English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

English National Curriculum, 2014


At Race Leys Infant School, Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing are integral to all of our learning.

Speaking and Listening

Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. We give the children opportunity to speak and listen in a variety of ways, including role play, drama, discussion, performances and debates. The use of learning partners is an important part of our teaching.


Early screening of speaking and listening skills takes place in Reception and we follow this with programmes of learning and intervention to support language acquisition throughout the school, including Speech and Language support.

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We love reading at Race Leys Infants! We follow the EYFS framework and the National Curriculum.  As our children progress through the school we develop the different strands of reading

  • Phonics (sounds and word reading)

  • Comprehension (understanding)

  • Reading for enjoyment


We use Read Write Inc as our Phonics, Reading and Writing scheme as it is a detailed and systematic programme. All children have a daily phonics lesson, where they work in a small group at a level suited to their ability. All staff are trained to teach Read Write Inc and regularly receive update training.


When using RWI to read and spell the children will:

* learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts

* learn to read words using Fred Talk, including both real and nonsense words

* learn to spell words by using ‘Fred fingers’

* learn to read common exception words, which have irregular phonemes and spelling patterns

* read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out

* show that they comprehend the stories by answering and discussing questions

 * write simple sentences, using strategies such as ‘Hold a Sentence’.



The children will be assessed at least every 6 weeks to ensure they are in the correct Read Write Inc group.


We believe it is imperative that our children meet a range of books and genres so each child will bring home a phonetically decodable reading book which is closely matched to their reading ability and Read Write Inc group. They will read this book, both at school and at home.  We use a range of reading schemes, all of which are phonetically decodable, including Floppy’s Phonics, Songbirds, Comics for Phonics, Bug Club, Phonics Bug, Collins Big Cat Phonics.

Year 2 children also have a weekly Guided reading lesson. This might be a Shared or a Guided group, depending on the children’s development. These lessons will include guided reading with the teacher, independent reading, spelling and grammar activities and comprehension activities to assess that children’s understanding of the text takes place.


We understand the importance that our children develop a love of books. We have regular story times, by class teachers and teaching assistants and our staff also move round to read their favourite stories to other classes. We know the importance of children regularly hearing the same stories to build their vocabulary, comprehension and fluency so each year group has chosen 10 core stories to enjoy. One of our teachers has also set up a Youtube story time to read a range of stories so that children can access and enjoy these at home.


We raise the profile of reading by celebrating World Book Day where a range of visitors read to our children. We also have a yearly visit from a published author in the summer term. Last year Caryl Hart visited our school and worked with our children. The year before, the poet, Andy Tooze came to share his poems.


This year, we have also participated in the Look for a Book scheme. Many books have been hidden in the playground and around the local community. The children are encouraged to read the book and then re-hide it.


Every class has an exciting book area, we also have a library and the school celebrates reading in displays around the school. We also have the weekly Hideaway Bookshop, where children can save up for books. Children can also receive book prizes for good reading effort or outstanding progress.


Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. We understand the importance of speaking and listening, language and reading to develop writing skills.  At Race Leys, we start with quality texts to stimulate our children’s imagination.


Our Read Write Inc lessons support the children’s developing writing. Children are given strategies to learn to spell words (Fred fingers) and also to develop their writing (Build and Hold a sentence). These lessons also help the children’s growing vocabulary.

In Reception, we carefully plan so children are immersed in a print-rich environment.  Writing progresses from early mark-making and giving meaning to these marks, to forming letters correctly and understanding how words and then sentences are built.


In Key Stage 1, a daily English lesson takes place with emphasis on the teaching elements of ‘transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them.)  We develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of grammar and they learn how to use language effectively to write for a purpose and to engage the reader, as defined in the National Curriculum for English. In Year 2, children learn how to draft, check and edit their own work, focusing on correcting spelling and improving vocabulary.


Handwriting is an important aspect of writing. Initially in Reception, children will be taught to form letters as part of their Read Write Inc lessons. Provision will also focus on gross and fine motor activities. Letters will be taught in the Read Write Inc order and then in formation families. In Year 1, the children will recognise all letters so will move onto learning lead in strokes to allow them to join in Year 2. Those children who display fluent, joined handwriting in Year 2 will be awarded a ‘Special Pencil Award’ and allowed to use a mechanical pencil.