English at St Matthew’s

Our Literacy curriculum aims to promote high standards in language and literacy, both spoken and written so that children develop a love of reading and writing. The literacy skills developed provide access to the broad curriculum and form an essential foundation to learning.


Reading Intent

At St Matthew’s, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We value reading as a key life skill and we aim to develop life-long readers who have a love of reading, choosing to read for both purpose and for pleasure. By the time children leave us, we aim that as readers they are equipped with the essential tools they need to read accurately and fluently, whilst seeking meaning and developing secure comprehension of their reading.


In addition, we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing so we have a strong focus on language development for our children across the curriculum.



Reading Implementation

At St Matthew’s, we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression guidance (see below) to ensure that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code and master phonics to read and spell as they move through the school.


Daily phonics lessons

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to full-length lessons within the Autumn term. Every Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.


o Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phases 2 and 3 GPCs and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.

o Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

o Children in Year 2 review and secure Phase 5 GPCs during the Autumn term and progress from the core Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme to the Little Wandle Spelling programme.


Daily Keep-up Lessons Ensure Every Child Learns to Read

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up 1:1 or small group support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child is able to secure their learning.


We timetable additional phonics lessons for children in Year 2 who are not fully fluent at reading or have not passed the Phonics Screening Check. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach accordingly, using the Keep-up resources at pace.


Teaching Reading

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:

o are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.

o use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments.

o are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.


Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

o decoding

o prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression.

o comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.


In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.


Reading in Year Two

Children in Year 2 review and secure Phase 5 GPCs during the Autumn term and progress from the core Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme to the Little Wandle Fluency programme when they are ready. This programme develops fluent readers, focusing on reading speed, accuracy and prosody. Children continue to read with an adult three times a week and each lesson is 25-30 minutes long. The structure of the fluency lessons is always the same:

o Pre-read (reviewing key GPCs, tricky words and key vocabulary)

o Reading the book with the adult ‘tapping in’ to hear every child.

o After reading, key skills are focused on.

• Prosody

• Repeated reading

• Comprehension discussion


Greater depth readers then progress onto Literary Leaves (from the Literary Curriculum), consisting of three-week units, which focus on the five reading domains of vocabulary, sequencing, predicting, retrieval and inference. The books we use are highly engaging, current and are of a high quality.


Within our carousel Guided Reading model, children also enjoy exploring a range of texts during reading for pleasure sessions, as well as having the opportunity to carry out engaging comprehension tasks.




At St Matthew’s we are committed to developing children’s comprehension skills so in Key Stage 1 we use HeadStart Primary’s comprehension materials to support our teaching. The comprehension activities combine a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, are in line with English National Curriculum objectives and engage and stimulate children’s interests. From

the Spring term in Year 1 to the end of Year 2, children carry out a weekly comprehension task, either independently or supported by an adult when necessary.



Additional reading support for vulnerable children

Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their decodable practice book to an adult daily.


Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

· Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.

· Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.

· Lesson templates, prompt cards and training ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.

· The Reading Leader and SLT regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)


We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


· We read aloud to children every day. We choose these texts carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at St Matthew’s and our local community, as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.

· Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of texts.

· Book corners also include ‘special book shelves’ where special books are kept that link to current learning and relevant authors. These books are changed every few weeks and give the children a sense of excitement, as well as giving them an opportunity to deepening their understanding of the topics they are learning.

· In Reception, children have access to the book corner every day during their free flow time.

· In KS1, all children have a timetabled reading for pleasure session, allowing them to share and explore the books in the classroom.

· Children in all year groups have a home reading record. Parents/carers record comments to share with the adults in school and the adults write in them on a regular basis to ensure good communication between home and school.

· As the children progress through the school, they contribute opinions of the books/authors that they have read together in school.

· Every child can visit the school library to borrow a book every week.

· Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of reading for pleasure events (mystery readers, cosy reads, author visits and workshops, national events, etc).

· Our writing curriculum is taught through quality texts, putting children’s literature at the centre, aiming to build children’s skills as critical readers, and to develop an authorial style as they experience a wide range of significant authors and a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.


Home reading

At St Matthew’s we believe that parents have a huge impact on a child’s journey of learning to read, as well as supporting them to develop a natural love of reading.


All children take home two reading books a week.

o The decodable reading practice book that has been read at school throughout the week is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. This book has been carefully matched to the children’s current reading level and they should be able to read this fluently and independently.

o A sharing text is chosen by the child and is also taken home. This book is for parents and children to read and enjoy together and provides opportunities for parents to engage in discussion about the text; making predictions, talking about the events in a story and how the characters might feel, for example.


We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision. Please find the parents’ resources using the following link: For parents | Letters and Sounds (littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk)



Reading Impact


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify children who need additional support as soon as they need it.


Within the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, assessment for learning is used:

o daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support

o weekly in the review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.


Within the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme summative assessment is used:

o every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.

o by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support can be put into place.


Impact of our reading curriculum is monitored throughout the year and teachers record assessments at the end of every term. Reading is also assessed at the end of each year accordingly: against the Early Learning Goals in Reception; against the end of year expectations in Year 1 and against the end of Key Stage expectations in Year 2. Most of our children achieve very well, reaching at least the expected level of progress by the end of Key Stage 1, with many children working at greater depth within reading.


Statutory assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term. Impact of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme can be measured through the high number of pupils passing this check. Any child who does not pass the check re-sits it in Year 2.


Reading in Year 2

At the beginning of Year 2, a five-week Phase 5 review is carried out, ensuring the children have secured the trickier parts of Phase 5 and can apply this alphabetic knowledge both to read and spell. Assessments are carried out both before and after the review to measure children’s progress.


