Reading and Writing


    We believe English is fundamental, not only to personal and social development, but also to our ability to understand, evaluate, dissect and disseminate knowledge. Consequently, this is essential in developing the ability to communicate effectively in society. At Markeaton Primary School, we are committed to inspiring a love of reading at the heart of English and we aim to instil a passion and enthusiasm for reading for pleasure in every child. With this at the core of our values, we believe we can provide each child with the opportunity to explore the world around them and widen their experience and imagination through reading. We aim to provide children with the skills to critically evaluate texts and explore the tools and techniques employed by the writer. We want our children to leave Markeaton with a rich vocabulary that provides them with the ability to play and manipulate language; recognising the nuance of meaning and how language can be used for a range of purposes. We want children to have the confidence to be able to communicate effectively and get their meaning across in a variety of situations.


    Decodable Reading Books in FS2 and KS1

    At Markeaton Primary School, children learn to read using a Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach. In line with new guidance released by the DfE, children from FS2 to the beginning of Year 2 will bring home books to read to an adult that are entirely decodable, meaning that children will be able to decode or ‘sound out’ every word. Children will be sent home with one reading book that is matched exactly to their current Phonics knowledge, ensuring that they will only encounter graphemes and common exception words already taught as part of their current Phonics phase.

    As children progress through their Phonics phases over FS2, Year 1 and Year 2, their decodable books will change to include all graphemes learned so far, ending with Phase 5 at the beginning of Year 2.

    Children will also bring home a second ‘sharing’ text from our school library. It is equally important that this book is read to your child by an adult so that they can widen their vocabulary and gain insight into appropriate use of prosody when reading. Adults can model how to use tone, timing, phrasing, expression and emphasis effectively. Book talk is important when reading the shared text.

    Book-talk is the ability to talk about books, developing the confidence to offer ideas and then reshape them in the light of other contributions. It supports speaking & listening, helps children to present their ideas and talk effectively about a book, deepening their understanding, shifting their ideas, thinking together and improving comprehension.

    What next? Book Banding from Year 2 onwards

    Once children progress beyond decodable texts (after Phase 5), they move onto our banded book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their fluency, inference and comprehension skills to become expert readers who have a passion for reading.

    Book Banding is a scheme that grades children’s reading books according to the difficulty of the text. Each level of books is given a colour and stickers are used to indicate this. When a child is learning to read beyond applying their knowledge of letter-sound relationships and knowledge of letter patterns to correctly pronounce written words (SSP), it is important that they have access to lots of different kinds of books, encouraging a wide vocabulary. Children have access to the variety they need, whilst still being supported at the correct reading level.

    How are the books levelled? All publishers grade their scheme to their specification but the Book Band system is broader in its levelling. It is based on careful research into the kind of words used in each book, the length of the sentences, punctuation, story style or non-fiction format and text size.

    What can I expect? Your child will be bringing home books from various schemes within the Book Band colour allocated to them by their class teacher. It may be, because of the broader nature of Book Band levelling, that there are books from different levels of the same reading scheme in one colour band. If the book is in your child’s book band colour, the level is right for them. For a child to be an effective reader, they need to not only read the words on the page but also understand what they have read and read with stamina using fluency and expression. The class teacher will carefully monitor you child’s reading and move them on to the next colour band when they are ready.


    At Markeaton Primary School, we use a consistent approach to writing from Y1 to Y6. This involves;

    • Engaging: At this stage of the writing process, we hook the children through a launch activity. We work with the children to identify the purpose of the writing and share what the outcome of their writing will be. We also identify an authentic audience for our writing so that the children understand who they are writing for.
    • Discovering: After we have fully engaged the children in the writing process, we set about immersing the children in a range of high quality texts that exemplify the purpose of the writing and provide expert knowledge of the writing subject matter. We also analyse texts by exploring how they are organised and their text/language features. By saturating the children in the text type and deconstructing texts, we aim to equip children with the necessary tools in order to be able to write. At this stage in the writing process, we also provide children with the opportunity to rehearse their ideas through short, focussed activities. This enables the children to experiment, practise and play with the language features identified.
    • Composing: Now that the children have all the necessary tools in order to write, we set about composing our piece. This involves planning our writing by outlining the organisation of our main ideas. The planning process may look different depending on the purpose for writing . The children then have the opportunity to draft their writing. The drafting process includes sufficient modelling and worked examples through shared and guided writing opportunities.
    • Reviewing and Evaluating: Each unit of writing provides the children with the opportunity to revise and improve the way that their writing sounds by expanding sentences, removing information, substituting words and phrases or changing the order of their writing. The children are also encouraged to edit and improve the way that their writing looks by adding appropriate punctuation and checking their spelling.
    • Publishing: At this stage of the writing process, the children fulfil the purpose of the writing  and time is provided for the target audience to read the final piece.

    Each classroom has an English working wall that is set out according to the stages of the writing process so that the children have a clear vision for their writing and the stage that they are at in the writing process.

    Year 1 access their English curriculum through continuous provision. They still have the same approach to writing as outlined above; however, elements of this writing process may be approached verbally or in the areas of provision.


    Capital letter formation

    KS1 letter formation

    KS2 letter formation

    Literacy in FS2

    In FS2, Literacy is taught via quality texts that are explored as a class through teacher led reading. During this time, much emphasis is put upon prosody skills and the children’s understanding of a text.

    Each week, the children will participate in guided writing sessions linked to the class text. This session will be facilitated by an adult. One of the main focuses of these sessions is to encourage children to formulate a sentence and hold it in their head in order to write sentences that make sense. During this time, they will work towards learning basic transcription skills and practicing using their phonic skills to segment in order to spell.

    As the year progresses, children will begin to use finger spaces so that words can be read as individual units of meaning. The children also begin to explore capitalisation and demarcation towards the end of the year.

    Please use the link below to find out more about how to support your child’s emergent writing at home:

    FS2 Emergent Writing

    Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

    From FS2 to Yr 2 (Spring Term) children are taught spelling through the ULS Phonics Scheme which is DfE approved. From the Spring Term in Y2 until the end of Y6, children will then be taught discrete spelling rules through the Spelling With Emile scheme.

    In Yr1, SPaG is taught as part of the writing curriculum with enhancement activities within the continuous provision

    From Y2 to Y6, the children will be taught discrete SPaG sessions to support the use of SPaG throughout the curriculum.

    Useful Websites

    How to pronounce sounds - a useful guide for Parents/Carers

    This website provides a video of a child pronouncing the phonemes from each set of Phase 2 and 3 GPCs.

    Parents can download a certain amount of resources for free and a further subscriber option for £9.99 a year allows access to all resources.

    This website focuses on reading at home.

    This part of the website gives parents lots of information about the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Parents can also purchase a pack to support children at home.


    Reading Together Tips

    Reading for Pleasure

    If you are looking for recommended books to read with your children, please find a list of recommended books here:
    We also work in partnership with A New Chapter Books, an independent book store promoting diversity and inclusion. We currently have a wish list for our school library, with a number of books promoting autism, ADHD, emotions, disabilities and a number of strong female protagonists. You can find our school's wish list here:
    If your child loves to keep up-to-date with brand new books and enjoys the lastest releases, please find A New Chapter Book's latest reading challenge, with a diverse range of books to enjoy for each year group:

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