At Thakeham Primary School, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills and the foundation of our curriculum. We fiercely believe that a love of reading is essential!


Through English and the teaching of English, our main aim is to ensure we support every child develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become learners for life. 

We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success.  Literacy is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development it has an essential role across the curriculum and helps pupils’ learning to be coherent and progressive.  English will not only be a daily discrete lesson, but is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum.  It is embedded within all our lessons and we will strive for a high level of English for all. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.


Through the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.


Our aim is to achieve a GLD (Good Level of Development) in EYFS in line with national standards, and be at or above the national standard in the Phonics Screening in Year 1, KS1 National Tests and KS2 National Tests. 


The structure of English teaching is based upon the 2014 English National Curriculum and covers all of the recommended objectives. To ensure that there is adequate time for developing English skills, each KS1/2 class has a dedicated English lesson each day. This is a session which incorporates all handwriting, spelling/phonics, reading and writing activities so that the children are able to use and apply their skills in different contexts.   However, children will have opportunities to use and apply their English skills across the curriculum both with guidance and independently. Teaching and learning takes place within a whole class setting and, in the main, differentiation is through a variety of means including task, resources, adult support, groupings and outcome.  Phonics groups in EYFS and KS1 are set following assessment and children may move between groups depending on their progress and achievement.  Within guided teaching, teachers move children forward by focusing specifically on reading and writing targets which are particular to that group of children.  Additional adults are used to support the teaching of English. They work under the guidance of the teacher with small groups of children or individuals.   Clear objectives are set for each session and are shared with pupils. ‘Toolkits’ are regularly devised with children, and are used to outline the key features/elements expected in the outcomes of the pupils’ work.    Computing is used where it enhances, extends and complements English teaching and learning. Teachers are also expected to plan time within certain writing lessons for children to reflect on their marked work, and independently respond to teacher prompts to improve their writing (see Assessment and Feedback Policy). Teachers use a variety of interactive, creative and cross-curricular teaching methods to deliver the curriculum and achieve set learning objectives. 


Spoken Language

At Thakeham Primary School, we believe that speaking and listening form the foundations of all learning in English. In formal and informal situations, we create and facilitate opportunities for conversation, discussion and talk around learning. Questioning forms the basis of our teaching and we strongly encourage children to be inquisitive and to share their thoughts confidently in a supportive environment.

How do we achieve this?

  •          Questioning and taking risks with language;
  •          Presenting in-front of an audience;
  •          Reciting and reading aloud;
  •          Re-telling, role-play and drama productions;
  •          Listening to and participating in stories, poems, rhymes and songs;
  •          Drama activities to enliven and enrich children’s understanding of character;
  •          Talking the text – opportunities for children to talk about and discuss their reading and writing
  •          Debate;
  •          Collaborative work and reporting back following group work;
  •          Presentations.



Reading is the way in which children can access the world around them. It offers children a chance to develop their imagination and provides a new and rich vocabulary which in turn enables them to become inspirational and creative writers.  Our aim therefore is to ensure that reading is an integral and enjoyable part of school life for all learners. We seek to ensure that there are multiple opportunities to read throughout the school day as well as giving children many opportunities to listen to  stories being read by other children or staff.  We are steadfastly committed to every pupil being a fluent reader by the time they leave our school. We understand that reading is key to accessing all parts of the curriculum and wider life. Through a reading focus we deliver a curriculum that teaches a range of reading skills:


  •          Comprehension
  •          Opportunities to use and apply phonic knowledge and skills
  •          Practising reading fluently
  •          Developing appreciation and love of reading


How do we achieve this?


  •          Guided reading
  •          Shared reading
  •          Regular independent reading
  •          Home/school reading
  •          There is a wide selection of levelled reading books, banded into the ‘colour book bands’ and the children progress through these as appropriate,  reading a range of fiction and non-fiction texts before moving on to ‘free reader’ books;
  •          Our KS1 and KS2 approach to teaching reading is through VIPERS:






Sequence (KS1) / Summarising (KS2)   


Through this approach, the teacher accesses every child (see Guided Reading section below)

  •          Teachers, teaching assistants and adult volunteers may also read on an individual basis with children: how often is based on assessment of progress;
  •          Teachers and teaching assistants assess children's progression in reading using the Reading objectives located on the cover of the children’s English book;
  •          All adults involved in working with a group for Guided Reading or hearing a child read should feedback to the class teacher.  In the case of Guided Reading this should include reference to the objective focus for the session and their progress against this.  The initials of the adult writing the comment should be also be used
  •          Phonics is taught systematically following the Read, Write Inc programme which supports the National Curriculum.  Children have daily 30 minute group sessions until the end of Year 2 if required, learning sounds, actions and letters , games and activities to support sounding out, segmenting and blending for reading and writing (see below under Spellings and Phonics);
  •          Those children who are not making age-related progress are withdrawn for one to one or group support as appropriate and targets may be linked to their ILP if they are SEN&D;

Reading sessions should relate to the genre of writing where possible.  The sessions should empower further learning and promote excitement and love of books and build on previous reading experiences.


