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Learning English at Henley Green

At Henley Green, we know that early literacy skills are hugely important. Therefore, our children start learning and exploring phonics right from their Nursery year. We aim to get children reading accurately as quickly as possible and this is done successfully due to our children's early exposure to sounds. This knowledge feeds in to their emerging writing skills and sets our pupils up with the best possible foundation to hone their literacy skills during the rest of their time with us. 



At Henley Green, we aim for our learners to leave us as:

  • Well-rounded citizens who use the English language to successfully access the world around them and to exploit its opportunities to widen their horizons, broaden their experiences and raise their aspirations.
  • Accurate, fluent and well-read individuals with a genuine and intrinsic love and motivation for reading and literature of all types.
  • Articulate, confident  and technically precise writers who take pleasure in doing so.
  • Masters of a broad, rich and varied vocabulary centred around the wide range of topics they have explored throughout their schooling.
  •  A solid command of the English language with which they can express themselves and communicate with others in spoken and written form.
  • Curious and questioning learners who know how to ask questions that develop their understanding and allow them to further interrogate the world around them to maximise what they get out of it.
  • Individuals that have good oracy skills and can articulate themselves and their opinions with clarity in order to make brilliant first impressions and allow them to pursue any leisure or professional interests of their choice in the future.
  • Children that have experienced  a wide range of extra-curricular experiences and opportunities linked to their studies in reading and writing.
  • Learners that have been immersed in a cross curricular programme of study that has deepened their knowledge of and skills in English and that links to other subjects.

The teaching of reading and writing in EYFS and Year 1 is robust through a systematic approach to phonics via the Read Write Inc programme. For our EYFS children, their exposure to English initially focuses on reading. The children are prepared for their journey with Ready Write Inc by learning about phonics and sounds in their Nursery year through short group time sessions and activities. These sessions evolve into formal Read Write Inc sessions in the Summer term of Nursery, which continue and increase to one hour in Reception and Year 1 where children take home reading books matched to their in-school lessons. To further immerse our children in language and literacy, our children begin learning and exploring nursery rhymes in our 'Little Acorns' 2 year-old setting and this continues into Nursery and are re-visited in Reception to aid with transition. From exploring nursery rhymes, children in Reception go on to explore traditional and contemporary stories lead by their interests through a Talk 4 Writing approach. This focuses on story mapping and oral retelling of stories before children go on to think about characters and start to innovate and create their own stories at first orally and then by writing them down. 


Due to the rapid progress our children make through the Read Write Inc. programme, many Year 1 children go on to access the bespoke and topic-centred English lessons, as seen in the rest of the school, to supplement their phonics lessons later in the year. From Years 1 to 6, our children learn through discrete whole class guided reading lessons and separate writing lessons. Children in Year 1 begin whole class guided reading from Autumn 2 in addition to their daily phonics lessons, and move to formal writing lessons as soon as they have finished the Read Write Inc. programme. The content of our English curriculum (WCGR and writing lessons) emerges from the topics the children study in other areas of the curriculum: our English provision is where their knowledge and cross-curricular links are strengthened and displayed. We ensure that we capitalise on the link between good reading leading into good writing by ensuring that each writing unit the children complete is linked to the text(s) they are studying in reading each week.


The content of our whole class guided reading lessons is carefully mapped across each year group in the school to ensure that the content is progressive and builds through the school. Through this mapping, we ensure that children are exposed to breadth and depth and of text types, genres and authors of our own and a more diverse heritage. These lessons develop our children’s comprehension skills, and our Read Write Inc, Fresh Start and other tailored reading interventions ensure that those children who still need support with word reading and decoding get the tailored provision they need to accelerate progress and catch up with their peers. Within and in addition to these lessons, children are heard reading as individuals and in groups. Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely and our school has a dedicated and embedded approach to reading for pleasure with a leader assigned to manage and monitor this vital area of school life. Children visit our school libraries weekly which allows them time to develop a love of reading and to read independently for their enjoyment. Children who are free readers take home library books to access at home, and children in Nursery or who are still reading phonetically decodable Read Write Inc book or an Oxford Reading Tree book can take a reading for pleasure in addition to these. Each classroom also has its own book corner for children to borrow books from or enjoy during the school day. Our motto is “We read every day at Henley Green!” and children know that they are refining and using their reding skills in every lesson, not just in English!

We take elements of Jane Considine’s pedagogical approach ‘The Write Stuff’ to structure our writing lessons. The focus of this is on quality whole class teaching, teacher-led, live modelling which scaffolds and supports all children, and especially those with Special Educational Needs or other barriers to learning, to make progress. Our writing lessons are grouped into units by writing outcomes that cover all 4 writing purposes and a range of genres and audiences. The learning emerges from a pre-written, high-quality model text. These models again ensure that our children’s writing opportunities are varied and progressive. There is an emphasis on collaborative writing before children apply their learning independently. Through this collaboration, children work verbally to develop vocabulary, syntax and their speaking and listening skills alongside their writing stamina and precision. The format of our lessons also reflects Rosenshine’s principles of instruction by the emphasis on models, scaffolding, guided and collaborative tasks before independent practice. ‘The Write Stuff’ is used in combination with our bespoke lesson structure which reflects the current cognitive theories around retrieval practice. Our lesson structure encourages children to think about prior learning, to position their current task in relation to their wider learning journey (both past and future), to be prepared for writing through expert modelling, to practice independently and finally to polish the writing that they produce. Spelling taught discretely in weekly lessons using Spelling Shed. Children can also access the SNIP spelling intervention if they experience particular difficulty with spelling. Handwriting is refined and addressed consistently and constantly in English lessons and where children write in other curriculum lessons.


