At St. John’s, our aim is inspire pupils to be confident and skilful in their abilities to read, write, speak to and listen to others. Our desire is to help our children to enjoy English for its own sake as well as to become literate and competent. 


We hope to inspire a love of reading for pleasure, where children develop a passion and enjoyment of quality books and texts. We know that reading widely has a major role to play in developing knowledge, understanding and vocabulary, the cornerstones of a good education. It is also a hobby for life if it can be inculcated and encouraged from an early age. That is our aim.


We also recognise the importance of nurturing children’s willingness to take pride in their writing. We want children to be able to write clearly, accurately and with the ability to adapt their writing style for a range of contexts whether they are creative, informative, descriptive or persuasive.


Language development starts with speaking and listening. For children of all ages, we want them to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be articulate in expressing their ideas and learning in various discussion forums. We aim to encourage them to speak in pairs, in groups and in whole class discussion and to listen and respond to others effectively and with respect.


With all of these aims in mind, children at St. John’s follow a clear and progressive curriculum designed to promote embedded skills and confidence in all areas of English and to give them the tools they need to support their continued development in becoming lifelong learners.




  • In seeking to achieve our stated aims, children across the school engage in a well-planned and structured programme that meets the requirements of the National Curriculum and which is broad and balanced in its scope. Daily English lessons and skills taught are signposted and transferred to the wider curriculum. This programme is implemented in the following ways:




  • Children participate in Guided and Shared Reading sessions and in Ks 1, Phonic lessons
  • Reading skills such as information retrieval, inference, language and structural understanding, research skills etc. are explicitly taught
  • Reading for pleasure is at the heart of teaching children to read across the whole school: classes are engaged in reading competitions and trips to the local libraries. Visits by authors are also an occasional feature.
  • Children are exposed to reading on a daily basis through a combination of modelled, shared, guided, individual and independent reading approaches to read both for pleasure and to support their work in all areas of the curriculum.




  • Writing development is incremental and purposeful with a clear focus in each year group on the explicit teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar objectives which are required for that age group.
  • Writing is taught through the use of quality text and each class teacher plans a half term around a class reader. These books have been carefully selected with the support of outside agencies to ensure a range of high quality literature from a range of authors which include classic texts alongside more recent stories. These stories are also the starting point for non-fiction writing and poetry works.


Speaking and Listening


  • In English and across the whole curriculum we provide lots of opportunities for speaking and listening and for children to discuss their ideas and learning in a safe and meaningful way
  • Pupils are taught explicitly what good speakers and listeners do and how they engage with and respond to others
  • Opportunities are provided for pair, group and whole class discussion as well as debate and drama.




  • As a result of our English curriculum, we have children who are developing their confidence and enthusiasm as readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing English knowledge and skills. They are confident to ‘have a go’ and love to discuss and share their ideas both in class and to a wider audience.
  • We also measure progress to ensure that the curriculum is achieving its aims. To this end we use ongoing assessment activities such as regular reading, writing and speaking and listening tasks, as well as more formal testing, including SATs and end of term and year assessments. Regular monitoring enables our teachers to pinpoint strengths and address any apparent issues.



English Objectives:



Glossary of Terms:


 2014 National Curriculum Changes:


Reading & Phonics:




Strategies to help with spelling

Look, say, cover, write, check

This is probably the most common strategy used to learn spellings.

Look: first look at the whole word carefully and if there is one part of the word that is difficult, look at that part in more detail.

Say: say the word as you look at it, using different ways of pronouncing it if that will make it more memorable.

Cover: cover the word.

Write: write the word from memory, saying the word as you do so.

Check: Have you got it right? If yes, try writing it again and again! If not, start again – look, say, cover, write, check.

Trace, copy and replicate

(and then check)

This is a similar learning process to ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ but is about developing automaticity and muscle memory.

Write the word out on a sheet of paper ensuring that it is spelt correctly and it is large enough to trace over. Trace over the word and say it at the same time. Move next to the word you have just written and write it out as you say it. Turn the page over and write the word as you say it, and then check that you have spelt it correctly.

If this is easy, do the same process for two different words at the same time. Once you have written all your words this way and feel confident, miss out the tracing and copying or the tracing alone and just write the words.

Segmentation strategy

The splitting of a word into its constituent phonemes in the correct order to support spelling.


Writing the words linked to the teaching focus with speed and fluency. The aim

is to write as many words as possible within a time constraint.

Pupils can write words provided by the teacher or generate their own examples. For example, in two minutes write as many words as possible with the /iː/ phoneme.

This can be turned into a variety of competitive games including working in teams and developing relay race approaches.

Drawing around the word to show the shape

Draw around the words making a clear distinction in size where there are ascenders and descenders. Look carefully at the shape of the word and the letters in each box. Now try to write the word making sure that you get the same shape. 


Drawing an image around the word

This strategy is all about making a word memorable. It links to meaning in order to try to make the spelling noticeable.

You can’t use this method as your main method of learning spellings, but it

might work on those that are just a little more difficult to remember.

Words without vowels

This strategy is useful where the vowel choices are the challenge in the words. Write the words without the vowels and pupils have to choose the correct grapheme to put in the space. For example, for the word field:

Pyramid words

This method of learning words forces you to think of each letter separately.

You can then reverse the process so that you end up with a diamond.

Other strategies

  • Rainbow writing. Using coloured pencils in different ways can help to make parts of words memorable. You could highlight the tricky parts of the word or write the tricky part in a different colour. You could also write each letter in a different colour, or write the word in red, then overlay in orange, yellow and so on.
  • Making up memorable ‘silly sentences’ containing the word
  • Saying the word in a funny way – for example, pronouncing the ‘silent’ letters in a word
  • Clapping and counting to identify the syllables in a word.

Ways to help with spelling at home