Developing a Love of Reading

  •          We encourage vast amounts of reading across the curriculum: topic books, news articles, class magazines etc…
  •          We do storytelling and re-enacting stories
  •          We have a dedicated library area/book corner in each classroom;
  •          Parents can choose from our Amazon Wishlist to donate books to our library to celebrate a child’s birthday.
  •          We continue to develop the role of our Book Worms in KS2 for peer to peer involvement in books leading Reading Assemblies, book time in the library and the upkeep of the library. 
  •          As well as taking home school scheme books we encourage the children to take home a book of their interest from the school library which can be changed when they have finished it.
  •          Each class has an opportunity to visit the library each week and as part of their reading activities once every 2 weeks.  This should not just be an opportunity to change their book, but time spent browsing and enjoying what is on offer or learning valuable library skills e.g. research;
  •          The Library display is used to celebrate different authors each month;
  •          We set up visits from authors and illustrators with a big celebration of reading during World Book Day in March;
  •          Each class enjoys the reading of a class novel across the week. Much thought goes into the selection of texts and is chance for the class to share a high quality text together. Most often, this take place at the end of the school day.
  •          There are lots of talk and discussion about reading in a variety of contexts, both formal and informal.  We have an annual school Book Fair
  •          Once a fortnight we have a Reading focussed assembly led by the school Book Worms, where a range of texts are shared and discussed with the children to help encourage identification of key elements and to help develop the language used to discuss, debate and compare a range of texts.  Certificates are presented for reading achievement.


In line with our Home-Learning Policy, children are expected to read at least 3 times a week at home, writing in their reading diaries to share ideas about books and to keep a record of what they are reading. This is monitored very systematically by staff who liaise directly with parents if it is not happening. For children who struggle with reading or are not heard at home extra in school support is given and they become a ‘daily reader’ reading to an adult each day in school and are heard reading by our group of adult reading volunteers.  



Pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:

  •          shared writing
  •          guided writing
  •          independent writing
  •          writing different text types and narrative styles
  •          writing in different curriculum areas
  •          handwriting practice
  •          collaborative writing
  •          writing related to own experiences and enjoyment
  •          writing from a variety of stimuli
  •          planning, drafting, editing and presenting


In order to support and develop children of all ages and abilities into becoming confident and independent writers, we plan for a wide range of writing opportunities across the school year using the four purposes for writing:

To entertain (KS1 & KS2)

To inform (KS1 & KS2)

To persuade (KS2)

To discuss (UKS2)

We ensure the children have a variety of audiences to write for.   We ensure that writing has a stimulus or a hook to capture the children’s interest and give them the drive to produce their best.   


To support teaching and learning of writing, the children must first be immersed in high quality texts and experience watching a writer, write.  In Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage2, this may include some elements of the Talk 4 Writing project, developed by Pie Corbett. Through this style of teaching the children become fully immersed in a text, which they learn and retell in different ways, before moving on to using the model text to support their own writing. It incorporates all elements of the English curriculum in a practical, engaging and memorable way, developing visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning skills.   To complement this approach, we also plan regularly for opportunities to write independently, away from the point of teaching, without scaffolded support and across the wider curriculum.   The children work collaboratively to produce writing toolkits and are given planned in opportunities to achieve their own personal writing targets.

We introduce the children to grammatical terms from a young age and have developed consistent terminology which teachers use in lessons throughout the school.  To enable children to use the correct grammar and punctuation in their writing, we teach it discretely as well as embed it into the flow of lessons to encourage the children to use it in their own writing.


How do we achieve this?


  •          PenPals  handwriting scheme
  •          Specific timetabling of spellings, handwriting, reading, writing and library skills
  •          Scheme supported by Spelling Frame and Spelling Shed.
  •          Cross curricular links
  •          Multi-sensory activities
  •          Links to class texts and current topics
  •          Purposeful real life opportunities
  •          A range of final draft presentations
  •          Use of different writing materials
  •          In summary – purpose and audience for each piece of writing


Disadvantaged and SEND pupils are at the heart of all planning sequences in the school. Like with every other lesson, we deploy a range of scaffolds, differentiation and support strategies in order to ensure every pupil can access the learning. This is reviewed as part of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle.