Reading and Writing


Reading is a vital life skill and all staff actively promote a love of reading through praise, encouragement, celebrating success and reward schemes. By teaching the children at Gulworthy to read at age appropriate levels they will be able to enjoy books and other written media, to access information and to follow written instructions in all curriculum areas and the environment around them. Gulworthy provides many and varied opportunities for the teaching of reading skills, both explicitly in English related sessions and across the full curriculum through whole class, shared reading, guided reading, individual reading and independent reading.

Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge Y1

Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge Y2

Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge

Y4 Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge

Y5 Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge

Y6 Long Term Reading Skills and Knowledge

Whole Class Teaching

At Gulworthy we use DERIC as a whole class approach to teach reading skills from Y1 upwards, which equips pupils with the necessary skills to be successful readers. It focuses on building fluency and embedding comprehension skills with direct, taught sessions. DERIC stands for; Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret and Choice. These are all closely linked to the assessed strands in the end of key stage assessments.


D for decode – this is the sounding out and blending of words and then becoming more confident with reading words on sight.

E for explain – asking the children to explain the meaning of words and being able to explain what is happening in the text they have read.

R – for retrieve – asking the children questions where the answer can be found in the text or pictures. For example: How many cups are on the table? What colour is the bear’s hat?

I – for interpret – the children are to use their inference skills to use clues in the text and what they already know to make suggestions about what they have read.  (Using ‘because’ in their responses). For example: Why do you think the bear was crying?

C – for choice – asking the children questions about why the author has chosen to lay out the text in a particular way.

When teaching, there is one learning objective for the whole class based around the same text. The activities or level of support is adapted for different abilities so that all children can access the learning objective and be challenged. Sometimes, texts are part of a class book or at other times they are a poem or non-fiction article depending on the writing focus. The whole class reading approach supports rapid progress. Research suggests this is due to exposure to higher-level questions and answers. Pictorial stimulus or activities which are designed to have a comprehension focus but reduce the amount of decoding can also be used to support SEND/EAL pupils.

At Gulworthy, we promote the use of a variety of carefully selected literature that is matched to the attainment level of pupils. These texts have subtle challenge and allow pupils to reinforce fluency, decoding and comprehension skills regularly.

Additional opportunities are provided for pupils to practise and extend reading in other subjects.

We have a Trust approach to writing:

School Trust Approach to Writing

Here are our progression maps for writing:

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y1 Long Term

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y2 Long Term

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y3 Long Term

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y4 Long Term

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y5 Long Term

Writing Skills and Knowledge Y6 Long Term


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

We have our own systematic synthetic phonics programme based on ‘Letters and Sounds’. It is called ‘Little Wandle’.

Children can use their knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.

It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

Here are some of the key terms you may come across:

Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound that can be extracted from a word

Grapheme – the written letters representing a phoneme

Digraph- two letters that work together to make the same sound

Trigraph – Three letters that work together to make the same sound

Split digraph – Two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter

Tricky words- words which cannot be decoded or broken down-they break the rules!

Blending- joining sounds to make words

Segmenting- breaking words into sounds


Here is the programme overview:


These grapheme mats could be useful at home:



Grapheme_Mats_Phase_2_and_3 (1)


‘The size of a child’s vocabulary is an accurate predictor of academic achievement and even upward mobility over the course of a lifetime’ Hirsh 2013.


There are three tiers of vocabulary that encompass all the words we can learn.

Tier 1 words are those words used in everyday speech that pupils generally have in their long term memories e.g. table, clock, run, food, drive.

Tier 2 words can have multiple meanings in different contexts. Tier 2 words need to be explicitly taught.

Tier 3 words are those that are more specific to content areas e.g. photosynthesis.


Beck, McKeown & Omanson (1987) developed the concept of ‘word tiers’. This can help us select target words to teach.


Tier 3 words: low frequency, highly specialised, domain-specific, e.g.pyroclastic, fascism, photosynthesis, and rare words.

Tier 2 words: more frequently occurring, e.g. sensitive, significant; characterise written text – not so common in everyday conversation; include words with wide application in different contexts across different domains – have ‘high utility for literate language users’ – and it’s these that are particularly good for explicit instruction.

Tier 1 words: everyday, basic, familiar; typically appear in oral conversations so children often exposed to them at high frequency from early on.


We have developed tier 3 vocabulary for each curriculum area:

Vocabulary Progression in Science

Vocabulary Progression in RSE

Vocabulary Progression in R.E.

Vocabulary Progression in music

Vocabulary Progression in history

Vocabulary Progression in geography.docx

Vocabulary Progression in DT

Vocabulary Progression in computing (1)

Vocabulary Progression in art (1)



Our aim is for every pupil to develop a comfortable, fluent, legible and attractive style of handwriting. In order to raise standards of handwriting and presentation for all pupils we use a consistent approach to learning handwriting throughout the school. From Year 2 pupils use continuous cursive handwriting.

What is continuous cursive handwriting?

The main features are:

  • Each letter starts on the line
  • Pupils keep the pencil on the paper giving a very fluent style
  • Pupils eventually develop the ability to produce letters without thinking
  • The automatic style releases the brain to concentrate on other ideas, for example, spelling, grammar, style, content and syntax

What are the benefits of continuous cursive handwriting?

  • It is beneficial to all pupils, including those with dyslexia, as the continuous motor movement means they do not have to think about the order of the letters As each letter begins at the same point on the line there is less opportunity for pupils to reverse their letters.
  • The motor memory in a pupil’s hands and fingers help him/her to learn new spellings as each word is made up of one movement
  • One style is taught throughout the school
  • No need to change or relearn shapes from printed to cursive style
  • Natural spaces occur between words automatically
  • Fluency established by early use of joined up letters helps pupils express ideas in written form more easily
  • Improvement in spelling as the hand motions required to form the words encourage muscle memory. At the same time the natural flow helps the process become automatic.

Writing Position

Maintaining a good writing position is an important component to correct letter size, formation and spacing. Here are some important tips to get you started:

  • Sit comfortably, but maintain good posture.
  • Lean forward slightly.
  • Leave feet flat on the floor.
  • Have both arms resting on the table or desk while you work.
  • Hold the pencil between your thumb and the first two fingers of your writing hand.
  • Maintain constant pressure when holding the pencil.
  • Be certain your grip is not too tight, and not too loose.
  • If you are a right-handed writer, position the paper so that the top is slanting to your left. If you are a left- handed writer, position the paper so that the top is slanting to your right.

When your child first comes to school, they will learn to form every letter with an entry and exit stroke.

This is a solid foundation for teaching joined handwriting later on. Children are taught that every letter starts on the line. Next we begin to teach digraphs and trigraphs as joined letters. The first being

Constant repetition is the key, emphasising the correct entry and exit strokes every time. It is essential that your child gets into good habits early on and this includes having the correct pencil grip.

One of the advantages of the continuous cursive style is that you can quickly identify when a child is forming letters incorrectly. For example trying to start a    at the bottom and moving clockwise, rather than starting with the entry stroke and then moving anticlockwise from the top of the letter to the bottom.

Although the continuous cursive style can seem quite laborious to start as it takes slightly longer to write each letter separately, you will really see the benefits when your child starts to join fully towards the end of Year 1 and in Year 2.