Appleton C of E Primary School

Reading for pleasure

Hearing our children read regularly will help them to develop a love of reading. Click here to see the slides from our parent workshop.


What is English?

English is an integral part of the curriculum, and we believe that the development of English skills is central to a child's life. English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

Aims of English

We aim to teach children to be confident and independent in their speaking, reading and writing; adapting their use of language to different circumstances to maximise its effectiveness:

  • We aim for children to be confident writers, writing fiction and non-fiction for a range of purposes and producing work that is accurately spelled and punctuated.
  • We expect children to be active in their learning, assimilating information and making use of it in their own work rather than merely gaining knowledge.
  • To achieve this, children must understand the purpose of their work and the audience they are addressing.
  • We aim to develop enthusiastic independent readers who possess perseverance and a willingness to read widely.
  • We aim to enable children to read critically and with discrimination; developing the ability to make independent judgements, which they can support with evidence.
  • We aim to develop our pupils’ learning by developing an integrated approach, making explicit the relationship between reading, writing, speaking and listening.

How is English taught?


At Appleton we promote wider reading and reading for pleasure across the school. Staff have established an atmosphere of enthusiasm for reading in their classrooms that encourages children to read widely for pleasure as well as study, without discrimination and judgement. Teachers facilitate this by:

  • Providing interesting, up-to-date collections of reading books in every classroom, chosen to take account of the class’ enthusiasms, to which children are allowed free access.
  • Providing a fully stocked library, with librarians, which children are encouraged to run and use.
  • Ensuring that teachers are up-to-date with authors, illustrators and new publications so that they can act as reading advocates.
  • Introducing Reception children to a range of decodable books, but also giving them access to a range of texts and high quality picture books.
  • Introducing children to wide-ranging texts including fiction, non-fiction and poetry from our own and other cultures and traditions. This includes our ‘100 Books to Read’ challenge in KS1 and KS2.
  • Using Shared Reading time to model reading and make explicit these reading strategies using Big Books or Interactive White Boards, as well as giving children the opportunity to enjoy a story which they might not yet be able to decode independently.
  • Teaching children to understand the textual and literary features of different genre and text types and to investigate the layers of meaning in a text during Whole Class Guided Reading sessions.
  • Giving children opportunities to read for information in purposeful contexts.
  • Giving children opportunities to explore the meaning of texts through drama and art activities.
  • Providing opportunities for silent/quiet reading and/or informal shared reading during the week.
  • Encouraging children to read a choice of longer texts, appropriate to age and reading ability, to increase reading stamina.
  • Encouraging children to read at home to their parents and maintain a Home Reading Record until they are on ‘free choice’ books or the class teacher thinks it is appropriate.
  • Making regular assessments of children’s progress to ensure appropriate reading material and noting progress in Teaching Reading Records.
  • Reading a range of high-quality texts to the children just for their enjoyment of being read to.


At Appleton we provide classroom environments that encourage enthusiastic writing with a clear purpose and a real audience.  Real world situations mean that the writing matters, and this encourages children to invest in their writing. We facilitate this by:

  • Using The Write Stuff approach to the teaching of writing, using “sentence stacking” to clearly model writing techniques to children. Children gain an understanding of different sentence functions, as well as discussing vocabulary shades of meaning and picking up grammatical knowledge.
  • Planning exciting opportunities to write for a range of purposes: e.g. to communicate to others, create imaginary worlds, to explore and describe experience, organise and explain information, imagine and explore feelings and ideas, use language creatively to engage the reader, to persuade.
  • Planning opportunities to write fiction, non-fiction and poetry in a variety of forms, e.g. narrative, letters, poems, notes.  The children will have learnt the main features of those forms through the investigation of examples of specific genre.
  • Teaching children how to write fluently and accurately, understanding how to use the main rules and convention of written Standard English, by modelling how writers talk and think.
  • Teaching children how to plan their writing and how to transfer information from plans to their work successfully.
  • Teaching children to write with vitality and style by giving them opportunities to expand and rearrange sentences, play with words and create adventurous word-images for fun.
  • Teaching children to edit, revise and redraft through modelling and direct teaching, in order to improve and develop content, style and accuracy.
  • Planning opportunities for children to evaluate their own writing and that of their peers in order to make improvements.
  • Teaching children to choose form and content appropriate for the given purpose and audience.
  • Planning for children to write on paper and computer screen, using different formats and layouts.
  • Planning drama activities as a means of developing writing.
  • Assessing children’s writing regularly and setting short-term targets for improvement, which are shared with the children and parents/carers.
  • Giving children effective evaluative comments when marking their work, following our marking and feedback scheme, as well as the time to digest and discuss these comments.
  • Allowing children to self-evaluate their writing, so that they can improve and edit it.
  • Using a range of marking techniques to engage children in assessment.
  • All children will have the opportunity to craft extended pieces of writing, appropriate to their age group, both to increase writing stamina and to explore a genre more deeply.
  • Planning exciting, whole school activities to use as a writing stimulus (e.g. a dragon nesting on the back field)
  • Sharing and celebrating children’s writing achievements.


Handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. Children must be able to write with ease, speed and legibility. Continuous cursive handwriting teaches pupils to join letters and words as a series of flowing movements and patterns. The development of this fluid style when mastered allows children to apply their energy into the content of their writing as opposed to the formation of the letters themselves. Handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically throughout the school.

Early Years

Children take part in activities to develop their fine and gross motor-skills and recognition of patterns, for example, to form letters using their index finger in sand or using paint. Children should begin to learn how to correctly hold a pencil. Then how to use a pencil, and hold it effectively to form recognizable letters most of which are correctly formed. They should be given the opportunities to develop their handwriting, using the pre cursive style, to their full potential at that age.

Key Stage 1

Children will continue to develop fine and gross motor-skills with a range of multi-sensory activities. Teachers and support staff continue to guide children on how to write letters correctly, using a comfortable and efficient pencil grip. Children should now be leaving spaces between words accurately. In year 1 children continue to use the pre cursive style and in Year 2 children are introduced to the continuous cursive style.  By the end of Key Stage 1 children will be able to write legibly, using upper and lower-case letters appropriately and correct spacing between words using a cursive style.

Key Stage 2

During this stage the children continue to have direct teaching and regular practice of handwriting. We aim for them to develop a clear, fluent style and by the end of Year 6 be able to adapt their handwriting for the for different purposes, such as: a neat, legible hand for finished, presented work, a faster script for note making and the ability to print for labelling diagrams etc. Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar is concerned with the way in which sentences are used in spoken language, in reading and in writing. It is also about developing pupils’ curiosity about language and their capacity to observe and reflect, which will in turn enable them to develop more control and choice in their use of language.

Grammar helps us to organise and make shape of what we are trying to say. Understanding the concept of a sentence and manipulation of different sentence types is a key factor in ensuring learners' progress in writing. It allows learners to become more confident and versatile in their use of language. It is not the naming or the learning of a set of arbitrary rules for correct English.

Punctuation helps readers make sense of written texts and helps writers convey their meaning accurately. It chunks texts into meaningful units, making a variety of grammatical boundaries and is inextricably linked to grammatical features. The most effective way of teaching punctuation is in context and linked to grammatical structures.


At Appleton we firmly believe that good spelling is an essential skill which allows the children to communicate their understanding in all curriculum subjects. In order for pupils to develop into effective and confident writers they need to develop and use a range of effective spelling strategies. By providing the children with a range of strategies we equip them with the independence to attempt spellings before asking for adult help. We particularly want the children to develop a love of language and the confidence to spell more challenging and ambitious words. In allowing them opportunities to develop a rich and exciting vocabulary, we are enabling them to become effective communicators.

In Reception and Year 1, children are taught spelling through their daily phonics lessons and their weekly spelling lists are either linked to their phonics or ‘tricky’ words. In Year 2 and KS2 spelling is taught on a weekly basis with a lesson to introduce rule, pattern or tricky words and a follow up morning task to apply and review the objective. In Year 2 and KS2 spelling homework is set each week and will be linked to the spelling rule and key words that have been taught that week. Children will be tested weekly from Year 2 upwards. 

Speaking and Listening 

At Appleton we strive to provide a classroom environment where children feel sufficiently encouraged and secure to be able to express and explore their feelings, thoughts and emotions. Oral communication skills are promoted from Reception using a rigorous and sequential approach, as a gateway to phonics and later reading and spelling skills. Opportunities for a range of speaking and listening activities are explicitly planned and taught to enable children to become powerful communicators. We facilitate this by:

  • Helping to sustain what children are trying to say by showing an interest and modelling listening skills.
  • Encouraging an exploratory use of language in all lessons, for example during shared writing.
  • Being aware of a child’s individual needs be they a hearing or speaking impairment, shyness or aggression.
  • Prompting a wider, extended use of vocabulary and developing the ability to use language more precisely by playing games such as 20 Questions.
  • Teaching children to adapt their use of language, varying use and register in relation to their purpose and audience.
  • Planning for children to listen to spoken language in real contexts such as talks by visitors to the school, radio, television and film.
  • Planning for children to take part in group discussions, debates, individual and group presentations.
  • Encouraging expression and intonation when reading aloud, and also modelling this during reading to the class.
  • Planning for the spoken language of others to be evaluated.
  • Planning drama activities throughout the school, ranging from informal role-play to staged productions, supported by specialist drama teaching.
  • Modelling spoken language in a variety of contexts, including Standard English.


The National Curriculum (2014) forms the basis for all subject teaching ensuring continuity and progression in an age-related curriculum. In addition, teachers make sure the content is relevant, stimulating and accessible by delivering through themes and topics. Our English curriculum has been developed to recognise the importance of English in every aspect of daily life and to develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children love to read, take pride in their writing and can clearly and accurately adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. 

Our intent is to enable children to:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding 
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information 
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage 
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences 
  • Develop a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. 
  • Re-read, edit and improve their own writing 
  • Confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling 
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language 
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and clearly explain their understanding and ideas 
  • Become competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


At Appleton Primary School we ensure that our English teaching and learning provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of experiences, quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children, along with our Scheme of Work – The Write Stuff. All pupils receive a daily English lesson. Teachers also ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study.

  • Teachers create a positive reading and writing culture in school, where both are promoted, enjoyed and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all pupils. 
  • Promotion of reading through teachers reading out loud regularly to their class and through the strategic use of book corners
  • Pupils in EYFS and KS1 to have daily phonics sessions, following Read Write Inc. 
  • Year 1-6, to use the Spelling Shed spelling scheme, delivering weekly lists and tests. 
  • Age appropriate spellings sent home weekly for pupils to practise their words and to write a sentence containing each word at home. 
  • Guided Reading sessions three times a week in all classes. 
  • Pupils are being adventurous with vocabulary choices, facilitated by the Write Stuff SOW.
  • Pupils to acquire strategies to enable them to become independent learners in English (spelling rules and patterns and how to tackle unfamiliar words when reading). 
  • Pupils to discuss and to present their ideas to each other by talking, being able to elaborate and explain themselves clearly, make presentations and participate in debates. 
  • Working Walls – all classes aiding pupils and guiding them through the process of reading and analysing, gathering content, planning and writing. 
  • Vocabulary promoted through displays in class, all curriculum areas, enhancing and encouraging a wider use of vocabulary. 
  • Vocabulary mats to be used where needed and thesauruses and dictionaries which are easily accessible for pupils to use. 
  • Teaching a range of genres across the school (progressing in difficulty) both in English and other curriculum areas; resulting in pupils being exposed to, and knowledgeable about, literary styles, authors and genres. They can express preferences and give opinions, supported by evidence, about different texts.
  • Displays of writing, in class and shared areas, giving a purpose and audience, to encourage pride in work and to show that work is valued.
  • Through quality first teaching, all children, including those with SEND, will have access to teaching and learning. In addition to this, further support and provision will be offered to those children identified. These include precision teaching, pre-teaching, Fischer Family Trust (FFT) and phonics interventions linked to Read, Write, Inc
  • Assistive technology will be used to help support learners with literacy difficulties


The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the English curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives. 

Long term pupils will: 

  • be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning 
  • be able to read fluently both for pleasure and to further their learning. 
  • enjoy writing across a range of genres 
  • have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices within their writing 
  • have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and audience 
  • leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught 
  • make good and better progress from their starting points to achieve their full potential.

Pupils of all abilities will succeed in all English lessons through high quality teaching and because work will be appropriately scaffolded.