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St Mary's Church of England Primary School

Building a bright future for ourselves, our school and our community

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St Mary's Church of England Primary School, Yew Tree Road, Slough, England, SL1 2AR



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English - Writing



Why do we teach what we teach? (Our intent)

At St. Marys we have a structured and systematic approach to teach literacy. We aim to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. We use the highly successful Read Write Inc. Phonics programme to teach our children to read, write and spell.


How do we teach it? (Our implementation)

All staff in the school are trained in teaching Read Write Inc. from nursery to Year 6. Phonics is taught in nursery through to year 2. For children who cannot yet access RWinc or are not yet fluent readers or writers are given the opportunity to continue with the RWinc programme. In Key Stage One RWI phonics is streamed, so all children can benefit from tailored teaching, making maximum progress as a result.


Nursery children focus on vocabulary through play, sentence building and questioning. Nursery teach a sound a day using a bag filled with objects beginning with the same sound. This is called ‘What’s in the bag?’ Nursery then move on to writing the sound at the end of the summer term only when a good pencil grip and confident mark making from children has been established. At St. Marys we focus on reading stories, singing and encouraging lots of role play to develop the children’s language skills.


From Reception the children are assessed in their sounds. We check what sounds the children know and if they are able to read words by sounding out each grapheme and blending it together, for example: c-a-t = cat. The children continue to learn how to blend words, read words with speed and write words in reception.


In Years 1-2 children learn new sounds that may contain 2 or 3 letters; this is called a diagraph ‘sh, ch, ee, oy’ or a trigraph ‘igh, air, ure’. As well as revising and learning new phonic sounds, the children will apply and develop their phonic and reading skills through reading a range of phonic books, both fiction and non-fiction.


The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parent’s information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.


What is the difference that this makes? (Our impact)

Through our approach to teaching phonics, we enable our children to: Learn to recognise the 44 sounds and their corresponding letter(s); Learn to read words using sound ; blending; Learn to write the letter(s) which represent the 44 sounds; Learn to write words by saying the sounds.


An example of two different story openings of a popular traditional tale, written by Y6 pupils: