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At Astley St Stephen’s the study of English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

Our pupils are encouraged to:

  • Read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding.
  • Have an interest in books and read for enjoyment.
  • Develop a growing vocabulary in written and spoken form.
  • Understand a range of text types and genres.
  • Be developing the powers of imagination, creativity and critical awareness.
  • Be able to speak clearly, audibly and confidently showing awareness of their audience/listeners.
  • Have a sound understanding of phonics.
  • Be encouraged to write with accuracy.
  • Be confident in the use of a range of sentence structures.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking skills are developed so that children are able to express themselves confidently, clearly and fluently using a variety of vocabulary. Talk is also an important starting point for writing and we use Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing as a teaching tool.


Opportunities for speaking and listening are provided across the curriculum, as well as through English lessons. The following are provided:

  • Discussions
  • Group activities
  • Reflections
  • Retelling
  • Learning poetry by heart
  • Storytelling
  • Presenting
  • Drama
  • Debating
  • Questioning
  • Investigations
  • Enquiry


The interactive nature of the first part of Big Write lessons promotes speaking and listening as a basis and preparation for writing longer texts.


Learning to read is a complex process which takes place over many years, it involves skills which move beyond simply decoding the text. Reading should always be encouraged for pleasure and be used for a variety of purposes.


As a school we explicitly teaching both decoding and comprehension skills. From Year 3 onwards the Think2Read programme is used to teach literal, inferential, deduction, prediction and evaluation skills.


A range of reading experiences are provided including:

  • Guided reading
  • Use of the library
  • Individual readers
  • Reading journals
  • Reading class novels
  • Buddy reading
  • Comprehension tasks
  • Explore extracts and whole books
  • Class films
  • Phonics
  • Reading interventions



Our core reading schemes include – Oxford Reading Tree, Treetops, Project X, Collins Pathway, Ginn Pocket books, popular novels, Dandelion readers.


Letters and sounds is used as the main support for phonic work.


Writing includes having and using a wide vocabulary, knowing the rules and conventions of grammar, spelling and punctuation, creativity and use of text layout.


Cross curricular opportunities are used wherever possible to provide a real purpose and strong context for writing. Big Write sessions take place regularly over each term so that pupils have the opportunity to write for an extended period. These lessons are used to directly teach pupils ways in which they can improve their writing. Pupils are set half termly targets which focus on the key skills they need to master to improve their writing over time.


Alan Peat’s Exciting Sentences are used to promote higher level writing skills and to ensure continuity and progression throughout the school. Each classroom has a working wall to display good examples of different types of sentences for pupils to refer to. 


Phonics is taught throughout KS1 using Letters and Sounds. From Year 3 a ten minute a day Spelling programme is run to teach and practise word skills.

At Astley St Stephen’s we make strong links between English skills and our class topic themes, as well as introducing pupils to a wide range of genres of writing during their time at school.


You can download the genre/theme plan for the school here.