Grindon Infant School

Literacy Policy

English Policy


At Grindon Infant School and Nursery we believe that every pupil has the right to be able to read and write effectively and to be able to communicate with others effectively. In order to achieve this aim the teaching of English, in all of its forms, has a high profile within the school.



The study of English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.



The aims of teaching English are:


to enable children to speak clearly and audibly, and to take account of their listeners;

to encourage children to listen with concentration, in order to identify the main points of what they have heard;

to show children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;

to teach children effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities;

to help them become confident, independent readers ,through an appropriate focus on word-, sentence- and text-level knowledge;

to develop enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts;

to foster the enjoyment of writing, and a recognition of its value;

to encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non-fiction;

to improve the planning, drafting and editing of their written work.


Teaching and learning style


Teaching plans have CLEAR, SPECIFIC and TIGHT learning objectives. Teaching is flexible and responds to the needs of the pupils. Tasks are MEANINGFUL, giving pupils real audiences and contexts.

A good variety of activities are planned to interest and engage pupils, especially in encouraging discussion and using small group work.

Good support for pupils is provided to become independent learners, and to develop research and study skills.

Good use of assessment criteria and constructive feedback to help students identify areas of weakness.


Within the National Curriculum for English skills are broken down into reading, writing and spoken language.



Our aims are that our children will learn to read; they will enjoy a wide variety of texts and will become independent, critical, lifelong readers and learners. We will secure pupils’ reading skills by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop clear systems and policies for promoting the love of reading.



In order to teach all our pupils to become fluent, confident readers, who have a love of reading. All pupils within the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 receive phonics teaching in line with the DFES document ‘Letters and Sounds’. From Reception onwards, pupils receive a twenty minute daily phonics lesson, targeted at their current level of attainment, and are encouraged to apply this learning in their reading and writing.

Pupils continue to receive daily phonics teaching until they are confident with using and applying the skills taught within phase five of the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. Pupils within Key Stage 1 are taught in groups split by current attainment.

We work to ensure that all pupils who would benefit from extra phonics teaching receive it. Any pupil, who has not reached the expected phonics level by the end of Year 1, as assessed by the national screening check, receives additional phonics intervention within Year 2, so that they can catch up with their peers.

Pupils at Grindon Infant School benefit from a high level of phonics knowledge by all staff, the consistent use of language throughout the school (see Appendix 1) and the high emphasis that phonics receives in all reading and writing activities.


Individual Reading

All pupils within the school are placed on a book band that is appropriate to their current reading attainment. Time is allocated each week for children to choose appropriate levelled books to read independently; this time is called ERIC (Everyone Reads In Class) time.  At each book band pupils become fluent and confident both within decoding (saying the words) and in comprehending the text. Pupils are assessed to ensure that they have secured both of these skills before changing the colour of their book band (from red book band onwards). These book bands correspond with National Curriculum Levels as set out in Appendix 2.


Guided Reading

Teaching of reading also occurs within ‘shared reading’ sessions in whole class

English lessons and within small group guided reading sessions. Pupils begin guided reading when they are ready to read books at red book band. All pupils at this level and above receive weekly group guided reading sessions within EYFS and Key Stage 1. The structure of a guided reading session varies depending on the attainment and needs of the pupils within the group (see Appendix 3 for exemplification).


Enjoyment of reading

By giving reading a high profile within the school and within each classroom we hope to encourage a lifelong relationship with reading, which allows our pupils to enjoy and experience a wide variety of literature from many genres, so they can escape into the world of a book or learn something new.

We encourage the enjoyment of reading in a wide variety of ways that continue to be adapted in order to gain and maintain the enthusiasm of the pupils within the school (see Appendix 4)



At Grindon Infant School we believe that being able to write coherently not only enables pupils to communicate effectively, but also allows them to experience the joy of crafting their own individual stories and articles that express their points of view clearly. 

It is important that pupils learn to write independently from an early stage and this is initially encouraged though emergent writing within the EYFS. During Key Stage 1 the teaching of phonics, spelling and handwriting complements this process and is used systematically to support writing and to build up accuracy and speed.

We know that for pupils to become successful writers they need to:

experience a wide range of written texts, which is the primary source of knowledge about the written word and how it ‘sounds’

orally tell and retell stories and other texts

experience both shared and guided writing, where the teacher focuses

attention explicitly on the technicalities of writing

Regularly practise writing independently.

Therefore when planning English activities we ensure that all pupils have access to these experiences. In order to ensure effective teaching of writing, teachers develop the curriculum around the needs of the pupils in each class (this may involve grouping by attainment). There are regular planned opportunities for: talk for writing, planning writing, modelled writing, shared writing, supported composition and guided writing. These techniques are outlined further in Appendix 5

We also recognise the value of visual literacy both as a stimulus for writing and as media through which pupils can present their own ideas.



Handwriting and presentation of work within our school is important in all areas of the curriculum (see Handwriting Policy). Pupils are taught handwriting from Reception onwards using the Pen Pals Handwriting resource. Pupils begin learning letter formation and in preparation for later joining are taught where to start each letter. As the pupils become more confident in recording letters they are taught to join their handwriting in the school style (see Appendix 6).



