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English Curriculum

The English curriculum is taught through real books that interest and challenge pupils whilst providing wider knowledge and experiences. The Literacy Tree is used as a planning tool to ensure that pupils receive a sequence of learning that supports and extends their knowledge and understanding through high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts.

The Read Write Inc phonics programme embeds children’s understanding of phonics, and ensures that children learn how to use sounds to read and spell phonetically, building spelling patterns through Key Stage 1 and 2. Through this programme, we ensure that the vast majority of children are able to read by the end of Year 1 which is matched through our phonics pass rate.


At Norwood, we expect every child to read at least five times per week. We have found that this approach allows children to practise the skills of reading regularly and those that read at home are more successful in their reading in school. 

We aim that every child will be able to read at least 90 words per minute in Key Stage 1 and 110 words per minute in Key Stage 2. Research shows that the more fluent a child reads, the greater their chance of comprehending the text to learn. In order to support children with this skill, we have a number of reading buddies who give up their time to listen to children read and implement the paired or repeated reading approach. (see pages 4-5) (clip of repeated reading in action)


Read Write Inc Phonics begins in Reception, and through this children are taught, at their own pace, to read the alphabet letter sounds. They begin to blend sounds together to ‘Fred talk’ words, and begin to read small words, ‘tricky’ red words such as ‘said’ and captions.

Children are taught how to form each letter sound correctly, and begin to use these letters and sounds when writing independently, supported by continuous provision both indoors and outdoors.

Year 1

Read Write Inc Phonics continues to be taught in small groups in Year 1, until children are reading fluently (at least 90 words per minute). It is our aim that most children will have completed Read Write Inc Phonics by the end of Year 1, however in some cases, children require further support through the programme into Year 2 and beyond.

Years 2-6

In Years 1-6 guided reading sessions are explicit but encompassed within the English lesson. Children are taught to read through annotating texts to question, identify unknown vocabulary and summarise the content to develop comprehension skills. These texts are carefully selected to develop understanding within the topic, provide an understanding of new experiences and/or provide challenging vocabulary.

Vocabulary is vital to comprehending information. In order to support children's understanding of vocabulary, we use an online programme called Bedrock. This online learning tool exposes children to 12 new words in 5 different contexts within each lesson. Children are required to complete two lessons of Bedrock at home per week. We appreciate that not all children have access to devices that access the Internet. With discussion with parents/carers, we are able to provide a Kindle on loan for pupils who require it. 


Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are important elements of learning to read and write, and every year group at Norwood receives explicit teaching of these skills, as well as applying these skills through their written work in all subject areas.

Norwood is committed to ensuring that all children are able to express their ideas in written form. We teach children to use a cursive writing script which supports children to correctly form each letter from the moment children begin to learn their sounds and to join their letters from Year 2 onwards. We teach letter formation through the programme Letter Join which can be accessed from home. Our home/school access has been set up to use our selected choice of letter formation. Log in details are provided for each child as they join Norwood.

Library and Living Room Book Corner

Our Library and Living Room Book Corner are abundant with fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Children have opportunities throughout the week to select a book that interests them. Children who are learning to read will select a book that interests them to share with adults at home. Children who are reading fluently, will choose a book from the library to enjoy and develop their reading skills.

Children access the library once a week to explore the various books and learn about how a library works. We also value children listening to books being read to them and so during the week children listen to a class text. Our library is open from 8:15am to enable parents/carers to visit the library with their child/children to select books together. 

The Living Room Book Corner was set up by a group of children and any child in school is able to borrow a book from these shelves for as long as they like. These book shelves contain books chosen by the children. Throughout the year, different books and authors are promoted on these book shelves to encourage children to try something new and build a love of reading.

To support children to choose a variety of books in the library, displays are set up to share themes, authors or recommendations from children and adults. Children are exposed to books that have been shortlisted for national and global awards and engage with the voting process to extend their awareness of different types of book and develop enjoyment of reading.

Children have the opportunity to choose books for the library and living room area and at points within the year, different groups have the opportunity to visit book shops to select and buy these for the school.

Through this approach to literacy teaching, children gain the following key skills in reading:

  • An understanding that reading gains meaning and understanding.
  • An instilled love of reading for pleasure and information.
  • An appreciation for our literary heritage, experiencing texts written by a wide range of poets and authors.
  • A wide and rich vocabulary that allows expression of ideas and feelings.
  • The ability to explore and elaborate on ideas