Learning to read and reading to learn

Speaking and listening skills are essential to literacy and involves more than your ability to talk and hear other people. It is about adapting language to suit the situation and linking your listening and speaking skills to be able to respond to others. Speaking and listening skills for the basis of early literacy skills in nursery and continue to be a focus as children are encouraged to articulate their thoughts, ideas and opinions.

Reading is a vital skill for all children to develop and is closely linked to success in all areas of school as well as children's self-esteem, confidence and motivation. Being able to read well is the key to independent learning and so it is given the upmost priority by all staff.  Learning to read is a complex process, but in simple terms we need to decode the words and also understand what we are reading.  We want all of our children to become confident, fluent readers as quickly as possible, and experience a wide range of enjoyable texts!

Read, Write Inc. supports children with early reading and writing skills and is used daily throughout reception and Key Stage 1. Children learn to read the first common 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, using ‘Fred Talk’. They then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. Phonic books are carefully matched to the children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, children are given lots of opportunities to re-read the stories to increase their fluency and develop a storyteller’s voice.  Simple comprehension skills are developed by talking through the books they read fluently, make predications and ‘think out loud’ about the story and characters. The children write every day in these sessions and use ‘Fred fingers’ to practice their spelling linked to their phonic knowledge.  Composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed when children build and rehearse their own sentences based on their own experiences and ideas from the story. Early handwriting is practiced every day.

More information for parents can be found here https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/

At the end of year 1 all children currently take the National Phonics Screening Test.

In lower key stage 2 use Lexia support the transition from RWI to Reading Plus. It supports sight recognition of letter sounds as well as reading fluency and comprehension skills.

Children in upper Key stage 2 use Reading Plus to increase fluency, accuracy, speed, and confidence. This is a bespoke programme which adapts to children’s individual responses, this then matches text to children’s specific abilities and interests. It also offers incentives and rewards to promote enthusiasm and engagement.

Across school reciprocal reading is used as an approach to support children comprehension skills to enable them to predict, clarify, summarise, and question.

Through each year group, texts across the curriculum are utilised to bring a love of reading to all subjects and ensure no opportunities are missed to read across the curriculum. These texts are carefully matched to each year group’s long term plan.

Each year group has a selection of key stories/class texts for story time which is an important part of our reading curriculum in order to develop children’s love of stories and books, which can be shared and discussed as a class. All classes have a book area with a rich variety of story books and non-fiction texts for children to access. These may be familiar books linked to curriculum, favourite stories or something new to enjoy.

At Horton Grange we use the "Talk for Writing" approach, which involves a 3 part sequence of imitating, innovating and inventing, traditional and familiar stories.  This allows children to become more proficient as writers, as they have the developed their vocabulary and independence skills in order to write purposefully and with creativity.

Writing is a process. Throughout this process, children are be given lots of opportunities to write, edit and improve their work. Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is taught in all aspects of writing in context for children to develop their technical understanding of wiring.

Children are exposed to high quality texts and opportunities are given to explore punctuation and grammar in context.


Handwriting  is an essential skill taught throughout school and getting the right habits established early on is key to future success, in nursery and reception we focus on pencil grip using ‘nip and flick’ as basic letter formation. Children are taught to join letters using Nelson handwriting and from the time children can correctly form their letters, they are taught continuous cursive (joined up) handwriting.


English at Horton Grange