How Do We Approach Reading and Literacy at Georgeham?

On this page you will find further information about how we develop reading and literacy skills at Georgeham.


We use a wide variety of reading schemes and provide a large range of books to support our children in their reading.  These are graded according to the publisher’s recommendations across book bands and are labelled with a sticker on the book’s spine which ‘ability level’ it’s been assigned.  This is to aid our children and parents to choose the most suitable books for their stage of development.  There is inevitably some cross-over within these bands where children could have something ever so slightly easier, or harder, in their book choice

book bands

Among these are fiction and non-fiction books from Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat, Ginn, Story World, Rigby Star, Alpha Kids, Zig Zag and many more.

Upon starting school, children initially have a book with no words at all, as this supports comprehension and understanding through talking about its content with someone at home or school.  Quick and regular assessments take place to ensure children are on the right ‘level’ of book.  Moving through Key Stage 1, the book-banded books are used to meet the full range of abilities in each class.  Class 3 and 4 also have a range of books in their classrooms moving further on to our ‘free readers’ library.  Our junior classes also have a popular book exchange within their rooms so that children are able to bring some of their own books in to school and swap with a book they’ve not read yet.


Phonics is a method for teaching the sounds and spelling patterns of the English language and is taught every day, and throughout the day, at school.

We base our phonics learning on a DfE resource called Letters and Sounds, which provides the basis for clear, systematic teaching of the sounds (phonemes) and spelling patterns (graphemes).  Phase one would have started before our children come to school as this involves rhythm, rhyme and the blending, and segmenting, of oral sounds, through to Phase six which takes place even as far as the older classes at school, as this phase involves more complex spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes.

We use Collins’ Big Cat Phonics as a published scheme but we also use many other resources and strategies in our teaching of phonics.

Collins_Big_CatFamilies can help with phonics, spelling and an understanding of grammar through good communication (plenty of talk) and plenty of reading.  There are many resources and apps available to support children’s phonological development and a quick search on the internet will provide you with lots – a quick conversation with your child’s class teacher will also provide you with some of their favourite resources!

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)

Sometimes quite a hot topic for discussion, especially in staffrooms across the country and even more so on the internet and grammar forums, is the area known affectionately as SPAG.

Closely linked to phonics, spelling is an area that’s already been started in school with the blending and segmenting of sounds.  This is expanded upon as our children move through the Key Stages with weekly Home Learning tasks covering phonemes, graphemes, decodable and tricky words*, spelling patterns such as prefixes and suffixes and also exception words, such as ‘their’, which doesn’t follow the ‘i before e’ rule.  Some of the time, our children won’t be tested on the exact list of words they came home with, but a random selection of words that use the spelling rule that they worked on and learnt through the week.
* tricky words: words that aren’t spelled the way they sound.  For instance ‘said’ is often written as ‘sed’ and children are initially confused with this specific example as it uses the ‘ai’ grapheme, but doesn’t rhyme with ‘train’.

We also develop and build upon children’s skills in punctuation and grammar through the Key Stages.  To help show this better, the table below informs you of the expectations of each year group in Reading Comprehension, Sentence Structure and Punctuation, Writing and Spelling. 

Year Reading Comprehension Sentence Structure and Punctuation Writing Spelling
Yr 1 Make inferences on the basis of what is being said and done.
Eg. How a character feels, why a character does something.
Recognise capital letters and sentence end punctuation and begin to use them. Begin to join clauses using ‘and’. Write a sequence of sentences to form a short narrative or piece of information writing, using simple descriptive language. Use phonic knowledge and skills to spell phonemically regular words correctly. Spell the first 100 high-frequency words (HFWs). Spell Year 1 common exception words.
Yr 2 Make inferences on the basis of what’s being said and done; show understanding of cause and effect. Sentences are punctuated accurately, including question marks, exclamation marks and commas. Use co-ordination (and, or, but) and subordination (when, if, that, because) to write compound/ complex sentences. Expand noun phrases to add description and detail. Write a sequence of sentences, maintaining consistent tense and verb form. Use features appropriate to the text type. Organise writing into simple sections. Spell accurately simple polysyllabic words, showing understanding of most of the common grapheme-phoneme-correspondences (GPCs). Spell the next 200 HFWs. Spell Year 2 common exception words.
Yr 3 Draw inferences such as characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions. Sentences are punctuated accurately, with developing accuracy in the use of speech marks. Use a wider range of subordination (after, while) and express time using adverbs (then, next). Expand noun phrases using modification before and prepositional phrases after. Organise paragraphs around a theme, using a range of organisational devices. Demonstrate understanding of the main features of different forms of writing. Spell unknown words using phonic knowledge, knowledge of prefixes and suffixes and etymology. Begin to spell Year 3/4 word list.
Yr 4 Draw inferences such as characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions and justify with evidence from the text or life experience. Sentences are punctuated accurately, including apostrophes (contractions and possession) and commas after fronted adverbials. Express time using preposition (before dark, because of Fred) and use fronted adverbials for additional information. Organise paragraphs around a theme, using a range of organisational devices and a range of verb forms. Write using a rich and varied vocabulary appropriate to purpose and form. Accurate use of pronouns and nouns aid cohesion and avoid repetition. Spell unknown words using phonic knowledge, knowledge of prefixes and suffixes and etymology. Spell Year 3/4 word list.
Yr 5 Make inferences drawn from across and between texts. Sentences are punctuated accurately and becoming more varied with subordination and fronted adverbials. Commas are used for lists and some clauses/openers. Speech has speech marks and some other punctuation. Writing is appropriate to purpose and organised into sections and paragraphs. There is an awareness of audience with some vocabulary and detail chosen for effect. Tenses are correct and subject/verbs agree. All phonics secure and HFW accurate, including spelling increasingly complex words correctly. Begin to spell Year 5/6 word list.
Yr 6 Make inferences drawn from across and between texts and justify with evidence (use Point, Evidence and Explanation to support inferences). Sentences are varied with multiple clauses, subordination and fronted adverbials. Commas, dashes and brackets are used to mark clauses and clarify meaning. Speech is punctuated accurately and used effectively. Writing is appropriate to purpose with some adaption of style. The text is cohesive, organised into sections and paragraphs, with ideas often developed and connections made between them. Vocabulary, detail and sentences are often chosen for effect. All phonics secure and HFW accurate, including spelling increasingly complex words correctly. Use knowledge of word structure to spell and check spelling. Spell Year 5/6 word list.


And what’s our Vision?

At Georgeham School we believe that the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are fundamental life skills, which enable children to communicate effectively in all areas and equips them well for the challenges they will face in the wider world.


To see children:

  • Excited, engaged and enthusiastic about their learning
  • Confident to share and explain their ideas
  • Developing strategies for independent learning and a ‘have-a-go’ attitude
  • Clear about what they are working on and able to write accurately and coherently for a range of purposes and audiences
  • Able to evaluate their work, and the work of others, positively and constructively
  • Able to use grammatical terminology accurately and confidently
  • Take pride in their work and always do their best
  • Making good progress

Teaching will:

  • Use a broad range of stimulating texts, ensuring tasks are meaningful and purposeful
  • Provide lots of opportunities to respond to and discuss texts
  • Explicitly model and teach a wide range of strategies for reading and writing
  • Share and celebrate good effort and achievement