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English (including Phonics)

At Sywell CE Primary School, we recognise that English skills underpin all elements of the curriculum and are essential life-skills. Considering the fundamental importance of speaking, listening, reading and writing in everyday life, we are dedicated to enabling our children to become successful and accomplished in these key elements.



We use the Read, Write, Inc. systematic synthetic phonics programme at our school.  This scheme focuses on enabling children to decode the representation of letters (graphemes) into a sound (phoneme), and how to blend sounds together to make words and meaning.  Further information can be found here:


RWI Information for Parents:


Please also see the attached document at the bottom of this page for further information about how we teach phonics to your child as well as information on how best to support at home. Throughout the year, we will host parent workshops and send out information about this too, so please look out for these.


How to say the sounds: 



At Sywell Church of England Primary School, we are committed to instilling a love of reading in each and every one of our children which they carry with them through their time at our school, as well as into their future lives. Through the combination of teaching the required skills to read within a familiar and positive reading environment, we believe it will establish lifelong, confident readers. We encourage all of our children to be resilient in their journey of becoming a reader and understand all of the skills involved in this progressive process. We are committed to exposing children to a range of authors and text types which they can enjoy and learn more about the world from as they progress through the school.

Reading underpins the curriculum at Sywell CE Primary School and opportunities to utilise texts and reading strategies are applied across all subjects. Teachers carefully plan sequences of lessons that are based on quality texts to enable pupils to develop skills and strategies such as to predict, ask questions, skim, scan, use prior knowledge and make connections.


Reading at home

The school expectation is that children should be reading 3-5 times a week at home. Please sign your child(ren)’s Reading Record to show when they have read at home with you and make any comments about how they got on.


Classes 1 and 2 –

The children’s predominant reading book will be their Read, Write Inc. book which they will have read in school the week before within their Phonics sessions. As your child should be able to read this book fluently, please prioritise reading this book before reading others. Your child should practise reading the speed sounds, speedy green words, story green words and red words that are in the front and back of this book as well as reading the text itself. In addition to their Read, Write Inc. book, children will also select one or two supplementary books for the week from the class reading basket. These additional books will be chosen by your child and may not be matched to their reading ability, so you may find that extra support may be required to help them access this book.


Classes 3 and 4 –

Children in Classes 3 and 4 will come home with two or three reading books. One of these may be a Collins Big Cats reading scheme book which has been chosen for them from the banded reading scheme. As this book will be matched to your child’s reading ability, please prioritise reading this book before others. Children who have completed the Collins Big Cats scheme and are ‘free readers’ will not be issued with one of these books. Also, children will be able to choose a book that they would like to read from the school library. Our library is stocked with an amazing range of literature – there is definitely something in there for everyone! These are the books that the children can read to complete the ‘Genre Reading Badge Challenge’. In addition to this, children will select a book from the class reading basket. As stated above, please prioritise reading the Collins Big Cats books (if applicable) at home before reading the library book or class reading basket book. Children will have opportunities in school such as library time and morning registration to read their books.

We also have a ‘Reading Spine’ at Sywell, please see the attached document at the bottom of this page for more information about what this is and what texts feature on it!



Sentence Stacking is the approach adopted from Years 1 – 6 for teaching the skills of writing. This is integrated into the EYFS curriculum in the Summer Term in Reception. Each individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:


Initiate: a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.

Model: the teacher closely models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.

Enable: the children write their sentence, following the model.


Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.

The approach promotes three essential components to support children in becoming great writers.  These are known as the three zones of writing:


IDEAS: The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.

TOOLS: The GRAMMARISTICs. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.

TECHNIQUES: The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.



Spellings are taught weekly in Years 1 – 6, in Key Stage 1 this is delivered through phonics teaching. In Year 2 and Key Stage 2, teachers use the RWI Get Spelling! programme to deliver sequential sessions which practise and embed skills important for learning spelling rules and patterns. Children are given spellings to learn each week at home.