Powell's C of E Primary School

Powell's C of E Primary School images


English at Powells


At Powell’s we aim to provide an English curriculum which allows all children to express their creativity, foster a love for literature and embed the necessary skills within the key learning areas of language and communication including reading, writing, listening, speaking and phonics.


The overarching aim for English in our school is to ensure that:

high standards of language and literacy are promoted by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Teaching and Learning

English is taught daily across the school for at least one hour. Spelling, reading and handwriting are all taught within, and in addition to daily English lessons. Throughout the Foundation Stage and KS1 phonics is taught daily as a discrete session lasting up to 30 minutes. Discrete teaching of spellings and rules continues in KS2.


In line with the National Curriculum, reading is a high priority for us at Powell’s. Not only do we want to ensure our children learn the skills required to become proficient readers, we want to encourage them to develop a love of reading. Every class across the school has an inviting book area which promotes reading engagement and supports our pupils’ in accessing books that are of interest to the, and appropriate for them as readers. As well as classrooms promoting a love of reading through engaging book corners, each class studies a novel – once a term - as part of their English curriculum. The novels chosen are high quality texts which stimulate excellent writing and discussion opportunities.


Our children’s reading journeys start in Reception where they are taught to read during daily phonics sessions. At Powell’s we follow the Dfe Letters and Sounds scheme of progression where the children learn the initial sounds and how to segment and blend these. Phonics is taught in a creative way where the children can explore the different sounds through fun and engaging activities using a wide range of resources. The children also experience story time where stories, poems and rhymes are being read to them daily.

In KS1, the teaching of phonics continues daily. Over the course of the year, our KS1 pupils also begin reading through the Accelerated Reader scheme. Children also engage in Guided Reading sessions where they will share a text and discuss what has been read. As reading is so important for us at Powell’s, children are heard to read on a weekly basis.

As the children move into KS2, Guided Reading sessions continue weekly. These may be whole class sessions or small groups. Across the year, our children experience a great range of vocabulary rich texts. We ensure that the texts explored are chosen carefully so that the children are introduced to a number of different authors and genres. Through our novel studies, children experience hearing high quality texts read to them as well as reading out loud themselves. During English lessons we ensure that there are opportunities during our novel studies to familiarise the children with the text as well as discussing word meaning and effect.

Book Bands and Word Boxes

Early reading at Powell’s is closely linked to each child’s individual phonics ability and progression. Our reading resources are closely matched to the Letters and Sounds Phases (see table below).

Once children are able to read the individual sounds in Phase 2, Set 1 they will be given a Word Box. These boxes contain sets of individual words featuring the focus sounds. The children begin to learn to blend short words that contain 2 or 3 letters. The children will then work their way through the word box levels as their phonic knowledge progresses.

When the children are able to read individual words they then start to take home reading books (as well as continuing with word boxes). Reading books at Powell’s are again matched to the Phases in Letters and Sounds (again see table below).  Each Book Band colour is split into 2 sets of books, phonic books and non-phonic books - the children will take home one of each of the same colour. The phonic books will provide the opportunity for children use their decoding skills whilst the non-phonic books will help to develop the children’s sight vocabulary, in particular recognising those ‘Tricky Words’ that cannot be decoded.

The children will progress their way through the bands until they have completed the turquoise level. They do not need to read every book in each band; the level they should be on is judged by how accurate they are when reading and also when answering comprehension questions about what they have read. The children should be around 95% accurate on the reading books they take home. They will read books from the next level up in their Guided Reading sessions with their teacher; the teachers can then monitor their reading progress and easily see when they are ready to move on to the next Book Band level.




Letters and Sounds


Tricky Words

Book Band

Word Boxes

Phase 1




(no words)



Phase 2

Set 1: s, a, t, p

Set 2: i, n, m, d

Set 3: g, o, c, k

Set 4: ck, e, u, r

Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ss









1 - 32



Phase 3

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

he       me

we      be

she     was

you    they

all      are

my     her


33 - 82


Phase 4

Adjacent consonants, e.g. tr - trap, str - string and lk - milk

some    come

said       so

do         like

have     were

one       out

there    little

when    what


83 - 122



Phase 5

Complex code - alternative  pronunciations for graphemes.

Year 1 Common exception words


123 - 160



Phase 6

Basic spelling rules. Suffixes introduced (s, es, ing, ed, er, est, y, en, ful, ly, ment, ness, en), plus basic grammar strategies.

Year 2 Common exception words

Accelerated Reader



Once a child has completed Phase 5 / Turquoise Book Band level they should then be reading more fluently i.e. reading by sight more and less reliant on their phonic skills. The next step is to focus more on further developing their individual comprehension skills. Following Turquoise level, the children will then move on to following the Accelerated Reader program.

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is an online based program that helps us to monitor and manage children’s independent reading practice. At the start of every new term, the children take a Star Test which determines their reading level and gives them an individual reading level (ZPD range). Each child then selects books at their own level, reads them at their own pace and then takes a short online comprehension ‘quiz’ on what they have read. Teachers use the feedback and data from the children’s quiz results together with their own assessments made when reading with the child to support them in guiding pupils, setting goals and directing ongoing reading practice.

We encourage all children to foster a love of reading here at school and expect them to be also reading daily at home. Developing a love for reading is incredibly important as in the words of Dr Seuss ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you will learn, the more places you will go!’


Recommended book lists



Year One


Year Two


Year Three


Year Four


Year Five


Year Six




Writing is taught and learnt through meaningful and effective contexts using a range of approaches. These include:

  • Modelled and shared writing
  • Guided writing
  • Independent writing
  • Talking partners
  • Sharing and reflecting on their writing
  • Editing stations
  • Talk for writing

Within English lessons, children are taught to write a wide variety of text types including non-fiction, narratives and poetry. Across the school we use elements of Talk for Writing to immerse children in high quality model texts where each text type is introduced and explored, looking at its key features, structures and associated vocabulary. Within KS1 and Lower Key Stage 2, children learn the model text through recital, pictorial prompts, actions and dictation. Children are then supported in the creation of their own innovations of the text.

We use a range of teaching approaches to develop children’s writing, including:

  • Modelled, shared and guided writing
  • Independent writing
  • Peer and self-assessment against given success criteria
  • Opportunities of oral rehearsal of sentences and text types
  • Vocabulary, punctuation and grammar activities taught discretely and as part of writing units

Wherever possible, we ensure that the children are writing for a purpose. We will often link our writing to our class novel and/or class topic. During each term, we teach a mixture of poetry, narrative and non-fiction text types.

Grammar, spelling and punctuation

In order to prepare our children for the end of KS2 Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation test (SPAG), grammar, spelling and punctuation are taught within English lessons through language and sentence games and discrete sessions.


We want all of our children to become confident when spelling unknown words. Within the Foundation Stage and KS1, children learn to segment words and identify the sounds during their daily phonics sessions. In Year 2, children are slowly introduced to some of the spelling rules such as adding suffixes enabling them to spell increasingly more complex words. Once children move into KS2, spelling rules are introduced during English lessons and spelling sessions. Weekly spellings are set for the children to practice at home and they are tested on these each week. The children’s weekly spellings link with the specific spelling rule being taught during that week in lessons.


EY's 2019 Read, Write info

Accelerated Reader

English Policy July 2016

English - Grammar Policy

Spelling Word List Year 3/4 

Spelling Word List Year 5/6