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The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 


Reading consists of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions.

At James Watt Primary School reading is taught as a separate lesson from writing, although links are always made between both through writers’ purpose. As the children move through the school, they are taught a whole wealth of reading skills such as: summarising, decoding vocabulary, retrieval inference, prediction and authors’ choice of language.

We use a wide selection of challenging texts that are structured in different ways, including fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books. Usually, (particularly in Key Stage 2), one text is used for the whole class. Children read through the text, with the teacher explicitly modelling and teaching ‘reading in the moment’ strategies:

  • Visualisation
  • Background knowledge
  • Inference
  • Noticing where breakdown in meaning occurs and reading back or forwards to put the meaning back together
  • Ask questions of themselves about what is happening in a text and why
  • Prediction

All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

‘Bug Club’ phonics’ books are used to develop the children’s word reading and comprehension skills in Key Stage One both at school and at home. Accelerated Readers is used to support pupils in reading at home for KS2.


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.

At James Watt we use a text based approach in our literacy lessons. This text is used as a context for writing different text types and narrative genres. The writing process is one where the children are immersed in a certain genre or text type where key features are identified. Children then spend time planning ides for their own ‘big write’. Modelled and shared writing are tools used by the teachers to support the children in becoming confident writers as teachers skilfully model the thought processes used by competent writers in achieving an intended purpose. The children are able to see the importance of word choices and how sentences can be manipulated for maximum impact. During all literacy lessons, links are always made between reading lessons and writing lessons. Differentiated success criteria are used to ensure writing expectations are pitched accurately as well as allowing for challenge and progression.

Children are taught to draft, edit and improve their work.