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Marion Richardson


English learning at Marion Richardson school places equal importance on speaking and listening, reading and writing.  This is because we believe that children need to be confident in all three areas of English in order to be successful learners.

 Teachers plan for children to have opportunities in every lesson to talk with their peers, and the teacher, in order to explain ideas, share thinking and ask questions.  We believe this leads to better reading and writing.

 We aim to provide a learning environment that encourages all children to fully develop their ability to read. The skills that children develop in this area are necessary for all areas of the curriculum and are used throughout the school week. The specific teaching of reading takes place during daily English lessons which are based on the National Curriculum and the Tower Hamlets Exemplar Plans.

 Children have Guided Reading every week, where the teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, etc.). Comprehension is also a key aspect of Guided Reading, whereby children develop a deeper understanding of the content of what they have read through careful and planned questioning.

 Where children are identified as needing additional support/reading experience with an adult, they are offered individual reading in addition to guided reading. Targeted children have the opportunity to read one-to-one with an adult. As with Guided Reading, this is an opportunity to help children to use various reading strategies and develop their comprehension.

Each class has its own reading area, which we aim to make as inviting and stimulating as possible. Within each reading area there are a range of books for different reading levels that the children can access. There are also books available related to the current IPC topic to extend children’s interest and knowledge. We also have a school library where children can borrow books to take home.

Children take their reading books home each day to practise their reading skills and share their learning with their families. A home school reading diary or journal is provided for each child so that teachers and parents/carers can communicate about the progress that is being made.

Our school uses Letters and Sounds to teach reading (and writing). It is a phonics resource that was published in 2007 as part of the National Strategies initiative.  It builds children's speaking and listening skills and prepares them for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. 

Children begin Phase One in Nursery and then they are taught the remaining phases in Reception and throughout Key Stage 1. Below is a summary of each phase.



Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

Seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending (putting sounds together to make a work – for reading) and segmenting (splitting a word up into its separate sounds – for spelling).

Phase Two

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes (written sounds) such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes (spoken sounds) not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions.

Phase Four

Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing them

Phase Six

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Please click HERE for the statutory programme of study for spelling, including spelling lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6. 

In EYFS and KS1 we use a range reading scheme resources and books that support children’s reading development and comprehension. The reading schemes that we use regularly are Nelson Thomson PM and the Pearson Phonics Club and Bug Club.  These books are levelled in accordance with a book banding system to ensure that children are reading books at an appropriate level.   We feel that by using a range of different reading schemes children are able to consolidate their learning and develop a wide reading experience.

 In KS2 we encourage children, as they become ready, to read a range of books, some from schemes such as Pearson Bug Club and Oxford Reading Tree, but also chapter books, picture books and non-fiction books that do not belong to schemes.  We feel that this helps to foster reading for pleasure, and reading stamina, which is key to school success for all of our children.

At Marion Richardson school we offer children a wide range of carefully planned opportunities to write across all areas of the curriculum.  We plan for children to experience reading and speaking and listening, which then gives the children the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to write for a range of purposes.  Teaching writing includes all of the skills children need to be successful writers such as: confidence with different types of texts; meaningful contexts, taking into account the children’s interests; presentational skills including handwriting; grammar teaching within context and punctuation. 

 We believe that this integrated approach to English gives all children the best range of experiences and opportunities possible to become successful English learners.