Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Curriculum: English
Why do we teach Reading and Writing? Why do we teach Reading and Writing in the way we do?
How do we teach Writing? What does this look like?
By the time children leave our school what will they be able to do?
Target Trackers for Writing
How do we teach Reading? What does this look like?
By the time children leave our school what will they be able to do?
Target Trackers for Reading
Web links Bedtime Stories...

Why do we teach Reading and Writing? Why do we teach Reading and Writing in the way we do?

At Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, we believe it is vital to equip children with the Literacy skills to succeed and thrive in life. This is achieved through a quality English curriculum which should develop a children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. This should be carefully planned to ensure progression and build on prior knowledge as the children progress through our school. We begin with a strong foundation of phonic understanding which is then used to support the development of early reading and writing. Throughout school, we carefully select quality texts and ensure that reading underpins everything we do. Here at Holy Cross, we understand that reading and writing are intrinsically linked and we teach in a way to support the development of both skills in unison, across the whole of school.


How do we teach Writing? What does this look like?

Our English Curriculum is focused around quality texts, these are selected carefully from the CLPE scheme of work to link with our year group topics. Each text promotes a high standard of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and helps to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

The quality book approach allows children to explore in-depth one book providing them with a wealth of learning opportunities, but also crucially provides the children with the time to:
  • predict the outcomes;
  • immerse themselves in the characters and storyline;
  • study the language and structure in the text to build their own vocabulary;
  • use writing to convey meaning through a range of genres;
The children are immersed in their class texts, exploring the way the author uses language.

From the first days in Early Years, our pupils start to experience a wide-range of texts which will form the building blocks of their future writing experience. This, allied with the expert teaching of phonics, letter formation and the construction of simple sentences, results in children who are prepared for writing as they progress through Holy Cross.
At Holy Cross Primary School, we also use Michael Tidd’s Writing for a Purpose to ensure coverage of skills and genres. During the writing phase, the children write for one of four purposes of writing - writing to inform, to entertain, to persuade and to discuss.

Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
(Credit Michael Tidd)

These skills are planned progressively from Year 1 - Year 6. In KS1, children write to inform or entertain, writing letters, short stories, information and explanation texts. By Lower KS2, there is progression in these skills and writing to persuade is introduced. By Upper KS2, children are also taught to write to discuss, in discussion texts, balanced arguments and newspaper articles.

The writing process begins with identifying a purpose and audience for their writing (for example a persuasive letter to a company or famous person, a magical story for adults, a diary entry, an informative leaflet for tourists), then opportunity to identify success criteria and key features to include for a successful text. After that, children practise the skills of writing different aspects of features and work on next steps. Children then plan, draft, edit and redraft their own piece of writing, before publishing for a real purpose.

The teaching of vocabulary is fundamental to the teaching of reading and writing. Through the use of core books and model texts with a challenging level of vocabulary, new words that the children encounter are explored. Children are encouraged to share any new vocabulary with their peers and discuss their meaning. Vocabulary from the text is carefully planned and is taught both explicitly (pre-taught) and implicitly (at the point of reading). All classrooms are vocabulary rich and reflect/exemplify the words and phrases which have been taught and explored over within a topic area. The children are encouraged to use and apply this ambitious vocabulary in their own writing.

By the time children leave our school what will they be able to do?

At Holy Cross children see themselves as real authors; they write and post real letters to inform or persuade, they draft, illustrate and publish real books to share with their younger friends in school, or to read to parents at open days, and they perform their poems and stories in assemblies. By Year 6, our children will have a wide vocabulary and a strong command of the written word. They are able to reference a wide range of different authors, from different literary traditions and genres. They should be able to express their opinions and interests in reading and writing genre. Most importantly they will develop a love of reading and writing to equip them for the rest of their education.

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank


Reading at Holy Cross underpins everything we do. It is not something we confine only to English lessons, but texts are shared and explored to provide a hook into topics in the wider curriculum, as well as being used as a purposeful research tool.

Each topic, has a carefully selected quality core text which will be shared as a “hook” into that unit. Teachers model key reading skills and children practise and develop these skills across school. We use the CLPE scheme of work and VIPERS to ensure we understand and unlock the meaning of the texts as we go along.

How do we teach Reading? What does this look like?

