English and Phonics


Subject Lead: Mrs Brown, Mrs Goodstadt, Miss Ryan

Reading and Phonics

At Hassell Primary School we believe that learning to read is a vital skill that creates great enjoyment and enables children to become independent, life long learners.  

From Nursery, the children are surrounded by books. Stories are read with the children everyday and they have lots of opportunities to respond imaginatively and creatively to these stories.   Phonics teaching begins with the children developing their listening skills and joining in with lots of rhymes, clapping and singing games.  These important activities help the children begin to recognise and discriminate between sounds. 

In Reception, phonics teaching continues using the Read Write Inc programme to introduce and practise new sounds.  The children have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they learn and practise different sounds based on their needs.  The reading of key words is also taught and practised daily.  The teaching of phonics continues into Year 1 using the Read Write Inc.programme.  Phonics sessions continue to be taught daily focussing on both reading and writing skills.  The children also have other opportunities during the school day to practise and develop their phonic knowledge and skills.

The Read Write Inc.programme teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes (ways of writing the sound e.g. or aw au). The children experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases Ruth Miskin 2020.

Read Write Inc. information for Parents and Carers (including how to say sounds and how to help at home with phonics):


At Hassell Primary School we currently use a variety of reading schemes to develop both the children’s decoding and comprehension skills. We use the Phonics Bug Club decodable books scheme, Bug Club, Storyworlds and Big Cat readers.  These books cover a wide range of interests and are a mix of fiction and non-fiction texts.  The books are organised into levels and allow for progression from decodable early reading books to challenging Key Stage 2 texts.

Core Learning:
Writing Transcription:
• To present neatly
• To spell correctly
• To punctuate accurately
• To write with purpose
• To use imaginative description
• To organise writing appropriately
• To use paragraphs
• To use sentences appropriately
Analysis and presentation:
• To analyse writing
• To present writing
Characteristics of a Writer:
• The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
• A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
• A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
• Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
• Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
• A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.

Core Learning:
• To read words accurately
• To understand texts
Characteristics of a Reader:
• Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.
• Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
• Knowledge of and extensive and rich vocabulary.
• An excellent comprehension of texts.



In Reception and Year 1 at Hassell we have just started to follow the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc Phonics Programme.  


From Year 2 upwards follow the Wordsmith scheme of learning. Wordsmith is a whole-school approach to teaching English that has been written in response to the new National Curriculum in England.  


Wordsmith is designed to excite, with reading for pleasure at its core and grammar lessons woven in throughout. The programme was built on research into how children learn best, by educationalist and expert on grammar for writing, Debra Myhill. This research forms the basis for the four principles on which Wordsmith is founded:  


Varied, whole texts 

Wordsmith’s unique use of diverse whole texts enables children to become fully immersed and engaged in a range of great books. Carefully chosen books help to develop children’s reading skills and their knowledge of the world around them, and to build up a store of reading experience on which they can draw later in life. These books both help children to learn how the experts write and act as models for their own writing.  


Purpose and audience. 

Writing takes on meaning, and a sense of excitement, when it is composed for a real purpose and a defined audience. Each of the Wordsmith Live units has a performance or publication outcome because knowing who will read a piece of work or watch a performance, and why they will do so, raises motivation and can have a direct impact on raising standards. 


Talk for writing. 

Oral rehearsal helps children to develop a sense of what a sentence is and, later, to hear how more complex sentences sound. It also helps them to hear the difference between the way we talk and the way we write. Discussion is where deep learning takes place. Wordsmith provides children with opportunities for oral rehearsal and talking, assisting with evaluation and reflection.  


Contextualised grammar. 

To become great writers, children need to understand how great writing is put together. Exploring the grammar choices of authors, how grammar is used in real texts and the terminology to discuss it provides children with a toolkit to use language confidently and effectively in their own writing. 


Please click on the links below to learn more:


Glossary of terminology used in English lessons.pdf

Vocabulary grammar and punctuation information booklet years 1 to 6.pdf