Due to the diversity of our cohorts, and that many of our children arrive new to country with little exposure to the English language, our school has a systematic and rigorous approach to developing and expanding our children’s vocabulary. Children complete daily tasks which expose them to new words and meanings and as our English curriculum is linked closely to the various topics children explore they consolidate their knowledge of this too through the cross-curricular vocabulary work. This vocabulary is at the centre of our English lessons and there is a tailored and progressive list of words relating to the various topics to be taught discretely as part of their learning in English as they move through the school. 


Our children are assessed in a variety of ways. In reading, children that access the Read Write Inc or Fresh Start programmes are assessed with the programmes resources each half term. Once off these programmes, children complete Salford Reading Assessments each term which allocates their home reading book level on the Oxford Reading Tree spine. Reading and Writing are also assessed formatively throughout each term and summatively at termly data collection points by teachers using our assessment girds.


A range of extra activities are used to promote literacy within the school including Coventry Building Society Writer of The Year competition, links with the UKLA for competitions and reading opportunities, local author and illustrator visits, Young Shakespeare Company performances, library trips, book weeks, World Book Day, read-a-thons, Reading Gladiators, book clubs and many more...


Our bespoke approach to the teaching and learning of English ensures the rapid and accelerated progress of our students in reading and writing from their starting points. Our provision means that our children leave us with: a widened vocabulary; improved knowledge and skills in the two reading domains (word reading and comprehension) and the four writing domains (spelling; composition; grammar, punctuation and vocabulary and transcription ) and a wealth of experiences to draw upon in the future. They have had time to become excellent communicators who can read accurately and access any texts they need to in order to live a fulfilled life and to learn successfully in the wider curriculum. They will also have learned to find pleasure in literature after exploring their preferences at school. Our children finish their time at Henley Green having learned to construct and successfully created pieces of writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences across a broad spectrum of genres. Ultimately, our English curriculum ensures that our pupils leave us ready and prepared to be successful at secondary school and have the tools to engage competently with any task that requires literacy skills there and beyond. 

What will students study in reading and writing at Henley Green?


The documents below detail exactly what are children explore when they learn English both in reading and writing across the breadth of our school right from our 'Little Acorns' 2 year-old provision all the way through to end of Year 6. 

Reading & Writing Progression Maps

KS1 & KS2 Henley Green English Long Term Plan 2022-2023

What is 'The Write Stuff'?

What is phonics and Read Write Inc?

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

How do we assess reading and writing at Henley Green?


We use the National Curriculum (2014) to asses our children's learning, progress and attainment during the course of their time at Henley Green. They are assessed at 3 data collection points each year and your child's teacher will report on this at 2 parents' evenings and in their written report. 


Our teachers use children's oral and written contributions, listen to them read and formal and informal test results to provide evidence of the children achieving the strands from the National Curriculum for reading, writing and spoken language. 


Please see the grids below which are what our teachers use to assess whether children are working at the expected standard for their age (EXS), working towards this expected standard (WTS) or below the expected standard (BLW). Sometimes, children may really struggle to access the content for their year group. On these rare occasions, children are assessed as working on the curriculum for another year group (OYG), and the corresponding assessment grids containing the year group's content that they are able to access will be used instead of the ones belonging to their chronological year group.

We read every day at

Henley Green!

Reading and Phonics

Phonics and Early Reading

At Henley Green Primary School, children are taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading through the Read Write Inc programme from Nursery. Initially, children in Nursery access adult directed, short group time activities to develop their phonological awareness using ‘The Ultimate Guide to Phonological Awareness’. This prepares them for accessing Read Write Inc sessions from the Summer term and these continue throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. During Read Write Inc sessions, pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds to read, and how to segment the sounds to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

For further information about phonics and early reading, please see:

Reading Schemes

We use Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Collins Big Cat, Treetops, Bug Club Phonics and Read Write Inc Book Bag Books for home reading books. The are all banded according the level at which your child is reading. In addition, children take part in regular guided reading sessions in class using real books and books from range of reputable reading schemes. Home and guided reading books include a wide range of stories, text types and illustrations. As well as sharing high quality texts in class, the children are also encouraged to develop a love of reading by choosing books from their class Book Corners, our two libraries and joining the local library.


What is phonics?

Read Write Inc Parents' FAQs

The Year 1 Phonic Screening Check

Reading at Home: Sharing Stories

We expect every child at Henley Green Primary School to read every day at home.  But reading at home is not just about children reading their school book, it's also about sharing stories.  Children love listening to stories, especially snuggled up with someone they love, but there are also a number of child-friendly apps which allow children to hear and interact with stories on their own.  To find some of these apps, please go to which is full of good ideas.

Are you in Year 1 or Year 2?  Click this link to find lots of games.

Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 click on this link for games and ideas that will help you practise reading, writing, spelling and grammar.


If you have any queries, please contact the school office on 02476613163.