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At Kingsthorne Primary School, the foundations for teaching the National Curriculum English are begun in Early Years Foundation Stage, with the development of a high quality programme planned within Communication, Language and Literacy.


The teaching of English at KS1 and 2 is underpinned by the expectations and programme of study set out by the DfE's National Curriculum (2014). The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


Therefore, at Kingsthorne our aim is to enable children to:

  • Take pleasure in all aspects of Literacy
  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary and a good understanding of English grammar.
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in, and for, a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Be competent in the art of speaking through discussions and presentations.


For further information on the National Curriculum:

Speaking and listening

At Kingsthorne Primary School we develop pupils' spoken language using the principles outlined in the DfE's National Curriculum (2014). Statutory requirements which underpin all aspects of spoken language across the 6 years of primary education form part of the national curriculum.


Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication


Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.


Teachers will therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils will also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.


At Kingsthorne Primary School, we use the Government's agreed phonics programme called 'Letters and Sounds.'


Letters and Sounds is designed to help teachers teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling. It promotes children’s speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparatory to learning phonic knowledge and skills. For most children, this programme begins by the age of five with the intention of equipping them with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven.


This framework allows us to respond to and plan for the needs of the children, as well as prepare the children for the Year 1 screening check. We use practical equipment, books, games and ICT resources in lessons to help our teaching. We also operate a catch up scheme in Key stage 2 for any children who need it.


For further resources linked to Phonics follow these links:

Reading and Writing in the Early Years.

The teaching of reading and writing in Nursery and Reception follows government guidance through the EYFS Framework and the supporting document of Developmental Matters.


Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations. Children will have access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest and begin to link letters and sounds in order to begin to read and write.


Due to child initiated learning the children have many opportunities throughout the setting to choose to read and write in a variety of different ways. As the children are choosing to participate in the activities provided it is evident that the pupils are engaged and making progress.


Reading in KS1 and KS2

At Kingsthorne Primary School, we are committed to developing our children as readers, fostering a lifelong love of books and reading throughout their primary school life and way beyond.

The school plans reading activities using the programme of study from the DfE National Curriculum at KS1 and 2, which consists of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.


All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.


Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.


It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


To support the programme of study for EYFS and KS1, Kingsthorne uses a variety of books from different reading schemes to enable the children to access and read a wide range of texts. The aim of this is to ensure that our pupils have access to a wealth of quality reading material that motivates them to want to read. In EYFS and KS1, these books include Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat, Pearson Bug Club and Phonics Bug. Children also have access to reading books online through the Active Learn Primary website. All reading books are organised into different colour banded levels so that we can closely match books to the ability of each child. 


In KS2, we follow a reading scheme called Accelerated Reader. Children in years 3-5 have taken part in an online assessment which has given them a reading age and recommends a range of books for them to read. A typical child in Year 3 should have a reading age of 7-8 years, Year 4 should be 8-9 years and Year 5 should be 9-10 years. Some children in Year 2 might also be selected to join this program, if they are fluent readers. Ask your child's teacher about their reading age.


Accelerated Reader is designed to engage, support and promote reading. Books are banded in a point system which helps your child to select a book at their reading level. Once your child has read a book of their choice, they will take part in an online quiz about the book. This will show how well your child engaged with and understood the text. The more they prove their understanding, the higher the chance of improving their reading age. We dedicate 30 minutes four days a week for children to read, quiz and exchange these books. This encourages children to read in school. Please encourage your child to read daily at home. We are also developing our Home Readers, in KS2, to match our in school system. This means that your child will have an appropriately pitched book for their reading ability, which they have selected themselves.


Within Guided Reading sessions, KS1 pupils take part in small group focus reading. These sessions are designed to enable the children to read fluently and with understanding. During this time, there is a particular focus on VIPERS skills (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval and sequence). KS2 pupils take part in whole class reading sessions with a focus on VIPERS skills (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval and summarise). 


Reading VIPERS is our way of supporting children with their reading comprehension skills. All children will be working on VIPERS during class reading, whether it is reading as a class, in a small group, or one-to-one with an adult. 


If we ensure that children are competent in all of these reading skills, we are covering all of the National Curriculum requirements and enabling them to be confident readers. 


If your child is in Years 3-5, then they are tested formally in reading three times across the year. These results are kept within school and used to target progress and learning opportunities. These results also show us whether your child is on track for meeting the year group expectations. If your child is in Years 2 and 6, then they are formally assessed using standardised tests. These results are then used to measure your child’s progress across the Key Stage they have just completed. Your child’s class teacher will be able to inform you about this process.


Oxford Owl

We recommend Oxford Owl ( as a free website built to help you help your child learn to read and love to read.

  • Help your child's reading.
  • Over 100 FREE eBooks to enjoy with your child.
  • Phonics guide (including how to say the sounds correctly).
  • Ideas for motivating boys to read.
  • Great ways to keep up with reading in the holidays.
  • Reading games and activities.
  • It's free!

Further useful websites to support phonics and reading in Foundation and Key Stage One can be found on this website under the heading Community. Please feel free to have a look.


SPaG (Spelling, punctuation and grammar)

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is a key part of the 2014 National Curriculum.


Children are taught specific skills in these three areas, across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. They are formally tested on them in the SATs (standard assessment tests) at the end of Year 2 and 6.

Throughout the programmes of study, teachers will teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.


Every pupil at Kingsthorne has a Spelling Shed log on. Children should be revising their spellings at home using this app.


Links below on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – give an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study



At Kingsthorne Primary School, we use the DfE's programme of study for English (2014) to underpin our teaching of Writing across KS1 and 2.


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)


In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.


Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words.


Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.


Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.


Teaching of Writing:

Our aim at Kingsthorne is for all children to enjoy writing and become confident writers. We do this by providing opportunities for children to experience literacy in a range of contexts, including making links with other subject areas. In writing, explicit links are made to reading and children are encouraged to read with a writer’s eye, identifying and practicing the tools used by popular children’s writers in order to assimilate a text. They are exposed to and learn how to compose a wide variety of genres within fiction and non-fiction as well as studying a range of different poetic forms.


The writing process is supported through teacher modelling and builds on the oral and reading aspects of the units. Children are taught key spelling strategies and appropriate use of punctuation according to their stage of development.

A range of strategies are used by teachers to engage children in the writing process, including visual literacy, drama and ‘talk for writing’ techniques. Children are given the opportunity to take part in a range of speaking and listening activities in order to gather information, develop their vocabulary or give them concrete experiences to write about.



From the start of term Kingsthorne Primary School have introduced continuous cursive writing from Nursery to Year 4. This type of handwriting allows letters to run into one another. Cursive writing will enable pupils to write neatly and consistently. They will improve in presentation and know where each letter begins (always from the line). Cursive writing will continue to be perfected in Key Stage 2 throughout the year.


Children will receive a special ‘pen license’ in Year 3 when they are successfully and accurately joining all letters. This can be revoked at any point if the standard of handwriting deteriorates. All handwriting pens have blue ink only. Ask your child if they have a pen license.

Useful Links - please click to view