In order to become confident writers pupils also need to become proficient at spelling. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, spelling is intrinsically linked to reading, as the pupils learn to use phonics for both of these activities - see phonics section for further details. Pupils are encouraged to apply their phonics to spelling throughout the curriculum.



We also recognise that pupils need to be taught to write grammatically and accurately this is taught as part of the English curriculum.


Spoken Language

At Grindon Infant School we recognise the importance of being able to communicate orally and to understand what others are saying. We will teach pupils to use language precisely and coherently. This involves giving pupils opportunities to experience a rich language environment to develop their skills in expressing themselves, and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

They should be able to listen to others, and to respond and build on their ideas and views constructively.

Pupils are given opportunities to participate orally in groups and in the whole class, including:

using talk to develop and clarify ideas;

identifying the main points to arise from a discussion;

listening for a specific purpose; discussion and evaluation.

Pupils are also given opportunities to speak in front of a wider audience during assemblies and Christmas productions.


Including all pupils

For further information please refer to the schools inclusion policy.



For further information please refer to the schools assessment and marking policies.

The roles of the English Co-ordinator and Governor are outlined in Appendices 7 and 8


Cross Curricular Learning Opportunities

The teaching of English develops skills through which our pupils can give critical responses to the moral questions they meet in their work. Their understanding and appreciation of a range of texts brings them into contact with their own literary heritage and texts from other cultures. The organisation of lessons allows pupils to work together and gives them the chance to discuss their ideas and results.  We endeavour to provide opportunities for children to develop and apply their English skills through other subjects.


Appendix 1 

Language used in relation to phonics

In order to achieve consistency for the pupils in our school all staff use the following language in relation to phonics.

· blend (vb) — to draw individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. sn-a-p, blended together, reads snap

· cluster — two (or three) letters making two (or three) sounds, e.g. the first three letters of 'straight' are a consonant cluster

· digraph — two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.

· trigraph – three letters making one sound e.g. igh

· quadgraph – four letters making one sound e.g ough

· vowel digraphs comprise of two vowels which, together, make one sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow

· magic ‘e’ – This is the term used in this school to describe a split vowel digraph with the children — two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site

· grapheme — a letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, ch, igh, ough (as in 'though')

· grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) — the relationship between sounds and the letters which represent those sounds; also known as 'lettersound correspondences'

· mnemonic — a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a snake shaped like the letter 'S' or a saying to help remember the order of the letters in a word i.e. ‘silly animals in Devon’ = said

· phoneme — the smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters 'sh' represent just one sound, but 'sp' represents two (/s/ and /p/)

· segment (vb) — to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word 'cat' has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/

· VC, CVC, CCVC — the abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of letters in words, e.g. am, Sam, slam.

· Short Vowel – /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ or /u/

· Long Vowel – a phoneme which represents the name of the vowel /ay/ /ee//igh/ /ow/ /you/

· Consonant – All letters of the alphabet that are not vowels

· Phoneme frame – Boxes used to help with spelling in phonics sessions. One box is used for each phoneme.

· Robot arms – Used in Reception for reading and spelling but only for reading from Year 1 onwards. Children stand like a robot and move arms for each sound that the see/hear. This helps them to blend the sounds together to create the word they are reading

· Fred talk – Saying the sounds in a word separately.

· Fred fingers – Pointing to one finger for each sound that can be heard in a word. Used for spelling from Year 1 onwards as if help children to identify how many sounds they need in a word. Developed Jan 2013

· Dots and Dashes – A dot is used under a single letter phoneme and a line (or dash) underneath a digraph/trigraph etc to help the children segment a word to sound out. Sayings and mnemonics used to help the children remember phonics:

· “When two vowels go out walking the first does the talking”

· “Cry baby q never goes without u”

· “Silly animals in Devon” = said

· “Big elephants can always understand small elephants” = because

Appendix 2 

Individual Reading Book Banding and Associated Guideline of National Curriculum Levels


Free readers 4b+

Sapphire 4c

Ruby 3a

Emerald 3b

White 3c

Gold 2a

Purple 2c/2b

Turquoise 2c

Orange 1a/2c

Green 1a

Blue 1b

Yellow 1c

Red p8

Pink p5-p7

Lilac p1-p4

Appendix 3

Structure of Guided Reading sessions

Guided Reading for children working below a Level 3 will follow the traditional guided reading sequence:

Book introduction including teaching of skills

Walk through the text

Independent reading

Returning to the text for teaching points

Responding to the text and follow up

The key skills taught at these levels are mainly focused on becoming ‘fluent decoders’ along with literal comprehension and recall. Guided reading for those children who are working at or above Level 3 may follow a different structure depending on the needs of the children in the group.

It is likely that children working between a Level 3 and 4 will need teaching explicitly the skills required to be a good comprehender including: visualising, making connections, unpicking vocabulary, analysing, predicting and questioning. This will take place when the teacher reads aloud to the children describing what their mind is doing while they are reading.

