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West Lynn Primary School

English - Reading and Writing


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Reading is a key tool for life. Teaching children to become excellent readers and to enjoy reading is a major part of what we strive to do. We aim to give children the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed, but also and just as importantly to endeavour to engender a love of reading that will last throughout the child’s life.

The Talk 4 reading approach underpins the teaching of reading in our school schools. Talk 4 Reading breaks down the reading process into three phases:

Phase 1 – Introduction: getting to know the text/s

A “hook” and context give children the opportunity to “show what they know”.

The phase continues with the following:

Activate prior knowledge

  • Contextual reading e.g. non-fiction knowledge

Read, reread, respond and discuss vocabulary for basic comprehension

  • Decoding/word recognition
  • Teacher models reading with fluency and expression
  • Prediction
  • Initial responses
  • Literal retrieval and comprehension

Teacher and children raise and set questions/challenges

By the end of this phase, children can access and read the text/s with basic understanding.

Phase 2 – Investigation: deepen understanding

Comprehension –making inference

  • Model being a reader, line-by-line reading, deepen knowledge of vocabulary and morphology, annotate texts etc

Response activities

  • Drama, hot-seating, freeze-framing etc
  • Writing in role
  • Reading performances with fluency and expression

Teach comprehension purpose/focus

  • Shared writing and practice of activity and answers
  • Paraphrasing and summarising
  • By the end of this phase, children can access and read the text/s with fluency and expression,
  • Understanding at a deeper level.

Phase 3 – Independent application

  • Children independently complete a reading activity/answer questions in relation to comprehension focus.
  • Children have-a-go using same/similar texts/s applying the knowledge and techniques taught.
  • Teacher works closely with those who require further guidance and support.

Feedback and improve answers

  • Teacher feeds back to whole class, groups or individuals refining and improving answers/responses

In Reception & KS1 children are taught phonics through RWI and will take home both a phonetically decodable book and also a book for pleasure to support the learning process.

Alongside Talk4Reading time is given to independent reading; all KS2 pupils use Accelerated

Reader to assist with this. A Star Reading Assessment is undertaken by each pupil; this ensures that children read appropriate books to suit their ability level. Reading quizzes are taken by children at the end of each book read and at the end of each half term another Star Reading Assessment is taken. This allows the tracking of a pupil’s reading engagement and progress. It is expected that children will engage in independent, sustained reading - providing an opportunity for pupils to read and enjoy a range of texts and to apply reading strategies. Each class has a range of books and text types for children to access independently. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities for pupils to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through English and use their reading skills within The Core Knowledge Curriculum.

By the time children leave, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading, including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience.


Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. By the end of Year Six we intend our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word using correct and adventurous vocabulary. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. We expect high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are: constructed transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

The Talk 4 Writing approach underpins the teaching of writing in our school. Talk 4 Writing breaks down the writing process into three sections: Imitation, Innovation and Invention, therefore children understand how to structure a piece of writing. Within the teaching of writing children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence teacher’s use shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. Our schools use a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon.

Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Teachers use what is known as a ‘cold’ task or ‘have a go’. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content, but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing enables teachers work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. By the end of the unit, pupils complete a ‘hot’ task or ‘show us what you know’ which is an independent task on a similar type of writing. Progress should be evident which encourages pupils and helps schools track the impact of teaching.

We aim for children to be given the ‘tools’ of how to compose, be effective in building up a bank of text types in their heads therefore they will have language patterns to draw upon when writing. As a result, pupils build independence, produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and engages the interest of the reader. Also, they will be able to apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Attention is paid to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of groups and individuals, short burst creative writing opportunities provides children with regular opportunities to practice and contextualise skills before using them in longer writing. Consequently, children build confidence in themselves as writers. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities for pupils to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through English and use their writing skills within The Core Knowledge Curriculum.

Pupils will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.

To view the English Curriculum Overview click here.