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English Lead: Mrs Schofield

In our school we use Talk for writing as the basis for our English curriculum. This is based on a training programme led by Pie Corbett for which all staff completed two years of training.

We go through three stages of writing for each text we study; these include imitation, innovation and independent or invention.

In the imitation stage we do lots of reading of the class text, mapping the story and drama activities so the pupils fully understand the story and can write it.

In the innovation stage the pupils change different aspects of the story to make it their own; these changes could include different characters, settings, time periods and lots of other innovations.

During the independent stage the pupils will write their own story based on the theme of the text, so maybe a wishing story, a beat the baddie or a portal story. for the whole range look on the whole school text map.

Throughout all the stages the pupils will complete short burst writing activities which will teach them the skills they need to read, deconstruct texts and write their own. These activities are all based on the class text and include spelling, grammar and vocabulary activities. Games are encouraged to support the class teaching an to engage the pupils in their learning.

Non-fiction writing will also be based on the class text and covers a wide range of genres including diaries, biographies, instructions, explanations and information texts.


Phonics and Reading.


Here at Catchgate we teach phonics through a Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme based on Letters and Sounds. During Early Years children's phonics journey begins through everyday activities and provision.  These include tuning into sounds in the environment and lead to orally hearing and saying sounds in words.  We call this Phase 1 and at Catchgate we continue to visit aspects of Phase 1 throughout the other phases. Once in reception children begin to learn the first sounds in Phase 2.


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully using three main strategies: 


GPC - They are taught Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPCs) This means they are taught all of the phonemes in the English language and ways to write them down.These sounds are taught in a particular order:

Phase 2: s a t p i n m d g o c k ch e u r h b f ff l ll ss

Phase 3: j v w x y z zz qu sh ch th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er 

Phase 4: explores previously taught graphemes and supports children to read words with adjacent consonants, such as milk, trap and string

Phase 5: ay ou ie ea oy ir ue aw wh ph ew oe au ey a-e e-e i-e o-e u-e 

Phase 6: The main aim of this phase is to become more fluent readers and speller. 


Blending - Children are taught to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.  This is why the correct pronunciation of each sound is so important (m not muh and s not suh, etc.) 


Segmenting - Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.


We introduce letter sounds and names alongside each other– My name is S and I make the sound sssss. Each sound is also taught with a mnemonic which is a catchy saying to help children remember the correct formation of each letter. 


Tricky words - These are words that cannot be decoded. We teach tricky words during phonics lessons alongside letter sounds.  The words are taught in phases as follows:

Phase 2: I no go to the into

Phase 3: he she we me be was you they all are my her

Phase 4: said have like so do some come were there little one when out what

Phase 5: oh their people Mr Mrs looked called asked could


We teach phonics in groups according to the phase children are working on.  All children are assessed regularly to ensure they are grouped with children working on the same phase.  

Catchgate Phonics Resources 

We use Phonics Play website for a basis for our planning, resources and games. We have created our own flashcards, sound mats, handwriting mats and posters that are used in every class throughout school.  




Reading is such an important skill and we encourage all children to read as much as possible.  All independent reading books in Early Years and Key Stage 1 will be based on the phonic phase they are able to read independently with most words being decodable. All of our independent books have been banded with a colour strip as a close match to each Phase or stage.  We recognise the importance for variety in reading to access a rich vocabulary and different types of books. 


Reading Challenge

We encourage children to read as often as possible.  Reading records are checked daily and stamped each time a child has read at home. They then have the opportunity to change their book.  We reward children for reading 10 times as home with a wrist band.  Children are then offered certificates for reading 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 times at home.  At the end of each half term the child who has read the most times at home will get a badge to recognise this.  At the end of the half term a £5 voucher is awarded to the child who has read the most overall in school.


All pupils also take part in guided reading in a small group. The schemes used are Rigby Star, Rigby Navigator, Rigby Max and Collins Big Cats.


How can I support reading at home? 

Read with your child as often as possible.  Ensure that there are no distractions and that you can hear what your child is saying and you can ask questions.  


For any further information please contact our English lead - Mrs Schofield or speak to your child's class teacher.

Guided Reading Policy

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