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ENGLISH - We are speakers, readers and writers!

Our Vision for English

All the skills of the English language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; therefore, at Brackenbury, developing children to be fluent in speaking, reading and writing underpins all learning. We provide an exploration, communication and enjoyment of the English language. Our children will be inspired to become avid readers and will be exposed to a wide range of different novels, authors and text-types that espouse our Brackenbury core values and align with the children’s own lives no matter their race, faith or diverse background. Our children will be courageous and creative in their writing, having multiple opportunities to master their skills across the curriculum. By exploring language and justifying language choices and by discussing and analysing the impact of writing on the reader, children at Brackenbury will become confident communicators. They will develop a lifelong love of reading and writing and will be world ready for an ever-growing global community.


In Reception, big books and stories are shared regularly to model reading behaviours, such as turning pages, left to right orientation, tracking the text and identifying key words.  We use a structured phonics scheme – Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, that builds systematically over time.  Phonics is taught in whole class sessions.  In Reception, the focus is on Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4.  Children who are not picking up phonics at the same rate as their class have extra intervention to enable them to keep track with their class.  There are regular half-termly assessments to track children’s knowledge and skills. Tricky words are also taught from Reception.   

Our lesson structure and teaching approach is to read a book three times: first to decode, second for prosody (using correct intonation and expression), and finally, for comprehension. Children then will take this decodable book home to practise. We refer to these as reading practice books. These will be full decodable. Children will also take home two story books. These books are to be read with adults to promote a love of reading and expose children to a wider range of vocabulary. These are referred to as sharing books.  

Vocabulary is a key part of all subjects, including reading, so that children begin to develop a rich vocabulary right from the start of their schooling.   

In Year 1, we teach reading using guided reading with the books exactly matched to the children’s phonic skills, (fully decodable).   The daily diet of phonics continues with whole class teaching and focuses on a recap of phase 3 and 4 before teaching phase 5.  We follow the same lesson structure as Reception.  

In Year 2, we teach using guided reading, following the lesson structures used in Reception and Year 1.  Towards the end of the year, we move into whole class guided reading using a quality narrative text.  This supports the development of comprehension and inference skills.  The children read books matched to their phonic level, using Little Wandle. Once children are fluent readers, they can move on to reading books off the phonics scheme. The phonic focus is on recapping phase 5 and using the Grow the Code chart inn reading and writing.  Phonic interventions for children who have not passed the phonic screening in Year 1 take place during this year.      

In Key Stage 2, children have 5 x 30 minute guided reading sessions. We use a focused whole class method of teaching guided reading, underpinned by clear modelling of the reading skills required to make progress. To foster children’s love of reading, our guided reading core reads are carefully selected and link (where possible) to our topics in order to completely immerse the children in the book that is being studied. We also ensure our core reads are from a range of different authors and have characters who espouse our Brackenbury school values and who are from a range of different backgrounds to best represent our diverse school community. These core reads will be read by the class teacher as the class daily reader so children will be exposed in detail to six high quality chapter books from start to finish, allowing every child to build vocabulary, inference skills and enjoyment of reading no matter their ability to decode. We also ensure we have a range of high quality non-fiction and picture books.     

Click here to view our core reads in EYFS Year 1 Year 2 and our guided reading core reads for Year 3, Year4, Year 5 and Year 6

Please read this document to find out more details.  


At Brackenbury, we use the Talk For Writing method to develop children’s writing. Our approach centres around three stages: ‘Imitate, Innovate and Invent’. In the imitate stage, children use drama and recital to immerse themselves and learn orally a language rich model text. Teachers then guide children to explore and analyse the key features and structures found within the text and are taught how they can apply this to their own writing. In the innovate stage, teachers model the act of being a writer by using demonstrated or shared writing to guide children through a paragraph by paragraph instruction on how to create their own versions of the model text. During this stage, children are encouraged to work on their targets and receive regular feedback on next steps. In the invent stage, children independently apply the skills they have learnt during the unit to plan, draft and edit a piece of writing. Children are encouraged to then publish and perform their finished writing to give real audience and purpose to their work. 

Our model texts are matched to the National Curriculum. See here for the expectations of writing from Reception to Year 6. 

Grammar, punctuation and spelling 

During each unit of work, children are taught specific grammar and punctuation skills within the context of their Talk for Writing unit of work. These may be as whole lessons, lesson starters or short burst afternoon fluency sessions. For spelling, we use the No-Nonsense Spelling Programme from Year 2 to Year 6. 

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