading Practise and Guided Reading. Additional time is provided on a regular basis for reading at other times. There is time set aside for independent reading, using the local library, listening to whole class stories and reading in other curriculum areas.

Teaching and Learning

Teachers promote and value reading as an enjoyable activity and a life skill. Teachers plan for a range of comprehension strategies that allow pupils to engage with text in a variety of ways to suit different learning styles.

In whole class reading activities, which take place in Years 2(once the children have completed the Little Wandle Phonics programme)  to 6, time is given to allow for the children to independently read the text, highlighting any words whose meaning they are unsure of.  The teacher models the reading process to the whole class and clarifies the meaning of any new vocabulary. The skills of questioning, clarifying, summarizing and predicting are practised during this time in order to develop a deeper understanding of the text.  Specific teaching objectives based on the Reading Content Domains for KS 1 and 2 (VIPERS) are pre-planned and sessions are characterized by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, collaboration and the demand for precise oral and written responses. Texts are rich and challenging, often taken from whole class books, texts from current authors or texts with cross curricular links.

In guided reading (‘Reading Workshops’ in KS2), texts are chosen to match the ability of the group but still provide an element of challenge; they are usually one or two levels above their current home-reading book band.  Texts are chosen for particular children bearing in mind their most recent reading assessment, their current reading book band and their interests. In KS1, during these sessions, children either read with a teacher or T.A, work towards completing a book-based task linked to a specific objective or complete a phonics or spelling activity. In KS2, during these sessions, children either read with the class teacher or T.A. or complete a class comprehension task.

All teachers are responsible for providing a stimulating reading environment, promoting book ownership and recommending books to pupils. All classes have an ‘Author of the Term’ and promote and read a selection of their books. Classrooms and central displays are language-rich.

Home Reading

Reading at home is regarded as an important part of reading development. Parents are expected to hear their children read regularly and respond in their child’s reading diaries. Children receive Reading Awards for regularly reading at home. Our aim is that all children read at home at least five times per week. Example questions related to question domains can be found on the school website, and guidance has been disseminated to parents during EYFS, KS1 and KS2  Reading Workshops.   Teachers ensure that children’s reading books are pitched correctly by matching up their performance in termly assessments with the appropriate reading band for their year group. Senior Leaders monitor reading band data each term to ensure that children are on track to meet age-related expectations.

Reading Frequency

All children in read to an adult at least once per week during a Reading Practice or guided reading session. From the Spring term, children in Year 6, and the most confident readers in Year 5, do not read individually to an adult; instead, greater time is devoted to working on written comprehension skills.  SEND, disadvantaged and children who do not read regularly at home, benefit from additional reading sessions within school.  KS2 children are encouraged to select their own reading books from our scheme which contain a range of recommended quality ‘real’ books.

Resources and Schemes

All classrooms have a well-stocked Class Library with a range of fiction and non-fiction. KS 2 classes aim to visit Padgate Library once a term.

Reading Practise and Guided Reading in School

(Please also see separate Phonics and Early Reading Policy)

EYFS begin reading with fully decodable books using Big Cat Collins books linked to the Little Wandle phonics scheme.

KS1 continue with Big Cat Collins books fully decodable books also aligned to the Little Wandle phonics scheme. Once the children have completed phase 5 phonics they progress to Rigby Star books.

KS2 Guided Reading is comprised of Big Cat Collins books and a range of real age-appropriate books. Books are arranged into year groups. Children in KS2 who still require phonics intervention, use the Big Cat Collins fully decodable books in reading practice sessions

Home Reading

EYFS and KS1 Home Reading

Once the children have completed their reading practice sessions ( two in Reception and three in Years 1 &2), they read that book home to celebrate their reading success. Children keep this book for a week. Children in Recepetion take home the physical book whereas children in Years 1&2 access the books online.  Reception and KS1 children also take home a ‘Shared Reading’ book. These books are free choice books and cater for a wide range of interest. They can be read by, to or with the children.

Children who are beyond phonics teaching continue to read using the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.  These include  Decode and Develop stories, Traditional Tales, Story Sparks, Project X, inFact, Snapdragons and Tree Tops books.

Teachers ensure books are pitched correctly by matching up their performance in termly assessments with the appropriate reading band. Senior leaders and the Reading lead monitor phonic and reading bands each term to ensure children are on track to meet age-related expectations.

