Here at St. Elizabeth’s, we recognise the importance of the effective teaching and learning of reading, writing and spoken language. We acknowledge that English is the door to both the curriculum and the wider world, and we strive to instil a deep-rooted love of reading and writing in every one of our pupils.

We recognise that not all children are able to access the same opportunities in life, but equally believe that reading is a common right for all children. We therefore aim to give every child in our care equal opportunity and access in this regard.

Phonics is taught daily in EYFS, Year 1 and 2.  After recognising the words, the children practice spelling them.  At St. Elizabeth’s, we use ‘Read, Write Inc’ as our approach to teaching Phonics. We equip children with the skills to be able to read real and ‘nonsense’ words which is a requirement for the Phonics Screening testing, normally carried out in June, in Year One. If a child doesn’t pass the test in Year 1, they get the opportunity to retake the test the following year.

Phonics is assessed termly and tracked in KS1 and into KS2 when needed.  Some Key Stage 2 children may receive extra phonics intervention work, or a repetitive spelling programme intervention, with a teaching assistant.

At St. Elizabeth’s, the children in EYFS and KS1 are read to and with daily.  The Read, Write Inc. literacy programme is used to teach reading.  This programme integrates phonics with comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting.

In KS2, the children engage in both daily small group reading carousels (which incorporates MyBookBlog) and 4x ‘Talk for Reading’ sessions per week. Children read with the teacher or TA 1:1 at least once a week and are also read too at allocated opportunities through the week.

Talk for Reading (Pie Corbett)

The Key Stage 2 reading curriculum is carefully planned so that all aspects of reading are specifically taught each week. The children experience a variety of carefully selected high-quality texts, based upon the dialogic Talk for Reading whole-class reading scheme. As discussed by Pie Corbett, we define ‘high-quality’ texts to be “Books that are beautifully written and so deeply imagined that they stay with the reader forever, altering how we see the world and what we understand about the human condition”. The high-quality texts on our reading spine and those interwoven into our curriculum are meaningfully chosen by staff, aiming to reflect the diversity and inclusivity of our modern world, making explicit links between our texts and Catholic Social Teaching and our personal development ‘Keys to Success’. In KS2, we aim for children to study at least one fiction, non-fiction, poem and set of song lyrics every term across the reading curriculum.

The foci for whole class reading sessions each week are as follows:

  1. Vocabulary: Children study the vocabulary and context of a new model text in explicit detail.
  2. Fluency: Using the principles of the HfL fluency project, fluency is explicitly modelled.
  3. Model Answers: Through carefully crafted and engaging activities, teachers explicitly model answers regarding the content and context of the text studied, and the children are taught how to apply these concepts with increasing independence.
  4. Independent application: The children independently answer a series of questions, building upon the knowledge acquired throughout the week.

Throughout these lessons, children develop their use of tier 2 and 3 language, enhancing their understanding of texts across the curriculum. Each T4R week also contains a ‘big question’ focus, which explores the purpose, themes and effect of a text and author. This encourages the children to actively engage with the text in an appreciative and critical manner incorporating all domains.


Guided Reading Carousel

As well as the T4R whole class reading lesson, KS2 children also have a daily, guided group reading session.  During this time, the children partake in one of the following, alternating each day: reading 1:1 with a TA, pre-reading and answering questions on a given text, working with a teacher on comprehension (linking to the previously pre-read text), reading for pleasure and blogging on MyBB, cross-curricular reading or researching words on their vocabulary bookmark.

The class teacher will adapt these group sessions to meet the needs of their age, the ability of the children and the domain focus. These sessions are also vital to address decoding and fluency. Groups are not static; they are changed as a result of formative assessment – carried out by both the teacher and TAs.

We use MyBookBlog as our primary home reading scheme in KS2. This was introduced in 2021 and and as a result, our children’s excitement and love of reading has gone from strength to strength. Through this scheme, children are able to choose their own book from our MyBookBlog shelves – matched to their ability via ‘challenge levels’ (1-5).

The children will select two books, one for school use and one for their home-reading book. As they progress through the book, the children access the MyBookBlog website, where they can ‘blog’ about their chapter, answer vocabulary and comprehension questions and find out interesting facts about their chosen book. This really motivates and encourages the children to look deeper into the content of their book and ‘magpie’ words to use within their own vocabulary. Children are free to change their book at any time, either when completed or if they are simply not enjoying it.

