At Stoneydown, we have a carefully planned and tightly structured approach to teaching phonic knowledge and skills that is systematic, fast-paced and engaging. This enables children to hear, say, read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly and to decode easily. Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 take part in a daily phonics session, taking the children through a sequence of phases of phonic development. We teach phonics using Read Write Inc materials and children are grouped according to their current phonics level. Teachers and Teaching Assistants are highly trained and ensure that all the children participate actively and that learning is enjoyable as well as productive.

The assessment of individual pupils’ progress is frequent and detailed and we put in place effective provision for any child who needs to catch up. We have high expectations of what all pupils should achieve. National phonics screening takes place in the summer term of Year 1.

Children’s phonics skills are applied in daily English lessons and through reading and writing across the curriculum.

Phonemes demonstration video - a demonstration on how to pronounce the phonemes.


Reading in Years 3 to 6

Once a child has learnt how to decode print, they need to be able to develop their comprehension skills. This is a vast task as reading encompasses many different text types and genres.

During KS2, your child may be encouraged to broaden his/her skills and to find out about great books and authors. They will study some stories in depth while also having the opportunity to discover a whole range of texts including fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry. Children may develop favourite authors which s/he rereads over and over again. 

Once a child has learnt how to decode print, s/he needs to be able to develop his/her comprehension skills. This is a vast task as reading encompasses any different text types and genres.

It is always enjoyable to listen to stories and share a book together. That is why we read regularly to all classes up to Year 6 and we urge you to read at home with your child every day. The best readers are those who read the most and the more children read, the more enjoyment and learning they gain from it. In addition, great readers become great writers.



Elements of writing

Writing is a key means of expression so we aim for every child to become a confident writer. However, writing is often viewed as a challenging curriculum subject as mastery of it involves developing skills in several areas ie:

  • Spelling
  • Handwriting
  • Composition
  • Punctuation


Phonics (the learning of the ‘sound’ of letters and letter combinations) is the basis of spelling. Recognising, using and blending sounds and learning sight words is vital to children’s rapid spelling skills. Next comes learning spelling ‘rules’ (e.g. ‘i before e except after c’)

Year 2 Parent Spelling Workshop

Key stage 2 Parent Spelling Workshop


Joined writing is the natural progression from early experimental writing from children in the early years. Printing (not joining letters) prevents ‘flow’ and the learning of how words ‘feel’ when they are written. At Stoneydown, we use the ‘continuous cursive’ handwriting style.


Thinking of what to write; organising our thoughts and getting ideas down on paper. Achieving a desired effect, e.g. to instruct, persuade, inform, entertain, etc.


Punctuation is used to help make the meaning of written sentences clear and as the writer intended them to be read. 


Composing is the most important element of writing. Without ideas, there is nothing to write! Many parents express their concerns about their child’s difficulty with spelling and handwriting (naturally); however it is writing composition which is the key to ‘good writing’. For composition, children need to generate ideas, organise their thoughts and express them on the page.

Creating ideas for writing

From birth we are developing our children’s ability to become writers. By interacting with our children: talking; singing; going on visits; engaging in role-play; sharing books, reading stories etc., we are providing vital banks of resources into which children can dip when composing.

Making writing purposeful and valuable

Children need to see that there is a reason for them to write. Both at school and at home, we need to be providing purposes for ‘real writing’. Writing is a life skill, and whether this is composing on computer or on paper, children need to see the value of putting the effort into producing the writing in the first place.

How we teach writing at school

  • Having a meaningful stimulus and purpose for writing
  • Reading and collecting ideas
  • Talking and rehearsing ideas
  • Exploring ideas through drama and role-play
  • Teacher Modelling
  • Shared Writing
  • Guided Writing
  • Paired and Independent Writing
  • Sharing Children’s Writing
  • Writing targets
  • BPIs (Blue Pen Improvements)

Assessing writing

Every week, children's writing is checked against their targets so we are continually monitoring progress.

For summative assessment, we assess children’s unaided writing termly and analyse their ability to:

  • Write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts
  • Produce texts that are appropriate to task, reader and purpose
  • Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events
  • Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs
  • Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect
  • Write with technical accuracy of syntax and punctuation in phrases, clauses and sentences
  • Select appropriate and effective vocabulary
  • Use correct spelling

Selected pieces from children’s work are looked at each term using these criteria; strengths are highlighted and targets are set.


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