As children progress through Phase 5 books of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, they carry out fluency assessments, which assess reading speed and accuracy. After the children move on to the Little Wandle Fluency programme, fluency assessments continue to be carried out in the same manner to support teachers to progress children appropriately.




From the Spring term in Year 1, children carry out a termly summative reading assessment, using the HeadStart Primary’s resources. The assessments give a scaled score, which are used to inform teacher’s termly assessment judgements.




Writing Intent

Our intent is that reading for pleasure and reading fluency are at the heart of our curriculum, as research shows that this has the biggest impact on early learners’ achievement both now and in the future.


Our Literacy curriculum provides a high-quality book-based approach, which immerses children into engaging and exciting literary worlds. Building skills through literature aims to develop children as critical readers and writers, as they encounter a wide range of authors, as well as a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.




We aim to develop pupils as life-long writers, developing the necessary knowledge and skills that follow statutory guidance from EYFS to the end of Key Stage 1. We aim to:


· Build fluent, independent, and confident writers.

· Provide meaningful contexts and purposes for writing.

· Immerse pupils in a range of writing genres.

· Develop ability to write critically, reflectively and imaginatively.

· Develop planning and editing skills.

· Develop secure use of punctuation and grammar.

· Use phonic knowledge and spelling rules to become confident spellers.

· Use rich and ambitious vocabulary.

· Use writing skills across the curriculum.


Our Literacy curriculum uses quality, engaging texts and well-planned learning sequences based on a progression of skills and the development of vocabulary. We teach through the text and aim to provide exciting contexts and meaningful learning opportunities to challenge pupils and to deepen their knowledge and skills as writers.



We aim for pupils to develop a neat, joined up handwriting by the end of Key Stage 1, through progressive teaching from the beginning of EYFS, where pupils learn to write alongside their phonics instruction.



We aim for pupils to develop ability as confident, accurate spellers, applying phonic knowledge and learning which words follow rules and which do not.



Writing Implementation


In EYFS, we teach Literacy through Greg Bottrill’s Drawing Club approach. Drawing Club fosters children’s confidence and joy through a book-based learning journey. Children develop a love of books and stories, whilst enriching their language skills and developing their fine motor skills. Drawing Club is implemented four times a week and ensures that purposeful writing opportunities are provided in every session. Children’s writing progresses from purposeful mark-making, to writing CVC words, to writing phrases and sentences.


In Key Stage 1, we follow the Literary Curriculum, which forms the backbone of our daily writing lessons. Pupils are taught the programmes of study in the National Curriculum through quality, inspirational and highly engaging texts. Writing is taught explicitly to develop pupils’ competencies in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). Through focus on the explicit teaching of transcription, pupils learn to focus on effective and meaningful composition, learning to form, articulate and communicate ideas in an organised way for an intended audience. Through our units of work, pupils are led through writing opportunities with purpose and context, as they learn to plan, revise and edit their writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.



Through our broad curriculum and use of literature, children are immersed in a language-rich environment that develops vocabulary and teachers’ grammar for speaking and

listening, as well as for reading and writing. Children are taught to explain their thoughts and ideas, to ask questions and to listen when others are speaking. They are given daily opportunities to communicate with and present to others, including discussion with a talk-partner, a group or within the whole class, as well as taking part in school assemblies and learning to speak with confidence to larger audiences.



In EYFS and Year 1, children are taught handwriting explicitly using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, which follows the National Curriculum objectives. Handwriting is taught progressively alongside phonics sessions and pre-writing sessions are carried out for further practise with pupils who struggle with letter formation.


Throughout Key Stage 1, pupils progressively build their handwriting skills through discrete handwriting lessons. Formation phrases are used when teaching letter formation, with consistency across year groups.


In Year 2 when the children are ready, they are taught to join their handwriting, working through the letter families.



In EYFS and Year 1, spellings are taught methodically as part of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, explicitly teaching pupils how to spell common tricky words and to spell words using their phonic knowledge. Pupils are taught to apply their knowledge of spelling across the curriculum when writing in any subject (See Little Wandle Progression Overview).


In Year 2, when children have a secure knowledge of the Phase 5 GPCs, spelling lessons are taught daily using the Little Wandle Spelling programme, which ensures sufficient coverage of the Year 2 spelling requirements and creates confident spellers.



Writing Impact

Progress and impact of our Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme is assessed half-termly so that interventions are put in place that enable pupils to catch up and meet end of year expectations.


Impact of our writing curriculum is measured both formally and informally through regular assessment. Children’s progress is monitored throughout the year and is assessed at the end of each year accordingly: against the Early Learning Goals in Reception, against the end of year expectations in Year 1 and against the end of Key Stage expectations in Year 2. Most of our children achieve very well, reaching at least the expected level of progress in writing by the end of Key Stage 1.


We monitor and note pupils’ enjoyment of and engagement in phonics, reading and writing through learning walks, pupil discussions and questionnaires as well as observing their level of confidence, resilience and growth mindset when carrying out English tasks.


We can see the positive impact of our English curriculum where our pupils are engaged and motivated in their learning of reading and writing, demonstrating a love of books, and reading for pleasure. Positive impact is also where pupils can talk with enthusiasm and confidence about their understanding of texts read and where they can demonstrate a varied vocabulary that has been developed through their reading and the broad curriculum.


Positive impact is seen where pupils are aware of how reading and writing can be applied practically in everyday life and can also be aimed at different audiences; and where they can use their reading and writing skills across the curriculum with increasing skill and confidence.

EYFS Literacy Overview Key Stage 1 Literary Curriculum Overview English Year 1 End of Year Expectations English Year 2 End of Year Expectations Little Wandle Progression Guidance

Key Stage 1 Literary Curriculum Overview

EYFS Literacy Overview

English Year 1 End of Year Expectations

English Year 2 End of Year Expectations

Little Wandle Progression Guidance

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