At Usworth Colliery we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We are dedicated to promote and encourage a lifelong enjoyment and love of reading to create confident, independent readers. We strive to instil in our children the sense of excitement, fun and pleasure that can be derived through reading. We recognise the importance of cultivating a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts.We want our children to be good communicators, confident in the arts of speaking and listening and able to use discussion to advance their learning and to develop more sophisticated vocabulary.

We believe that a thorough grasp of literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.


The English National Curriculum covers reading, writing and speaking and listening.  We deliver English in a discrete daily session which cover all aspects.  We also have separate reading, phonics, handwriting, spelling and trio time sessions appropriate to the pupils in each year group.

Reading Plus

At Usworth Colliery Primary School we are committed to the delivering high quality Phonics. We aim to develop each child's ability so that they are able to read with fluency as well as develop a love of reading that will stay with our children all their lives.

We use the systematic and structured Phonics Programme Floppy’s Phonics. Floppy’s Phonics is in line with the Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) teaching principles described in The Reading Framework-teaching the foundations of Literacy, July 2021.

The Floppy’s Phonics programme teaches the letter/s-sound correspondences of the English alphabetic code explicitly and comprehensively for reading and spelling.  It includes the characters of Floppy the dog, Biff, Chip and Kipper and their family and friends, which engages children fully for the phonics teaching & learning, vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension.

Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. During their journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 they are taught the 44 phonemes (sounds) that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter 'b as in bed' and those that are made by two 'ai as in rain or three letters 'igh as in high'. 

Children are taught the key skills of blending sounds together for reading and segmenting (breaking up) words for spelling. 

As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, eg 'ee' can be represented as 'ee, as in bee', 'ea as in tea', 'e-e as in theme' and 'e as in we'. They also learn when to apply simple spelling rules and use verbs in the correct tense. 

We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. In Reception and Year 1, children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, explore, practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have. Once children enter Year 2, they continue to develop their understanding and the correct use of spelling patterns, rules and tenses. 

We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the whole curriculum.

Phonics Documents 2021

Useful Phonics Websites for Parents lots of information and guidance for parents/carers a selection of interactive games for all phonic phases. Mostly simple games. a great selection of games that link well with games in Letters and Sounds. printable resources for each of the Letters and Sounds phonic phases, also links to games aligned with each phase.

Activities for all phases  Phonic game with choice of difficulty (some HFWs, some vowel blends, very varied)

Make any words with this useful game. Useful page which demonstrates pronunciation of all sounds

worksheets for-

  • consonant and vowel recognition,

  • initial consonant sounds,

  • beginning and end blends,

  • consonant diagraphs,

  • silent letters,

  • long vowel sounds,

  • Phase 3 and 5 sounds.

a good selection of resources including worksheets and some interactive games. Covers-

  • Phase 3 and 5 sounds

  • Phase 6 work such as prefixes and suffixes, plurals and tense worksheets.

  • extensive list of long vowel worksheets and games such as hangman.

Learning to read is one of the most important things that your child will learn to do at school. At Usworth Colliery Primary we encourage your child to develop a love for reading. We encourage all children to read a variety of literature both at home and school to engage them in their learning and to widen their experiences.

We use Floppy’s phonics to teach early reading in EYFS and Year 1 and continue our reading development with books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Books appropriate to the child’s ability are selected to ensure success and progression. All children are also given a reading book at an appropriate level to take home with an expectation of at least one book going home each week.  This varies according to age group, e.g. in reception/KS1 all pupils take home a phonics book, a reading scheme books and a library book.

The teachers read to the children so that the children get to know a variety of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing. We place high importance on staff reading to children so that they model reading skills and widen the children’s interests.

We ask for an adult to read with their child for at least 15 minutes every night, including weekends and school holidays. It is widely recognised regular practice allows children to develop their reading skills as well as enjoying a wide variety of texts and discovering the pleasure and excitement of reading.



We follow a whole class approach for reading and encourage rich discussion amongst our pupils.  Work completed in these sessions will be recorded in English books or floor books, depending on the age and skills of the pupils. During each session, tier 2 vocabulary words will be explored to help pupils put meanings into context.  Texts chosen will be a range of fiction, non-fiction and real reading e.g., magazines, comics, and newspapers. While specific reading skills are taught in whole class reading sessions, teachers model how reading skills are used at that moment to support pupils in becoming a skilled reader using strategies like ‘think aloud’ and book talk during lessons. Pupils engage in high quality discussions and are encouraged to use a variety of reading skills to support their deeper understanding of texts and ultimately monitor their own understanding and review the information being read independently. 



