How do children learn English at Nailsworth?

Our aim is to ensure that every child has a secure foundation in the basic skills of grammar, punctuation, spelling, reading, comprehension and handwriting and that they can apply these skills across a range of subjects. We place great emphasis on the teaching of reading, with the goal that each child should be able to read fluently and accurately with understanding and enjoyment. The school uses a clear reading programme, drawing on a range of published schemes and other materials. We pride ourselves on the range of reading material (fiction and non-fiction) available for children of all ages to read. In each year group, we focus on key skills that need to be learnt for English. The learning areas for English are divided into:




Under each header below, there is a dropdown menu that will provide further detail on how English is taught in each year group:


The Journey of Reading

As a school, we want every child to love reading. We know that books give access not only to imaginary worlds, historical events and interesting facts, but that they also develop vocabulary and understanding of the spoken and written word.

The journey of reading begins in Reception class with an enjoyment of books and sharing information. We teach phonics to help our children decode words. Once they can decode, children are then supported to read for enjoyment. We teach strategies to aid this process. Inference is one such strategy based on the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion on the basis of circumstantial evidence and what we already know. Another strategy is the ability to evaluate a text, commenting on plot and setting. We also support children in the acquisition of new vocabulary, teaching word meanings and using a wide range of vocabulary within school.

The children take part in Guided Reading activities on a daily basis. These activities involve a mixture of reading with adults as well as individual reading activities. We encourage children to change their books as soon as they are ready to (by putting them in a box in the classroom at the start of the day).

We celebrate books within school and each class has their own shared reading book to enjoy together. We also regularly share prose and poems in order to enjoy them.

Reading Key Skills 


The Journey of Writing

Writing begins in our reception class. The teaching team use story scribing as a technique to inspire children to write. As the year continues, children are encouraged to write more independently and scribing decreases.

In year 1, children begin “cursive” or “joined up” writing. This style of writing improves the fluency and the legibility of children’s work. It also thought to stimulate neural connections in the brain, improving brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory.

As children progress from Year 1 to Year 6, they are taught to write for a range of audiences and purposes.  They are supported in building the grammar skills and rich vocabulary necessary to do this. Children are expected to edit their own work based on their teachers’ guidance and recommendations. By the time they leave us to move on to Secondary school, they are confident and exciting writers.


Cursive letter formation

Writing Key Skills:


Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar:

As a school we embed the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) in our daily reading and writing, as well as teaching separate sessions of SPAG. We believe that spelling, punctuation and grammar are an essential part of learning and communication.

A crucial part of this learning process is allowing children the opportunity to explore how different elements of SPAG are used in the real world. Therefore, we encourage children to identify where authors have used it and consider why and how it helps them as a reader.

We place emphasis on the continuous consolidation of the terms children need to understand, in order to support them in understanding grammatical terms and usage.

If you would like more information on the terminology used, please click to follow this link:

Primary Grammar Glossary for Parents 

Below you can download an overview of the SPAG expectations for each year group at Nailsworth C of E Primary School:

SPAG Overview Years 1 – Years 6


Key Stage 1 – Phonics

Phonics teaching is an important part of Literacy skills. At Nailsworth C of E Primary School, we aim to inspire a love of reading, by building confidence and fluency through tailored differentiated teaching to your child’s needs.

Phonics teaching involves showing children the sounds of letters (not the letter names) and how these sounds can be blended together to make words. For example, the word ‘cat’ is a decodable word because the letter sounds can be blended together.

c – a – t = cat

At Nailsworth C of E Primary School we teach phonics using a government scheme called ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is organised into six phonic phases which your child progresses through as their reading ability improves. Phases 1-4 are usually taught in Reception and recapped, where needed, in Year 1 before moving onto Phase 5. Phase 6 curriculum is covered in Year 2.

At the end of Year 1, the children have a government initiated screening called the ‘phonics screening’ to assess their ability to recognise, decode and blend a range of real words and ‘alien’ (pseudo) words.

Key Stage 1 – Common Exception Words    

Exception words are words that work in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics ‘doesn’t work’, but they are words that may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way. Some exception words are used very frequently, which is why children are introduced to them very early on in their phonics learning. These are lists of common exception words that children need to be able to read and spell by the end of year 1 and year 2:

At the bottom of this page you can find Useful Website Links to a range of resources for you to support your child with reading at home.

Key Stage 2 – Spelling


In these dropdown menus you will find helpful resources to use when supporting your children at home:

Reading at Home

Taking time to read with your child at home each day and to hear them read to you is both important for them and a lovely way to spend time with your child. Try to make sure you’re in a quiet comfortable place before you start and not rushed. Please do encourage your child to get their reading book changed regularly – it really helps with their progress.

If you can ask questions, after your child has read a section, this will help to ensure that children fully understand the text before changing their reading book. You can see the types of questions we use in our guided reading sessions in school here: 

Vocal expression in reading aloud is equally important so please help your child to recognise punctuation: full stops, exclamation marks, question marks, speech marks and encourage creative use of character voices. Using the contents page and the index in non-fiction books to find information, are also important in helping comprehension.

The school-wide Rewarding Reading scheme will be continuing this year.

To take part, children will have to have their reading record signed 4 times a week and will have to bring in their reading record each week.


Useful Website Links

Here are some links to useful websites that you could use at home with your children to develop their proficiency in English further. All children have the potential to learn English to the highest level and maybe these links will help them get there:

Key Stage 1 – Phonics:

YouTube channel: Letters and Sounds for Home and School
Government pack outlining an approach for teachers
http://www.familylearning.org.uk/phonics_games.html  (n.b. most of these games use Adobe Flash Player)
https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk (n.b. most of these games use Adobe Flash Player)
The National Literacy Trust – Resources and activities for home and school
http://www.communication4all.co.uk/http/PhonicsWeb.htm (printable phonics cards)
YouTube video channel: ‘Mr Thorne’ does phonics
https://www.education.com/games/phonological-awareness/ (free games to play)
http://www.ictgames.com/literacy.html (free games to play)
Video of articulation of all sounds – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqhXUW_v-1s

Key Stage 2:

 BBC Bitesize (Spelling and grammar)

Here, you can see some examples of how writing progresses through the years at Nailsworth C of E Primary School: