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Tomorrow’s success starts today
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Tomorrow’s success starts today


English at Willowcroft

Overall aims:

At Willowcroft, we place the highest emphasis on literary skills and we teach much of the English curriculum through storytelling techniques. Our main aim is for children to express themselves confidently and effectively. Children need the ability to speak clearly and appropriately, they need to develop the skills of listening as well as speaking and to then use these skills to develop their use of the written word. They should increasingly be able to consider and adapt their writing style and vocabulary to suit their audience. 



Nurturing a love of reading and an enjoyment of exploring books is our ongoing aim. Reading books gives children experiences and exposes them to characters and situations they may never encounter in their own lives. This will not only develop their empathy but will impact on their ability to write about various situations.

Children are read to at every stage of school life and are encouraged and given many opportunities to retell stories they have heard so they can experience the wide range of rich vocabulary that stories and poetry present. 

'Book talk' is an important part of every classroom routine, encouraging children to read 'actively' by responding emotionally and critically to texts and engaging in discussion that introduces them to a range of thought and opinion.

Technically, all children are taught phonics daily as they are learning to read. We use a range of reading scheme books which are colour coded for levels of difficulty. In foundation and KS1 every child has access to 'Bug Club' to read online at home. We are keen to work in partnership with parents to support children's reading at home as well as at school.

We are also proud to have a dedicated librarian who co-ordinates library visits for each class, from Nursery to Year 6, and liaises with teachers to link library sessions with their wider learning. She gets to know children's literary likes and dislikes and works to support and develop their reading journeys.

Picture 1


Writing is given a high profile from the earliest days at Willowcroft. From Nursery onwards we provide multiple opportunities for children to write independently. Development of good fine motor control is encouraged through activities and guidance beginning in Foundation as it is a vital skill for presentation and comfort in any written task.

Our curriculum supports our belief that children should see purpose in developing their writing skills and be exposed to and inspired by high quality examples of writing. However, we are committed to extending children's literacy skills through fun and stimulating activities. As such we have adopted the 'storytelling' approach which focuses on developing and extending spoken and written language and developing an engrained understanding of the structure of both fiction and non-fiction genres. We also focus on inventing our own stories and a 'Big Write' approach is adopted, allowing children to write freely about a shared stimulus. 


We place importance on children's awareness of the need for good spelling, punctuation and grammar in their writing. Development in reading and writing progresses individually and this is recognised in the phonics/spelling teaching. Phonics is taught daily in Foundation and Key Stage One. From Key Stage Two children will continue with phonics or move on to our spelling curriculum as appropriate. We have recently introduced the Read Write Inc Spelling Programme for Years 2-6.

Regular assessment in reading, writing and spelling means that any difficulties or need for support will be identified promptly and a range of support interventions utilised.


In short, we strive for Willowcroft pupils to:

  • read and write for pleasure with confidence, fluency and understanding;
  • be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to readi fluenty and correct their own mistakes;
  • understand and recall the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately;
  • have fluent and legible handwriting;
  • have an interest in words and their meanings to develop a growing vocabulary;
  • know, understand and be able to write in a range of genres in fiction and poetry, and understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through basic literary ideas of setting, character and plot;
  • understand the audience for and skills needed to write in the style of a range of non-fiction texts;
  • understand the purpose and skills for planning, drafting, editing and revising their writing to the point of publishing.
  • develop a technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading and writing;
  • develop knowledge of a growing range of authors and texts individually and as part of a reading community.
  • enjoy listening to/reading a range of texts 'actively - able to identify the thoughts and opinions of the author as well as evaluating and justifying their own response and engaging with those of their peers and teachers.  
  • through reading and writing, develop their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
  • feel increasing confident and competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 




Phonics is a foundation stone of reading, providing children with the tools to decode the written English language.


At Willowcroft, children begin learning phonics at Nursery stage, developing awareness of sounds in their environment.

In Foundation they will begin to learn to recognise the names of the letters in the alphabet, the sounds that they make and how to form the letters. They may continue to learning the sounds that blends of letters make and write them 

In Year 1 and 2 they will learn the sounds that blends of letters make and how to write them, as well as alternative blends for sounds that can be found in English words.

Children develop phonic confidence and reading at different rates and this is recognised with focused teaching groups which are assessed regularly, enabling children to move on when they are ready.

Children who are confident in phonics in Key Stage 1 can move on to our spelling scheme. Children who still need to consolidate phonics when they begin Key Stage 2 will continue with small group phonics until they are ready.

We believe the most effective way for children to develop use of phonics in their reading and writing is to teach it in discrete lessons that include opportunities to see it in action.  Therefore, our phonics lessons include sections of reading real texts and writing sentences.


The phonics language used (Read Write Inc. letters and rhymes) is consistent from Foundation to Year 6 and used by all staff (along with sound mats and displays) to support children's reading and writing across the curriculum,  aiding a familiarity that helps develop independent learning. 


An online subscription to Active Learn Bug Club Books provides a link between school and home in KS1, enabling parents to access the books used in phonics lessons to practise with their children.




        Interventions for Reading and Writing used at Willowcroft


We are delighted to welcome a reading dog into school each week to read with some children. Through the year, we also run reading groups to broaden children's reading experiences.



Key Stage



Project X Code



Key Stage One







Key Stage One


Reading and writing


Direct Phonics



Key Stage One/Two




Precision Teaching



Key Stage One and Two




Write Away Together


Key Stage Two




Hi Five



Key Stage Two


Reading and writing


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