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English Curriculum (Early Reading, Writing & Speaking & Listening)

Greatwood English Curriculum

Phonics and Early Reading – Reception Class


In the Reception Class, children are taught very quickly to learn to recognise, say and write each individual sound. We use a combination of Letters and Sounds, Big Cat Phonics and Jolly Phonics to teach children.

Each sound is taught with a little story and an action to help children remember.

Children learn each letter by its sound, not it’s name. The alphabet and the names of each letter are taught towards the end of the Reception year.

Each day there is a phonics lesson using a variety of different resources and some lessons will be taught using the interactive whiteboard, and using a variety of games to support learning

Children will learn to blend the sounds into words by regular practise using the sounds they have learned and soft phonics eg.                 s-a-t sat          p-i-n pin

Children also learn to segment the word by splitting it into the different sounds it contains eg.                                                                       pin  p-i-n         mat m-a-t

This is the beginnings of learning to spell words.

As children learn more sounds they can learn to read and write captions and sentences using their phonic knowledge eg.  a cat in a hat,            socks on a mat

Children will be taught the high frequency words alongside phonics in order for them to use a variety of different methods to help them to read. They will bring home a reading book to practise at home. We will further children’s  reading skills in school in guided reading and shared reading sessions as well as reading individually.

English Years 1-6


Speaking and Listening

All staff encourage children to listen carefully in a range of situations and to different audiences. Children are given varied opportunities to practise their speaking skills in school including general classroom activities and performances. Drama skills are developed through class performances which link with topic work. Teachers follow the document ‘Progression Of Skills for Speaking and Listening in Drama Performances’ in order to ensure children develop their skills progressively. Correct grammar and pronunciation is modelled by all staff who correct children when they make errors in their speech.



All children have a school reading book corresponding with their reading level. A range of books are used but predominantly come from Collins Big Cat scheme. Parents are encouraged to hear their children read at home as often as possible. Children are heard to read regularly in school, the frequency depending on their reading ability and age. During the school day children have many opportunities to practise their reading. Activities include


  • ERIC: Everyone Reading In Class. During this 20-30 minute session children engage in a variety of activities including Guided Reading, comprehension activities, reading for pleasure from a variety of material, reading games using ICT or children may be heard to read individually.
  • Guided Reading: Children are grouped according to their reading ability and are assessed weekly during Guided Reading sessions, which focus on working towards individual and group targets.
  • Text Level activities within the English lesson: Children will have opportunities to experience a range of texts linked to the genre being covered. Reading activities either individual, group or class based relating to children’s targets will be undertaken using these.
  • Library session: Each class has the opportunity to visit the library weekly to enable children to choose a book to take home to share or to read at school.
  • Topic reading: each class has a range of fiction and non-fiction books available for the children to use to further their knowledge of their half termly topics in history, geography, science and RE.


All classrooms are equipped with a class library which is updated regularly and contains a variety of material including comics and newspapers.


Reading Schemes used in KS1 are Collins 'Big Cat', Rigby Star and 'Jelly and Bean', with Rigby Star and Navigator guided reading schemes used in KS2.


Formal comprehension tests are undertaken at least twice per year prior to end of year assessment in June.





A scheme, Penpals, is used throughout the school. Children are taught handwriting skills once a week in a short 20 minute session however accurate and neat handwriting is promoted and valued at all times and children are reminded regularly about their handwriting practice and encouraged to produce their best work. All staff have high expectations regarding handwriting and presentation in books and ensure children fulfil their potential in all written tasks. Children take part in warm up activities from the scheme along with practice skills demonstrated on the IWB. All written practice is completed in a handwriting book and children’s efforts are marked each week with targets given for improvement. Staff remind children of their targets when completing other written work in books. A joined style is introduced during Y2 and once children are able to join fluently they begin to write in handwriting pen rather than pencil.



All children take spellings home to learn each week and are tested on them the following week. Teachers follow the spelling objectives for their year group as outlined in the National Curriculum. Where appropriate, objectives are adjusted to suit the ability of individuals. In class specific teaching is undertaken to develop an understanding of the spelling objectives and to investigate the rules and any variants. Word lists and visual prompts are used in classrooms to assist children with their learning. In addition to these spellings children also work through the high frequency words for their year group, which are included in the National Curriculum. Again these may be taken from a different year group if appropriate to the ability of the child. Children also receive a topic spelling list compiled by the class teacher to support children’s spelling in topic work. These are tested in a fun Spelling Bee style competition each half term. In all work spelling is given a high priority. Children are encouraged to use different strategies to help them spell correctly including phonics, use of word lists or mats and dictionaries. When marking work teachers pick out spellings for children to correct and practise to improve their spelling of words and to generate targets for individual children.



Children write in the style of at least 2 different genres each half term including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Where possible, cross-curricular links are encouraged to facilitate links between English work and other areas of the curriculum. In addition, regular use of visual literacy (film, art and other mediums) as well as the use of new technologies (ipads, video, sound recorders -for example the use of animation apps or virtual settings to generate creative ideas), further support quality creative writing at Greatwood.

Children are supported with teaching, which equips them to adapt their style to suit the specific genre. Many of the features of this teaching originate from the Talk4Writing approach such as learning example texts by rote, reading modelled texts, adapting and experimenting with alternative ideas then using this learning to produce their own texts based on the text type. Every other Friday children take part in Writing Together, which allows children the opportunity to practise a different genre, which has been previously taught. This piece of writing will be undertaken with less scaffolding to enable teachers to assess the children’s performance and generate targets for future teaching and learning.


Grammar and Punctuation:

Teachers use the objectives in the National Curriculum to determine what their class will be taught. In addition to this teachers will use their knowledge of their children and adjust their teaching accordingly to ensure children cover any gaps in their learning. These objectives are linked with a relevant writing genre so the objectives can be taught and learnt within a meaningful context, rather than children undertaking grammar and punctuation style worksheets. In this way children are able to put into practice what they have learnt straight away in their writing. Grammar and Punctuation is tested every half term using Rising Stars materials.


Poetry and Rhyme:

Each class introduces a rhyme or poem each week for children to learn by heart. These may be linked to topics, current events or other curriculum learning. As children progress through the school, more opportunity for choice will be introduced with poem/rhymes. It is intended to develop children’s knowledge and interest in vocabulary, reading and performance skills through this activity. In addition to this it will give children a repertoire of known poems and rhymes and give them an insight into a range of poems from around the World.