At Ely St Mary’s, we aim to inspire and develop our children to ‘Read as a Writer’ and ‘Write as a Reader’. We believe that success in reading is inextricably linked with success in writing and the curriculum as a whole. To this end, we ensure ALL of our children can read.

Reading, particularly Reading for Pleasure, is central to every child’s educational development and fundamental to inspiring children to be life-long learners into secondary school and adult life. We believe that having access to a wide range of texts and genres, and support in enjoying them where required, is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment. At Ely St Mary’s, we take a multi-layered approach to the teaching and enjoyment of reading, using a combination of whole-class guided reading and independent reading, promoted further through whole school initiatives such as Reading Buddies and Reading Passports.


Our English curriculum as a whole, including the teaching of writing and speaking & listening, is taught with audience and purpose at its forefront, where pupils acquire and experiment with a wide variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures, with the confidence and ability to select and apply techniques with an awareness of their impact on the reader or listener. This priority is underpinned by a thorough and targeted approach towards the teaching and application of the technical skills required for accurate transcription (punctuation, spelling and handwriting), with frequent opportunities to consolidate English skills across the wider curriculum.

As a junior school we also recognise that whilst all of our children have been exposed to phonics teaching in KS1, not everyone will have mastered a secure level of phonics (reading and spelling) upon arrival in Year 3. We therefore ensure that all pupils across Years 3 and 4, receive Sounds Write phonics teaching in class, with additional opportunities for acquisition and consolidation via intervention, if required.

St Mary’s writing curriculum is underpinned by the teaching approaches and resources of Talk4Writing & Alan Peat sentence types, which reflect the progression in assessment criteria and SPAG requirements. However, whilst many of these principles are applied in our teaching, our school curriculum is personalised to meet the needs of our our pupils and also employs the following strategies and resources:

-        Audience and Purpose - putting the effect on the reader at the forefront of writing choices. Audience, Purpose, Features grid used at start of each writing unit, and referred to through process, to help pupils articulate their authorial intent. 

-        A curriculum sequence that introduces a variety of purposes and genres and allows for practice and progression moving up the school. In Year 3 the purpose of writing is to Entertain or Inform. In Year 4 writing to Persuade is introduced, and in Year 5 writing to Discuss. However, these are prepared for through oral work, sentence work and exposure through reading lessons prior to the units themselves. Each text-type is visited in-depth at least once a year at a stage-appropriate level.

-        Opportunities to revisit writing genres are identified across the wider curriculum (spiral) enabling consolidation and increased independence in a variety of contexts.  

-       Spelling: Year 3 Sounds Write: Explicit teaching of Initial code; Extended code; Polysyllabic. Spelling Shed is an online and paper tool to promote daily practice of stage-appropriate spelling patterns.

- Nelson scheme for handwriting.


Our Reading curriculum aims for all children:

  • To be an experienced and independent reader;
  • To achieve end of KS2 age-related expectations;
  • To be able to access the wider world through reading.

using a 3-tier approach to the teaching of reading, with targeted variation at key ages and stages:

  1.     Promotion and prioritisation of individual reading
  2.     Whole Class Guided Reading (employing a FASE reading approach – Reading Reconsidered)
  3.     Functional Reading & Skills Teaching (explicit teaching of functional reading behaviours and skills e.g. to summarise, to explain etc, inc written comprehension practice).

Individual reading

  • Children supported with text-selection from library, monitored through Accelerated Reader
  • In addition, early readers select books from our SoundsWrite Scheme and Phonics based book shelves.
  • Reading Passports for each year group for the year (book selection underpinned by ‘Reading Reconsidered’, Doug Lemov’ Reading Plagues “there are five types of texts that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond a lexical level and demand more from the reader than other types of books.”

Whole class Guided Reading (Reading Reconsidered – FASE)

  •        Front-Loading Knowledge
  •        Explicit teaching of vocabulary
  •        F.A.S.E approach (Fluency, Accountability, Social, Expression)
  •        Lessons and novels are bridged by independent or paired reading.
  •        Project X interventions.


Skills teaching

  •        Use of Comprehension activities to consolidate written responses to comprehension activities.



To view the English coverage map and progression of skills, please see our curriculum document 2020/21, which may be accessed via the link below.



Our English Policy is to be found via this link: School Policies