KS2 Home Reading

The KS 2 Home Reading Scheme is mainly comprised of Oxford Reading Tree Tops and Collins Big Cat books. We have purchased stand-alone and separate books for those children who are reading well below age related expectations but need access to more age-appropriate reading material. Children in KS2 who still require phonics intervention, use the Big Cat Collins fully decodable books in reading practice sessions and as a home reading book.

Children in KS2 have access to Reading Plus.


Reading Scheme Summary

Year Group

Reading Practice or Guided Reading (for reading in school)

Home Reading Practice Book

 (for reading at home)


Little Wandle for Big Cat Collins Fully-decodable



Little Wandle for Big Cat Collins Fully-decodable


Reading for Pleasure free choice book

Year 1 (& Year 2 if still requiring phonics)

Little Wandle for Big Cat Collins Fully-decodable




Little Wandle for Big Cat Collins Fully-decodable


Reading for Pleasure free choice book

Year 2

Rigby Star Books


Oxford Reading Tree


Reading for Pleasure free choice book


Collins Big Cat Books and real books arranged into appropriate year groups.


Oxford Reading Tree  -Tree Tops -  and real books  for Years 5&6.


Reading for Pleasure book from Padgate Library or classroom library.


As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of education, at Christ Church we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children.

Our Writing Intent is for Children to:

  • write in different contexts and for different purposes and audiences
  • be increasingly aware of the conventions of writing, including the grammar, punctuation and spelling required for each year group such that they learn to write accurately
  • plan, write, proof-read and edit their work every time they write in an English lesson; proof-read every piece of writing in any curriculum area
  • form letters correctly, leading to a fluent joined and legible handwriting style, giving increasing regard to presentation
  • use an increasing wide range of sophisticated, well-chosen vocabulary


Pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:

  • shared writing ( teacher led with class input)
  • guided writing (teacher or TA supporting a group)
  • independent writing
  • writing different text types and narrative styles
  • writing in different curriculum areas
  • handwriting practice
  • collaborative writing (children writing with a partner)
  • writing related to own experiences and enjoyment
  • writing from a variety of stimuli
  • planning, drafting, editing and presenting
  • writing for real purposes e.g. invitations to parents, Christmas Fair letters
  • using ICT

Teaching and Learning

Our writing curriculum is structured around four writing purposes: writing to entertain, writing to inform, writing to persuade and writing to discuss.

Years 1&2 focus only of writing to entertain and inform

Years 3&4 focus on writing to entertain, inform and persuade

Years 5&6 focus on writing to entertain, inform, persuade and discuss.

Subject-specific texts that link to work being undertaken in other areas are also be used in English lessons to support the wider curriculum. Teachers use shared writing to model the writing process. Shared reading and writing provide a context for discussion and demonstration of grammatical features at word level, sentence level and text level. Activities are adapted and scaffolded through the use of writing frames, spelling banks, collaborative work and peer or adult support. When writing, all children are encouraged to ‘Think it, Say it, Write it, Read it.’ Children are instructed to read what they have written aloud in order to check that it makes sense.

Stimuli for Writing

We aim to stimulate the children’s desire to write in a number of ways:

  • Theatre companies’ performances in school
  • Author and poet visits
  • School educational visits
  • Using picture books and class novels
  • Writing for real purpose e.g. thank you letters, letters of persuasion
  • Film clips
  • Links to other curriculum areas e.g. History or Geography subject study.

Vocabulary Extension

In order to extend our children’s knowledge, understanding and use of Tier 2 (academic) words, the children learn a new word per week in addition to the Tier 3 (subject specific) vocabulary in other curriculum areas.  Each class follows the same process:

  • Say it
  • Define It
  • Check understanding by using it
  • Display it (on the vocabulary wall)
  • Recap it

Handwriting & Presentation

(Please also see separate Handwriting Policy )

It is paramount that children are rigorously taught correct letter formation from the very beginning of their time in school. As soon as the children are ready, they are taught to sit properly in order to have the correct posture for writing, hold a pencil in the correct tripod grip and develop a legible and joined handwriting style. A mixture of whole class, small group and individual teaching is planned for and delivered.

