Ashwicken C of E Primary School

Ashwicken CE Primary School Caring for Each Other
and Caring for Our World

Ashwicken C of E Primary School





English is at the heart of all children’s’ learning. It enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas, giving these order and meaning. Reading is a life skill that every child should be entitled to have. Without the ability to read and decode text, so much is closed off to a child and later as an adult. We want not only to inspire children through books but also to promote a love of reading to empower our children to become lifelong readers.



At Ashwicken School we have created a reading and poetry spine which is a list of texts, authors and poets that we value at our school and feel children need to experience for many reasons. These texts can be read as a whole, used in chunks to stimulate and model writing or small extracts for discussion and analysis.  We feel exposure to these high quality texts is critical to our children’s success as readers and as individuals in society. These texts and selection of books by key authors will be available for reading silently, reading aloud and being read to. We believe accessibility to quality books is an opportunity for all children regardless of their previous experiences and reading ability. All children can have a shared point from which common reading experiences and learning can be linked and built upon. Books are referenced from our school reading spine which include recommendations from: Doug Lemov's Book Reading Reconsidered, Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine, Books for Topics, Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Book Awards and English Training newly recommended books.

In Ashwicken School children have a range of daily reading experiences through guided reading in the morning, high quality texts used as a models in English lessons, individual reading after lunch and quality texts read to the children at the end of the day. This allows the children to encounter more demanding texts in a safe environment where teachers aim to be reading role models in the way that they discuss and promote books as well as modelling reading for pleasure. The children have access to a range of different reading books used from our reading scheme, class reading area and through access to the school library. 

We follow the Little Wandle Phonics scheme, which teaches the children the 44 different sounds in the English language and 175+ different ways of writing those sounds (graphemes). The correct enunciation of phonemes and modelling of blending by all adults is of paramount importance in the accurate and effective teaching of phonics.

The children have access to a range of different reading books. Each child in Reception and Year 1 will have access to a fully phonetically decodable book matched to their stage of phonics and a non-decodable (reading for pleasure) book within their book band. Children all also have access to online reading books through the programme ‘Big Cat’. Big Cat books are finely matched to the Phases in our phonics sequence and support the progression of all reading skills through regular comprehension questions and assessments.

The teaching of reading comprehension has a consistent approach across the school using the reading viper terminology- VIPERS (vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve, sequence or summarise). Alongside this, pupils are explicitly taught strategies to understand and gather information from a text using PIXL resources and teachers own careful selections both in the texts and reading comprehensions.

In the Foundation Curriculum, a focus is also placed upon vocabulary and knowledge. All children receive daily explicit instruction of challenging and new vocabulary which is revisited and recorded on the working walls in the classroom. Pupils are encouraged to recognise the meaning of new words they encounter such as through considering context cues and exploring the morphology of words which allows for direct links to be made with spelling and grammar.  Children also learn about the etymology of words and their relationships with other languages: this helps to promote curious learners, a respect for other cultures and consolidates long term learning.

We have a reading specialist who supports the bottom 20% of readers as identified through a combination of York assessments and PIXL data. This ensures that each child is adequately supported with improving reading speed, accuracy or comprehension according to their individual needs. This intervention can take the form of tailored phonics programme, precision teaching of key words, the use of PIXL therapies and being heard read. This progress is them monitored and tracked through regular assessments, York and PIXL tests.



By the time children leave, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading, including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience.



Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. By the end of Year Six we intend our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word using correct and adventurous vocabulary. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. We expect high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.



At Ashwicken, we use a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach from Y1 through to Y6 as the vehicle for teaching writing.  This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts.  This also means that children know what to expect as they progress through the school.

This approach breaks down the writing process into three sections: Imitation, Innovation and Invention, which enables the children to understand how to structure a piece of writing. Within the teaching of writing children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence. Teachers use shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. At Ashwicken we use our core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction text that all children experience and draw upon.

Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Teachers use what is known as a ‘cold’ task. The teacher provides an interesting and rich starting point ‘hook’ which provides the stimulus and content, but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to assess what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing upon their prior learning. Assessment of this task enables teachers to identify what to teach the whole class, different groups and to adapt the unit appropriately for their cohort. At the end of the unit, Children can use what they have been taught and draw on the high-quality text that has been shared to complete a ‘hot’ task- an independent piece of writing of a similar type. Progress should be evident which encourages pupils and helps schools track the impact of teaching.

We aim for children to be given the ‘tools’ of how to compose; to be effective in building up a bank of text types in their heads so they will have language patterns to draw upon when writing. As a result, pupils build independence, produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and engages the interest of the reader. Also, they will be able to apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Attention is paid to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of groups and individuals, short burst creative writing opportunities provides children with regular opportunities to practice and contextualise skills before using them in longer writing. Consequently, children build confidence in themselves as writers. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities for pupils to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through English and use their writing skills within The Core Knowledge Curriculum.

In EYFS, we use Drawing Club as an introduction to writing. Drawing Club is based around the Golden Blend of picture books, tales and animations, it involves a short period of Time Together as a whole class followed by time with children exploring their ideas and creativity that can be adapted to the needs of the children.


Provision of Drawing Club:

  • Immerses children in the world of story and shows them the joy of who you are
  • Shares a treasure trove of vocabulary with children to open up the playground of language to them
  • Develops children’s creativity and imagination to show them that they are extraordinary
  • Gives children age-appropriate practice that is highly engaging and grounds children in the joy of book snuggling


Pupils will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education