ENGLISH at Holy Family Primary School  



Phonics is taught daily in Reception and Key Stage 1 through multi-sensory and interactive lessons. We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right, as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting at the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. Children are always given the opportunity to practice their new knowledge through reading and writing activities. Parents are invited to information meetings for find out about the school’s approach to phonics and to understand early reading and writing development. Children take the national Phonics Screening Test in the summer term in Year 1. 


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) 

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three(Reception & revisit in Year 1)

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Year 1) 

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Relevant websites: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Lett ers_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf


Pronunciation of sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ksblMiliA8


Being able to read helps us to: 

  •  Become good writers as we bring what we have read in books to our own writing.
  •  It allows us to access all subjects with confidence in our broad and varied curriculum.
  •  Explore our own interests within the wider world.
  •  Ensures we have the ability to communicate with others fluently.

Guided Reading 

This takes place in school every day. Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviours and can read similar levels of texts. The small group model allows students to be taught in a way that is intended to be more focused on their specific needs, accelerating their progress. High quality of fiction and nonfiction texts are used for the teacher to develop the range of comprehension skills required to be a successful reader. 

These are: 

  •  Monitoring comprehension: Actively keeping track of one’s thinking and adjusting strategies to the text at hand
  •  Visualizing: Making mental pictures or sensory images as one reads
  •  Connecting: Linking what’s in the text to personal experience, world events, or other texts
  •  Questioning: Actively wondering about the text, watching for uncertainties in it, and interrogating the text and the author
  •  Inferring: Predicting, hypothesizing, interpreting, and drawing conclusions about the text
  •  Determine importance: Making judgments and weighing the values of the text or the author
  •  Synthesizing: Retelling and/or summarizing a text and remembering information from it


Whole Class Reading : The importance of a daily whole class read is enjoying a book for a book’s sake!  The whole class read, whether it’s a longer novel or a picture book, is an essential part of the primary school classroom. It is the very important way that teachers model enthusiasm for reading books and create magic and excitement around the special joy of reading a good book. Reading by a class teacher is one of the most important things we can do in the classroom, as research shows that it has a positive effect on reading achievement and the life-long love of reading. Each teacher has a dedicated slot where they read a highquality novel to their class every day. 

Reading at Home

We ask parents for help and involvement to ensure your children are becoming the best readers they can be. Research has proven parents reading with their child for 10 minutes each day is one of the best ways they can support their education. A report from the National Literacy Trust suggested that young people who read outside class, were 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.  

Reading for enjoyment is vital. It is important that adults and children are choosing as wide a variety of books as possible, taking it in turns to read, talking about the book and making sure the child understands any new or unusual words.  

‘Top Tips’ for parents / carers reading at home: 

  •  Even 10 minutes a day reading with your child is a major help
  •  Choose a wide variety of books and text, both fiction and non-fiction: to introduce different types of language and style – it could also be magazines and newspapers, or articles from the internet. 
  •  Take turns to read aloud to each other. They can learn from your expressive reading and you can check they are not struggling
  •  Ask questions about the book - maybe about what might happen next or a character's motivation – Reading Diaries offer suggestions of what to ask your child about a text
  •  Make sure they understand any new or unusual words or phrases
  •  Enjoy it - "try and lose yourselves in a good story”
  •  Parents are really important reading role models and our research shows that children's attitudes to reading improve the more they see their parents read

 Holy Family School expectations for reading at home:

  •  Reading is done at home on a daily basis for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  •  In EYFS / KS1 pupils book choices are mostly guided by the class teacher / TA.
  •  In KS2 sometimes book choice will be guided by teacher / TA / SENDCo and mostly it will be pupil choice.
  •  In Reading Diaries there is a record of which book your child is reading each day and pages they have read from and to.
  •  Make a comment on how well your child has read, indicate success, areas for improvement, challenges or concerns.
  •  Parents sign their child’s Reading Diary each day to confirm that you know your child has read each day.

Karate Home Reading Challenge 

 We have created this challenge to encourage children to read at home. We monitor reading records each Friday and put a gold star in if reading has been done at home 5 times during the week. 

At the end of each half term if a child has 4 out of 6 stars they are awarded a Karate Home Reading badge which they pin to their reading bag; similar to the colours of Karate belts: Purple / Blue / Green / Orange / Yellow / Red / White. A special silver badge is awarded at prize giving for exceptional effort


We recognise the importance of children learning the skill of writing. We acknowledge its significance as a means of communicating and recording ideas, opinions and knowledge, but we also encourage the children to value its role in supporting their thinking and learning. We strive to give them ownership of this tool so that they can use it to shape, organise, and refine their thought processes in a variety of learning contexts.

At Holy Family, for fiction writing we use a core text approach using high quality text and resources from ‘The Power of Reading’ – CLPE. This high quality literature is used to engage and inspire the pupils, and provide rich models of writing for them to imitate in their own independent writing, through style, voice and language structure. Children are given the opportunity to write in a wide variety of genres, using their own writer’s voice and being encouraged to express their creativity and explore their imagination. 

Children engage in a range of writing opportunities through well-structured teaching sequences which will include drama, hot seating, collaborative group work, paired work, teacher modelling, draft composition,  editing, up-levelling and publishing. We believe in the importance of ‘talk for writing’ ensuring there are opportunities for pupils to discuss writing styles and features of writing. 

Pupils have the opportunity to be nominated ‘Writer of the Month’ in each year group and these samples of writing are published on our website (see Writer of the Month link). We also have a ‘Young Writers’ whole school competition during book week. 

We also ensure that children understand the importance of high quality writing in other curriculum areas and ensure they are accessing non-fiction styles of writing in core subjects such as Science, History, Geography and Religious Education.  


Alongside phonics, children are also taught how to spell from Year 1 onwards. Learning to spell is an important skill to acquire to assist them to be a fluent writer in all areas of learning and as an essential tool to use in everyday life. We teach spelling using an investigational approach focusing on spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes, knowledge of word origin and root words. We ensure that pupils can use spelling in context of their meaning. There are weekly spelling tests and spelling homework. Year 2 and Year 6 both have end of key stage spelling assessments. 

Please see the attached National Curriculum Appendices for required knowledge of spelling in each year group.  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239784/Engl ish_Appendix_1_-_Spelling.pdf

Grammar & Punctuation 

Grammar and punctuation is taught during literacy writing lessons through learning linked to the core-text and the writing genre, to ensure it is learnt in context. Language and punctuation skills are taught through analysis of the author’s use of effective vocabulary choices, language structures and writing style, and by using the core-text as a model during the writing process. It is also taught in separate grammar lessons in order to reinforce and consolidate key grammatical concepts. Year 2 and Year 6 both have end of key stage grammar assesments. 


At Holy Family we place high importance on the presentation of work through high quality hand writing. This begins in Reception with initial mark making and the correct orientation of letters and continues through Year 1 to Year 6 with weekly handwriting lessons and homework. Children are taught a cursive style of handwriting and where to join letters correctly. It is the expectation that by the end of Year 3 all children are using joined cursive handwriting. 

A ‘Pen License’ certificate is awarded to a pupil when their teacher feels their handwriting is fluent and proficient enough to use a pen instead of a pencil. 

For more information on handwriting please refer to our Handwriting Policy and accompanying correct orientation, letter family and cursive join information document. 

Useful Links to support Literacy: 


High Frequency Words

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