Pupils have access to a class library where they can explore age-appropriate books to promote and develop a love of reading. Reading conferences are held weekly across school, where pupils and staff can connect through books in an informal setting. Rosie the reading dog is also a big part of our reading culture where pupils across school read stories to her. 

The National Curriculum divides writing into two dimensions:

  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • Composition (articulating ideas in speech and writing)

We recognise that both these elements are essential to success and we support the acquisition of both sets of skills through various methods. We recognise that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary.

  • We teach grammar as an integral part of all English lessons
  • We correct grammatical error orally/ written work (where appropriate)
  • We have a systematic approach, we revisit key learning and build upon it in all areas from phonics, through to grammar and spelling.
  • We use high quality texts, modelling and shared/ collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice.
  • We encourage and promote effective composition through clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
  • We provide writing frames to support the least confident
  • We provide time for planning, editing and revising
  • We mark extended pieces of work at the point of learning
  • We use marking ladders and feedback sheets for pupils to self-assess or peer assess, when appropriate so they can evaluate effectively
  • We encourage joined handwriting to support spelling and speed
  • We support pupils with learning and motor difficulties
  • We offer meetings with parents to help them support their child

We have a long term plan for the each year group which is progressive and challenging.

The National Curriculum makes clear that learning vocabulary is key to ‘learning and progress across the whole curriculum’ (p11) since it allows pupils to access a wider range of words when writing and for them to understand and comprehend texts efficiently.

Vocabulary teaching needs to be:

  • Active
  • Progressive/ systematic
  • Making links from known words
  • Develop understanding of shades of meaning
  • Include ‘instruction verbs’ used in examinations
  • Subject specific- accurate mathematical and scientific words

Our Aims and Provision:

We encourage our pupils to have a wide and growing vocabulary in a number of ways, these include:

  • Using the correct vocabulary orally
  • In-depth word based lessons looking at patterns
  • Using dictionaries, thesaurus and similar programmes
  • Targeted small group support, where appropriate

We use Floppy's Phonics as the main phonics programme to introduce our children to reading and writing of sounds/words.  All of the aspects from the scheme are used in the following way:

  • We teach pupils in EY and KS1 a discrete daily phonics session. Children are grouped for four 50-minute sessions per week. 
  • We ensure pupils who need it are given intensive support.
  • Session consists of revisit and review, teach, practise, apply, consolidate and read.
  • We share this approach to phonics teaching with parents during a workshop when their child enters Reception.

Spellings in EYFS to Year 2 are taken from the phonics programme and the National Curriculum Expectations.

In KS2 classes are taught spellings from the English National Curriculum following the No Nonsense Spelling Programme.

Our Aims and Provision:

  • We ensure pupils’ learning is assessed throughout the programme.
  • We offer opportunities for pupils to apply part of the sequence regularly.
  • We include assessment activities to identify if pupils have learnt the key concept taught. These activities include: testing – by teacher and peers, dictation, explaining, independent application in writing, frequent learning and practise of statutory and personal words.

The presentation of written work can not only reflect on an individual’s fine motor skills but also the nature of the writer through his/her awareness of, and attention to, an audience’s needs. We aim ultimately for our children to develop a fast flowing, attractive, legible, personal hand. To achieve this is a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting across the whole curriculum and key stages.

Our Aims and Provision:

  • Cursive handwriting is started in Year 2 and follows the Letter Join scheme.
  • Handwriting lessons are timetabled daily following the scheme.
  • Teachers are expected to demonstrate correct size and formation and then observe children copying, intervening where necessary.
  • We encourage pupils to take pride in their presentation.
  • We aim to make a smooth transition from printing to a joined up style.

We encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. We teach that children need to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. Listening and responding to literature, giving and receiving instructions. They develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions.

Ways in which we support this include:

  • Activities which are planned to encourage full and active participation by all children, irrespective of ability
  • Children with specific speech and language and auditory problems will be identified and specialist help sought, where appropriate
  • Performance Poetry
  • School Plays
  • Class debates
  • Weekly assembly
  • Events within the community
  • School Council
  • Talk partners
  • Drama / role play
  • PSHE and circle time