The most important factor of any guided reading session is that it is targeted at the specific learning needs of the children.

It is helpful to include visual prompts in guided reading sessions, for example using word cards for tricky words for children working below a Level 3, or using a feelings graph, visualising prompts and discussion cards at higher levels.


Appendix 4

Ways in which we encourage an enjoyment of reading.

In order to achieve our aim that all pupils should be taught to read fluently and expressively and be encouraged to enjoy reading both for pleasure and for information, we:

Have made reading high profile in the school

ERIC(Everyone reads in class) times for reading in school.

Maintain two well stocked libraries with books appropriate to the age of the children.

Have a reading area in each classroom with books for the children to choose to read.

Celebrate World Book Day every year with fun activities

Run a Book Fair once a year to enable our children to buy books for enjoyment and to raise money to help update stock in the libraries and book corners

Offer a space for children to read at lunchtime on one day every week


Appendix 5

Explanations of the techniques used to teach writing across the school:

Talk for Writing

Talk for Writing is the exploration, through talk, of the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer.  Children struggle to write well because they are juggling so many different elements of transcription and composition. By talking the text they begin to internalise the common language patterns of narrative and non-fiction, freeing up more cognitive space for composition.

Planning Writing

We value the importance of allowing children to plan their writing before they begin.  This enables them to focus more on the transcription elements of the writing process, rather than having to also think about the composition of the whole piece as the go along.

Modelled Writing or Writing Aloud

In modelled writing, teachers share their thinking as they compose a piece of writing in front of students, helping make the writing process visible and concrete. The important point is that the teacher makes his or her thought process visible to students as he or she proceeds through the writing process. In this way the teacher is able to explicitly demonstrate the writing process and directly teach key writing skills and concepts.

Shared Writing 

In shared writing, the teacher and students compose text together, with both contributing their thoughts and ideas to the process, while the teacher acts as scribe, writing the text as it is composed. The purpose of shared writing is to model the thought process involved in writing and allow students to engage in and focus on the process. The teacher, acting as scribe, frees students from that aspect of the writing process so that they can focus exclusively on the thinking involved in writing. Shared writing is also a powerful method for direct teaching of key skills and concepts needed in the writing process.

Supported Composition

This strategy can be used after Modelled writing or shared writing, or both, to give children an opportunity to write in a very structured context before they ‘have a go’ independently. They may compose the next sentence on whiteboards and then check it makes sense or discuss the next sentence with their talk partner.

Guided Writing

Guided writing is when the teacher works with a focus group in the classroom, providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. It focuses on specific learning objectives with a group of children working at around the same level.

Appendix 6

Responsibilities of the English Co-ordinator

The English co-ordinator will co-ordinate the Area of Learning ‘Language & Literacy’ within the school, aiming to secure high quality learning and teaching, effective use of resources, and the highest standards of achievement for all pupils’ Key Tasks:

Strategic Vision

1.         Have a strategic vision for English development within the school

2.         Have a good knowledge of issues related to English

3.         Keep up to date with developments eg. Teaching methods, resources, assessment issues and record-keeping procedures

4.         In consultation with the SMT and staff to devise the school’s English policy based on statutory requirements

5.         Ensure that there are schemes of work for English in place. The scheme should outline progression from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1. These should be   updated on a regular basis

6.         Encourage displays of children’s work and celebrate children’s achievements

7.         Promote opportunities for children to use their English skills for a range of purposes and audiences other than the teacher eg. Involvement in competitions,   writing for other children and parents

8.         Devise an annual action plan for the development of English.

Monitoring & Evaluation 

1.         In consultation with the SMT, monitor the implementation of the policy

2.         Support staff, in collaboration with the SMT, in analysing all available data to inform learning and teaching

3.         In consultation with the SMT and staff, evaluate the effectiveness of the policy and scheme throughout the school

4.         Ensure that pupils’ assessment records are kept up to date, in line with the school’s Assessment Policy

5.         Lead on Internal Standardisation and moderation

6.         Liaise with the school’s SENCO regarding pupils with literacy difficulties

7.         Keep records of meetings connected with the subject

8.         Present reports to SMT and the school governors on the effectiveness of improvement measures 

Resource Manager

1.         Be responsible for organising, maintaining and cataloguing resources and equipment

2.         Keep abreast of suitable new resources to support classroom strategies


Professional Development

1.         Identify and facilitate the professional development needs of staff

2.         Disseminate information from INSET and provide updates to staff

3.         Ensure parents are informed of the school’s approaches to teaching English and advise on how they may support their child’s English development


Appendix 7

 Responsibilities of the English Governor

 The named governor responsible for English will:

1.         Liaise with the Subject Co-ordinator, Deputy Headteacher or Headteacher as appropriate.

2.         Visit the school and see the subject/area in operation (if possible).

3.         Discuss the existing use of resources and future needs.

4.         Regularly report to the Governing Body on developments and progress.

5.         Attend appropriate training.