It is expected that all members of staff, class teachers and teaching assistants*, model the school handwriting style i.e. when writing on the board or in children’s books.

*allowance made for any motor disability

By the end of key Stage 2, all children should be displaying an efficient, quick, neat and legible handwriting style that is effective in recording their ideas.  Children are expected to present work neatly with an underlined date and title at the start.

Spelling and Phonics

(Please also see separate Phonics and Early Reading Policy for information on how phonics is taught in school.)


Whilst supporting early reading development, phonics and spelling are an integral part of the writing process. Pupils who spell with ease can concentrate on the content of their writing and the making of meaning. While it is important to remember that spelling is not the most important aspect of writing, confidence in spelling often has a profound effect on the writer’s self-image. Accurate spelling implies consideration for the reader and recognises the deeply embedded notions about correctness which we hold as a society about spelling. We intend for our children to be able to:

  • Blend and segment sounds easily
  • Learn that segmenting words into their constituent phonemes for spelling is the reverse of blending phonemes into words for reading
  • Spell words accurately by combining the use of grapheme-phoneme correspondence knowledge as the prime approach, and also morphological knowledge and etymological information
  • Use a range of approaches to learn and spell irregular words
  • Proof-read all writing to ensure that spelling is as accurate as possible.

Teaching and Learning

Children begin their spelling journey with the Little Wandle phonics programme.


  • Phase 2 Children learn to spell fully decodable words.
  • Phase 3 and 4 Children learn 4 tricky words and 4 decodable words containing the graphemes taught that week.

Year 1

  • Phase 3 and 5 Children learn 4 tricky words and 4 decodable words containing the graphemes taught that week. Therefore, the children take 8 words home each week to learn. The decodable words are teacher discretion.
  • Common Exception words are taught every half term and are sent home to learn.
  • National curriculum spellings taught within English lessons include:

Adding the endings – ing, ed, and er to verbs where no change is needed to the root word.

Adding s and es to words (plural of nouns and the third person singular of verbs.)

Adding er and est to adjectives where no change is needed to the root word.

Days of the week.

Names of common colours.

Numbers to 20.

Year 2

Once the children have completed and are confident in Phase 5 phonics, they progress to National Curriculum spellings. These include:

  • Words with an apostrophe
  • Past tense words
  • Suffix endings ing, ed, er, est, ful, less, ly, ment, ness
  • Adding suffixes to words ending in y
  • Plurals s/es
  • Words ending al, le, el
  • Homophones
  • Compound words
  • Common Exception Words are separated into 6 half-termly lists as well as being incorporated into their weekly spellings.   These lists are sent home for each year group each half-term for the children to learn in addition to their weekly spellings.


Spelling Within Writing

Within their writing, children are expected to spell words which have been previously taught correctly. It is recognised that this comes with practise and revision. From Year 2 onwards, children are expected to identify some of their own incorrect spelling as part of the proof-reading process. Further incorrect spellings are identified in marking (apart from independent tasks designed for assessment). Children practise incorrect spellings in order to spell them correctly in the future.


  • Our Reading and Writing outcomes at the end of Reception are in line with National outcomes.
  • We are in line with National outcomes in Phonics screening checks.
  • Our end KS1 outcomes in Reading and Writing are usually above national outcomes.
  • Our end of KS2 GPS results are consistently above the National expectations. Our spelling results are strong.
  • Our end KS2 Reading results are usually above National outcomes – one exception in 2019.
  • Children enjoy reading and writing, and are motivated to read well and for pleasure.
  • The quality of our children’s writing, including content, range of genres, grammar and handwriting can be seen in their books and in displays around school. We are broadly in line with or above national in terms of our writing data.
  • Our School has held the Primary Quality Mark for the last 10 years; recently renewed in January 2020.
  • Our Year Five pupils do well in their annual English Speaking Board examinations.

Reading and Writing Curriculum

Our English teaching programme follows the structure of the National Curriculum for each year group.  Our English Curriculum Map summarises how this is delivered.

Reading - EYFS & KS1

Reading - KS2

Reading General

Writing General

English, Reading and Phonics Curriculum Mapping


KS1 & KS2 Cycle 1

KS1 & KS2 Cycle 2


Speaking and Listening

Pupil Voice

Eng 2Eng 3Eng 4
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