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English at Alston Primary school


At Alston Primary School, we aim to develop the competence of all the children in our school, so that they may become readers and writers who see books as an important part of their lives and will continue to enjoy them, developing a love for reading and writing beyond their primary education.  

All year groups follow the National Curriculum Framework 2013 which incorporates spoken language, reading - word reading and comprehension, writing - transcription and composition and spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.


General aims of English:


  • To equip the children with the skills/knowledge needed to become effective readers, writers, speakers and listeners.
  • To give children an environment which is safe and secure and which provides encouragement for the development of all aspects of English.
  • To ensure that there is equality of access and opportunity for all children to develop their skills in English.
  • To encourage all children to achieve their full potential in all aspects of English by the time they move from Primary to Secondary education.




At Alston Primary School we believe that reading is an essential life skill that unlocks enjoyment, communication and thinking and enables children to express informed thoughts and views.  Reading and writing are interlinked as children who regularly read an extensive list of quality texts, will gain vocabulary, ideas and the structure of writing.


At Alston Primary school our aim is to: 

  • Introduce children to print;
  • Teach the children a range of strategies to read with fluency and accuracy;
  • Promote an interest and enjoyment in quality texts, literature in a variety of genres, poetry and non-fiction;
  • To read to understand, ask questions and formulate opinions;
  • To acquire research skills- to gain knowledge;
  • To prepare children for life in the 21st century;
  • To improve imagination and thinking skills;
  • To develop a love for reading.


The following reading schemes are used for home readers: Fireflies, Big Cat, Oxford reading tree, Story world, Rising Stars, Bug Club, Ginn pocket books and Read Write Inc phonic books. The children are sent home with a reading book according to the stage they are reading at. In Key Stage One we aim to listen to every child read and swap their books at least once a week. We encourage parents to read with their children for at least 15 minutes a day and record this in the home reading diaries. In Key Stage two we will have a discussion with the children about the book they have read to assess their understanding. Questions and advice are included in the diaries to help the reading and discussion of the text with your child.  We also hold reading workshops for parents and children.




Writing, reading and thinking are all very closely linked. Writing plays a key role in children’s learning. It not only provides a child with the opportunity to experiment with different genres it also allows them to apply the knowledge they have acquired through the teaching of reading and grammar.


Why we teach writing at Alston Primary:

  • To produce confident, competent writers in a variety of genres as set out by the National Curriculum.

These genres include:

  1. Narrative- story writing;
  2. Poetry- playing with language and ideas;
  3. Play scripts-developing narrative via speech and action;
  4. Recount- ordering events appropriately;
  5. Instructions- how to carry out a task;
  6. Non-chronological report; organising facts logically and coherently;
  7. Explanation- integrating the visual and verbal;
  8. Persuasion- backing up opinions with convincing evidence;
  9. Discussion- the writing of a balanced argument;


Speaking and Listening


At Alston Primary School our aim is to produce confident, competent speakers and listeners in a range of contexts.

To do this we will be:

  • Teaching specific skills which can be reinforced throughout the curriculum;
  • Providing opportunities for richness and variety of talk;
  • Emphasising the relationship between speech, reading and writing by providing a balanced programme to ensure progression.



At Alston Primary School we believe that good quality, early phonics teaching is key to providing children with the skills to become confident and competent readers and writers. We teach phonics through the Ruth Miskin: Read, Write, Inc scheme from Nursery through to Year 2. Phonics in Early Years and Key stage 1 is taught on a daily basis for 20 minutes. Children, who did not pass their phonics test in Year 1, have targeted support in Year 2.