English Learning Strands

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Reading and Phonics

At Parish, we recognise the value of adults (both in school and at home) reading aloud to children, in order to improve their grasp of story language, enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers. 


Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing in which words are broken up into their smallest units of sound or ‘phonemes’. Children learn to link a written letter or group of letters, known as ‘graphemes’, with each phoneme. Sounds are then built up or ‘blended’ together into words for reading or, conversely, whole words are broken down or ‘segmented’ into their constituent sounds for writing.  There are 44 phonemes in the English language. These include the 26 letters of the alphabet plus consonant sounds such as /sh/ and /ng/ and long vowel sounds such as /ee/ and /igh/. 

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and across Key Stage 1 (KS1) we teach systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) through the Twinkl Programme. Twinkl Phonics is a DfE validated full systematic, synthetic phonics programme that teaches children from the very beginning of learning to read and write to full fluency. The Twinkl Phonics scheme provides a variety of support scaffolds to aid children’s learning of the first 44 GPCs, including stories, mnemonics (pictures that create a visual link to the GPC), actions, letter formation rhymes and songs. Making many links through visual, auditory and kinaesthetic stimuli helps children to access and secure this learning.  Each phoneme is introduced systematically and at a fast pace. When learning the first 44 phonemes, children will be introduced to around four new sounds per week, revisiting and practising taught phonemes daily to ensure secure understanding and rapid recall. Tricky words are introduced in accordance with the planning sequence.  Additional support in small groups or individually is given to those who need it.  


At Parish, we know that English is important for all children from EYFS right through to the end of Year 6. We aim to develop readers who read for pleasure as well as for learning, and inspire writers who love language as much as their teachers. 

From EYFS to Year 6, children read with an adult regularly.  The focus of these sessions may include: 

  • decoding skills;  

  • fluency and expression; 

  • understanding and correcting inaccuracies;  

  • comparing, contrasting and commenting on texts;  

  • looking at words in context and discussing authorial choice;  

  • inference and prediction.  

All children are encouraged to develop a love of reading through a range of genres and authors both in school and at home. In order for children to develop their fluency and comprehension skills, we actively encourage families to read at home daily.  In EYFS and KS1, children take home reading scheme books (Bug Club and Twinkl) linked to their phonic learning. These schemes provide the children with a range of engaging texts, both fiction and non-fiction. Through Year 2 and into Key Stage 2, children are encouraged to progress to a ‘free reader’ status, meaning they are able to read any book that takes their interest. As a school we subscribe to Active Learn Bug Club which provides each child with online access to a range of books appropriate for their level. Additionally, we have a large library to support and develop a love of reading as well as class reading areas. 

Each child has a reading record that teachers and parents can use to share information about a child’s reading progress. As children progress through the school, they become more independent in recording what they have read in their reading records. We welcome volunteers in school to read with children. 


We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Our approach to teaching writing covers the ‘transcription’ and ‘composition’ requirements of The National Curriculum (2014)

These strategies are embedded into The Literacy Tree Planning Documents, whereby a range of different context writing tasks are based on a text. This allows children to have the opportunity to ‘explore high quality texts in depth, enhancing reading comprehension and providing meaningful contexts and purposes for writing’. We also recognize the importance in developing spoken language, therefore opportunities to develop spoken language skills are planned for within English lessons and across the wider curriculum. These include include: talk partners, storytelling, roleplay and debating within lesson.  The teaching of this programme is flexible and class teachers apply their own creativity to cover the objectives stated in the National Curriculum. 

Teachers model writing composition skills and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Children have opportunities to write at length in regular ‘Big Write’ extended independent writing sessions; applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing. 

Discrete handwriting sessions are taught at least once a week, to help children develop fluent, clear and legible joined up writing (see Handwriting Policy for further details). 

Grammar and Spelling

Word Aware

At Parish, we have taken the principles of explicit vocabulary teaching from the Word Aware scheme written by Stephen Parsons and Anna Branagan.  A wide body of evidence shows that vocabulary learning is critical for pupils being able to move on to the next stages in their learning journey.  Therefore, we are making words a priority in our teaching to meet the needs of all pupils.  By maintaining a sustained effort in exposing children to key vocabulary, we can support pupils in making links across the curriculum and also between their oral and written language.  We do this through a process of "selecting" the key words needed, followed by explicit "teaching" of those words.  Learning is then "activated" by the pupils in their own work and regularly "reviewed" (STAR). By analysing word components (prefixes, suffixes, root words), we help pupils identify patterns in spellings and meanings so they can use this to build their vocabulary when faced with unfamiliar words. 

Whilst there might be one method for learning words that works for one child, it may not be the approach that works for another, so a mixture of strategies is used, such as word games, anagrams, mind-mapping, etymology (where words come from) etc to support memory recall.  What is also important is to work with the vocabulary a child has already and to gradually build up those links to help them make new connections in their understanding.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  It cannot be underestimated how powerful going over vocabulary children have already been exposed to can help their recall.  Once is never enough!  By also giving pupils a context for vocabulary they are learning, this also helps them to remember and apply the words they need.

The teaching of Grammar and Spelling is in line with the requirements of The National Curriculum (2014). Grammar is timetabled to be taught discreetly for at least once a week. However, grammar skills are also embedded within Literacy lessons where appropriate. 

In Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1, our phonics teaching makes strong links between blending for reading, segmenting for spelling and handwriting. We encourage all of our pupils to apply their phonic knowledge when spelling.ʉ۬

From Year 2 onwards, children are taught the age related spelling content using a published scheme ‘No- Nonsense Spelling’. This scheme of work provides us with a manageable tool for meeting the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum, has a clear progression through blocks of teaching units across the year and supports our teachers with the teaching of spelling. (See Spelling Policy for further detail)

Our focus on teaching spelling embraces the knowledge of spelling conventions, patterns and rules. We also promote the learning of spellings, through the use of multi-sensory strategies, including combining the teaching of spelling and handwriting. Our teaching of spelling includes common exception words, high frequency words and topic words. 

Our Virtual Library

Virtual Library

Visit our virtual library

When clicking on the virtual library you will land on the home page where you will find:

  • Three open books.  These take you to reading lists with a selection of books for different phases.  We have tried to include different genres and abilities in each list, but they do overlap so don’t feel confined to just one.
  • Three shopping baskets.  These takes you to the same book lists but as Amazon wish lists.  Book week in school allows children and members of the school community to purchase books via the Roving Bookshop and in doing so the school receives commission to buy new books.  It would be great if children could still use World Book Week as the chance to celebrate their love of reading with a new book.  If you feel able to also purchase and donate a book to the school, we would be incredibly grateful. If you are using Amazon please use and select the Pta of Parish C of E primary School as your chosen charity. Thank you
  • The numbers 1 and 2.  Clicking on these takes you to extracts from various books chosen to be read to you by different members of staff. We hope you enjoy them!


Page Downloads Date  
Handwriting Policy 29th Sep 2019 Download
Assessment and Progression in Book Bands 07th Oct 2019 Download
Book List EYFS 25th Feb 2021 Download
Book List KS1 25th Feb 2021 Download
Book List KS2 25th Feb 2021 Download
Phonics Overview 19th Jan 2022 Download
Reading List for More Able KS2 02nd Mar 2022 Download
Writing Curriculum Progression Map 06th Jan 2023 Download
Spoken Language Curriculum Progression Map 06th Jan 2023 Download
Reading Curriculum Progression Map 06th Jan 2023 Download
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