Reading and Spelling

At Norham St.Ceolwulf’s Church of England First School we believe that reading is an essential life skill and is at the core of the curriculum. Children are strongly encouraged to read for enjoyment and to gain information as well as critically evaluate the texts that they select.


Systematic phonics teaching is our prime approach when teaching reading. Phonics commences as soon as the children have settled into Reception and continues throughout all year groups as our key strategy for teaching spelling as well as reading.  We use Monster Phonics at KS1 and KS2. levels for both phonics and reading. 


All children will have home reading books which are colour coded so that the children can choose from the level that matches their reading attainment. To ensure that the children experience reading across genres and that they read a rich variety of books choosing from our own school library each week.


Alongside reading, children develop their spelling ability.  In Reception, children are taught to read and spell the first 100 high frequency words as well as using their knowledge of phonics to spell other words (sometimes these spellings may be phonetic and not necessarily correct.)  As children progress into Key Stage 1 and 2, children will learn to read and spell more common exception words and, as they learn more phonemes, their phonetic attempts at spelling will improve. 



Opportunities for writing are provided not only in English lessons but across the curriculum in all subjects.  In Literacy lessons we use the Talk for Writing approach to support children's understanding of sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and text organisation.  Although some aspects may be taught discreetly, where possible, these skills are taught and embedded in the writing process.   


In Early Years, children are encouraged to 'mark make', using marks to communicate meanings with others.  In line with phonics and reading development, children will learn to write letters and then words through activities such as tracing and copying.  Children are encouraged to verbally explain what they have 'written' with this recorded by an adult.  These are important stages in the development of writing.  


In Key Stage 1, children will begin to become more independent writers although may still require some support to make sure sentences make sense.  By the end of Year 2, children are able to produce longer pieces of writing including 3 part stories, recounts and reports independently. 


In key Stage 2, children continue to develop as independent writers, broadening their knowledge of different text types and genres of fiction writing.  They continue to develop their use of punctuation, grammar and spelling strategies. 

Across all stages, children are supported in editing, improving and evaluating their writing as this helps children to develop their own writing. 



The teaching of handwriting begins in Reception where children develop their fine motor control and pencil grip, learning to draw shapes and patterns and then moving onto letter formation.  Correct letter formation is important and children are taught to form letters correctly first through printing and then, when confident, they are taught to join.  Joining allows children to write with fluency and at speed.  Children are encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their work and are rewarded for effort.