In studying English pupils develop skills in spoken language, reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Literacy skills are applied across the curriculum and wherever possible, strong links are made between subjects.


The 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.

We aim 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.

Spoken Language

Pupils are taught to develop their competence in spoken language and listening to enhance the effectiveness with which they are able to communicate across a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. They are taught to understand how to take turns and when and how to participate constructively in conversations and debates. Attention is also paid to increasing our pupils’ vocabulary.


During KS1, pupils will increase their fluency by learning to read words easily and automatically; this includes words which use common graphemes in addition to high frequency words. They will learn to retell familiar stories in addition to listening to and discussing a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. In KS2, we will continue to emphasise pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading. Pupils’ knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, will support their increasing fluency as readers


In Reception and Key Stage 1 each child takes part in a daily phonics lesson of at least 15 minutes. The children are group into phases. By the end of Reception each child is expected to have achieved Phase 3; by the end of Year 1 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 5; by the end of Year 2 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 6. All teachers follow the phonics scheme, ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Reading Schemes

In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage read from a variety of texts which are book banded in levels. These books may come from a scheme such as ‘Oxford Reading Tree’, ‘Big Cats’ or may be a non-scheme picture book, short novel or non-fiction text. Children in all classes take home a reading book on four days. Each child has one guided reading session per week. All children have a Reading Record booklet which is available for parents to keep a check on their child`s progress.


During Key Stage 1, pupils encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing. They will be encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing. During Key Stage 2, pupils develop the understanding that writing is both essential to thinking and learning, and enjoyable in its own right. They start to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. They use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve their work and to sustain their fiction and non-fiction writing.  The children will also learn to write consistently with neat, legible and joined handwriting .

Spelling, Grammar and Vocabulary

Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed in the National Curriculum 2014. Pupils are taught the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. They will learn the correct grammatical terms in English.


Key Learning Objectives:English

Key Learning in reading

Key Learning in writing

Phonics and Reading

Thank you for taking the time to listen to your child read. Your help is invaluable to us and can really encourage the children and move them forward in their reading progress.

It would be appreciated if you could look at the suggested comments below and use any that you feel are appropriate when completing your child’s Reading Record. Obviously this will not always be the case and then just a note of the pages read and a brief comment will suffice.

When listening to your child read it would be helpful if you could also talk to them about the content, events or ideas contained within the text.

Perhaps asking them before they read to summarise the story so far or, afterwards, what they have just read to you would enable you to comment on their understanding of the passage.

Maybe you could ask one or two questions about the storyline or characters.

As the children progress through the school they should be able to answer questions which go beyond the literal, such as, “Why do you think they did that?” or “How do you think that would have made her/him feel?”

If, in their answers to these questions, the children can refer back to a specific section of the text to support their view, this should be noted in their Reading Record.

Children’s Laureate and author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, is a household name for many. Click on the image below to take you to Julia’s top tips on reading.

Many thanks

Mrs Jill Mansfield – Literacy Co-ordinator

 Newton Bluecoat School

Suggestions for comments in Reading Record Books


…understands the text and can correctly answer general questions about the story

…can give his/her views on the characters/setting/atmosphere within the story

…can use phonic cues (sounds to build words)

…can use graphic cues (words within words)

…uses sight vocabulary

…uses syntactical cues (fish…and chips)

…self corrects whilst reading


…reads without hesitation

…reads with accuracy and some expression

…can summarise what has been read

…will attempt new words using a range of strategies (see Level 2 for specifics)

…can differentiate between fiction and non-fiction texts


…shows a variation in tone and pitch of voice

…correctly acknowledges punctuation, including speech marks and commas

…can answer questions which go beyond the literal level

… Can use the text to answer questions such as, “How do you know…?” or “Where does it tell you…?”


…uses inference and deduction where appropriate

…regularly uses text to support views and opinions

…can distinguish between fact and opinion

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