Our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and promoting and developing a love of reading.

From Early Years right up to Year 6, we have a reading list for enjoyment and focused reading. This is a list, year group by year group, of books we want to make sure teachers read to their classes, purely for the joy of sharing brilliant books and enjoying reading. These books are based on a focussed author and link to our English writing curriculum. They are books we know our children have loved, classics all children should experience, and we have also ensured we include a wide range of great books reflecting the diversity in our school but also in society as a whole, and books written by diverse authors. We read to our classes every day and we always cherish that special time. Our children consider extra whole class reading time as a valuable reward and something to look forward to! These sessions help to develop listening skills, comprehension and story language. It is also during these sessions that children will start to develop an idea about what types of books they enjoy and want to hear repeatedly. The books we share then feature on our class library book shelves or book corners, so children can access them for themselves afterwards. Books by the same author are also often in high demand to be borrowed!

Early Reading
At Holy Cross Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in EYFS and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.

We currently use Big Cat Collins Letters and Sounds books that directly align with a child’s phonic knowledge. We expect that children read at home as often as possible and listen to stories to help them further develop their own reading and a love of reading.

(See our Early Reading and Phonics Curriculum Statement)

Guided Reading
Alongside teaching children the skills they need to read at word level, we also teach them comprehension skills, such as re-telling events in order, predicting what could happen next and inferring how someone feels or why it might have happened. Children hear, share and discuss a range of high-quality texts through our whole class Guided Reading, both in terms of fiction and non-fiction. Genres are mapped out across Key Stage 1 and 2 to ensure progression and breadth of coverage. We recognise the implicit link between knowledge progression and reading comprehension. In line with this, our broad and enriching curriculum supports comprehension by ensuring that children are able to bring their knowledge of the world around them to their reading.

In KS2, we ensure that children of all ages learn comprehension strategies and are able to respond to texts. We explicitly teach the following key reading domains:
  • Vocabulary (and grammar – linguistic knowledge)
  • Inference
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Retrieval
  • Summarising (KS1) / Sequencing (KS2)
The level of challenge increases throughout the year groups through the complexity of texts being read.

By the time children leave our school what will they be able to do?

Reading for enjoyment comes naturally for our children but we constantly strive to ensure it remains high profile, exciting and a main feature of the school experience for our pupils! By the time our children reach Year 6 they should be able to read and show confidence, resilience and independence in both their reading and their reading skills so that they continue to become lifelong readers. They will have a love of reading and will have developed preferences on what type of genre or topic they like to read.

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” - Dr. Seuss

Target Trackers for English

Year 1 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 2 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 3 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 4 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 5 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 6 Reading
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 1 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 2 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 3 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 4 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 5 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Year 6 Writing
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School

Weblinks for Reading

Book trust Lots of online stories and activities

Cbeebies There are lots of stories on the Cbeebies site as well as bedtime stories

Fun with Spot There aren't actually stories on this site but lots of activities linked to these popular books

Active Learn Our online learning environment, with lots of fun books for children to read/share.

BBC Nursery songs A collection of nursery songs from the Early Learning series Listen and Play and Playtime, both of which are currently available on iplayer and as podcasts

Love Reading Expert recommendations and opening extracts of books.

Oxford Owl Phonics advice and access to free E-Books. Free to register.

Pearson Publisher’s website designed to give parents help and advice for reading with children.

Phonics A useful website featuring free resources for KS1 (and the option of subscribing)

Read for my school Reading competition for Years 3- 4 featuring a great range of books, including those for the struggling reader.

Why Sharing a Bedtime Story is Important

Whatever your child's age or reading level, sharing a book at bedtime is the perfect way to bring the day to a close.

Bedtime Stories...
  • Help you to bond with your child, while you both relax and wind down from a busy day.

  • Improve your child’s reading ability and their mental well-being.

  • Spark imagination, as books open up whole new worlds.

  • Create conversation and help to develop a child’s questioning skills and curiosity.

  • Encourage children to find their own voice and have an opinion.

  • Expand vocabulary and improve emotional intelligence.

  • Promote and inspire independent reading.
Why Sharing a Bedtime Story is Important

Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Queen's Drive
Telephone: 01793 527679
Email: admin@holycross.swindon.sch.uk
Headteacher: Mrs S Dowdeswell
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