The books are sorted into ‘challenge’ levels, which helps to ensure that your child is reading a book that is appropriate for them and is supportive of their learning. If a book is levelled higher than your child’s reading level, the book will not be available to them on MyBookBlog. Please note that the teachers have reviewed these challenge levels in relation to your child’s ability and have ensured that your child’s current reading level is appropriate and provides them with the optimal challenge. This will be regularly reviewed. We have also labelled some books with a red sticker on the back, this indicates that these books are only appropriate for Years 5 and 6 due to mature themes.

For their home-reading book, the children are expected to complete the MyBookBlog activities at home. This allows us to monitor how much the children are reading at home. The children will read with a TA 1:1 at least once a week. Please make us aware if this poses an issue technologically.

In lieu of home-reading diaries, driven by feedback from parents, we also provide the children with a ‘bookmark’ to help monitor their reading progress. On this card bookmark, the children are to write down any words they are unfamiliar with or have struggled to decode when reading their book. They then have the opportunity to look up the meaning and context of these words with the TA and during the relevant guided reading session. Both parents and children are encouraged to add words to bookmarks!

MyBookBlog Q&A Parent Letter

Over the past year we have adopted the Talk 4 Writing scheme of English, created by Pi Corbett. We have been working alongside T4W expert Dean Thompson to consolidate our teaching of this fantastic scheme, which enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write with confidence and creativity. The scheme embodies a three-stage pedagogy: Imitation, Innovation and Invention, put simply: I do, We do, You do. Through it’s multi-sensory and interactive approach, the scheme aims to improve writing ability by giving pupils a secure understanding of the structure and elements of written language. This involves working with ‘tool-kits’, which the children commit to memory to aide the structure and content of their writing. Throughout this scheme, grammar is also taught explicitly. Where possible, the teaching of grammar rules is applied to the context of the lesson and uses the texts learnt for consolidation.


Teachers start each new genre with a ‘Cold Task’ – where children have around 20 minutes to write in the style of the new genre, to show what they can already do. This is their ‘starting point’ and allows the teacher to assess the children’s initial strengths and weaknesses and plan meaningful lessons. We then introduce a ‘hook’, (a wow activity!) which fires up the children’s creativity and imagination before they immerse themselves in the model text.

Next, during this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘reading as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later. During these two weeks, we do plenty of short-burst writing activities so that the children begin to understand the construction of sentences and why we use certain sentences and language features for certain purposes.


During this phase, the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.  It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits learned in the imitation phase. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.


In this stage, the children plan and write their own text based upon the text type they have been learning. This is their opportunity to experiment with different ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text. We also prioritise editing their work, as a key skill in writing. During independent work, expectations are differentiated for each group and children are assessed against an assessment criteria that is suitable for their level of learning.

Starting this year in KS2, we are adopting a new spelling scheme, Read Write Inc. spelling. This follows on from our KS1 phonics scheme to allow for cohesive and consistent progression and development. The scheme teaches children methods for working out how to spell any words which have regular patterns. There is also a focus on irregular spelling patterns which need to be memorised.

We will now have set spelling sessions each week, running for 15 minutes 3x per week. All units follow the same format of fun activities, together with tips explaining when each spelling pattern is likely to be used. Assessment throughout a unit is ongoing and children will be logging spellings that they find difficult in their ‘Spelling Logs’. These words will be personalised to each child, as the children choose the words they wish to ‘log’, based on which words they have found difficult throughout the week. There will be 6 words to practise each week, with a focus primarily upon the spelling rule they follow. These words are then tested in partners (in a low-stakes manner) at the start of the following unit.  You can help support your child by practising the words in your child’s spelling log each night at home, and by revisiting words learnt in previous weeks.

For the foreseeable, we will also continue to provide SpellingShed as a practice hub for the children at home. We encourage the children to practice spellings daily. The spellings set each week on SpellingShed have been lined up with the spelling rules present in the RWI scheme, allowing children to continue practicing on SpellingShed. Please encourage this at home.

KS1 Spelling Strategies

KS2 Spelling Strategies

At St. Elizabeth’s, we recognise that children’s bones develop at different rates and some children find handwriting a challenge.  EYFS develop gross and fine motor skills through fun methods such as Dough Disco and Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle.  A focus on these gross and fine motor skills will extend into Year 1 and Year 2 if necessary, through methods such as weekly physical literacy interventions.

Handwriting remains a priority focus for us this year. We have spent significant time and efforts on improving our presentation across the school and have recently introduced lined handwriting books across the curriculum. We are proud to report that the impact of these, alongside the use of the Read, Write, Inc. scheme is significant. Teachers also model presentation and handwriting at the beginning of writing lessons and set high expectations for pupil presentation in books. We also strive to use a specific font when presenting children with typed copies of work, which follows our taught letter formation.