Reading and Writing at Overleigh


Intent - Reading

We want children to learn to read so that they can enjoy a wide variety of stories and poems, develop their acquisition and understanding of language, feed their imaginations and develop an awareness of authors and author styles. We also recognise that children need to read to find information which will support and enrich their learning and enable them to fully access our curriculum. We aim to develop a love of books and learning by providing our children with access and exposure to a wide variety of texts throughout their time at Overleigh.


  • Children learn about talented authors across a range of genres.
  • Children can enjoy a wide variety of stories and poems.
  • Children can develop an awareness of language choices and styles of authors.


  • Children can talk about a range of authors.
  • Children can discuss a wide variety of texts and compare them through a wide variety of discussion.



  • Children are able to engage in reading for pleasure through choosing books they enjoy.
  • Through reading, we develop children’s imaginations to enrich their writing and enable them to access our curriculum.


Intent - Writing

Through delivery of our English curriculum, we want children to become confident and capable writers, who develop a love of language and communicate coherently through their written and spoken language. We believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar, punctuation and spelling throughout their time in primary school. We want them to be equipped with the skills to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. 


  • Children become confident and capable writers through our English curriculum.
  • Children can write for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • Children develop a love of writing through the teaching of writing.
  • Children develop a love of language and understand a wide range of vocabulary.
  • Children develop a secure understanding of grammar, punctuation and spelling through our English curriculum.



  • Children can clearly communicate their ideas through spoken language.
  • Children can communicate their emotions, ideas and knowledge for their writing.



  • Children are able to produce pieces of writing that are clear, accurate and coherent.
  • Children are able to adapt their language choices to suit the style and purpose.


Implementation - Reading

We start teaching children to read by using a structured, synthetic phonics approach, teaching the sounds that letters make so that children can “decode” the words on the page. Children are taught to segment and blend words for reading. Once children can do this, they are able to read books, with words, that match the sounds that they know. Children are taught “tricky” and common exception words alongside this phonic approach so that they build up a sight vocabulary of words that cannot be sounded out (decoded) hence their name, tricky words. This structured approach for learning to read continues through Reception, Year One, Year Two and beyond if required. As children progress through school, they will learn to read and understand texts using this phonic approach and other strategies such as the use of picture clues, the context of the word, meaning of the word and etymology.

All our early reading books are colour banded linked to the progression within our phonics scheme – Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. All the early book bands are fully decodable using phonics skills and knowledge. We use the published scheme, Big Cat Phonics and provide additional phonics books to read at home through our Big Cat for Little Wandle e-library. When a child has sufficiently developed their reading skills they will be moved from the book banded books onto ‘free reads’. Children at this stage are able to choose from a wide range of reading material in our school libraries.


Whole Class Shared Reading

Whole class shared reading is also taught throughout school and provides daily teaching of reading for ALL children with access to high quality texts, quality modelling of reading, opportunities to discuss vocabulary, punctuation and expression and all at a level higher than which they can independently read. Across school, we refer to this time as Reading with D.E.R.I.C and focus on 5 key reading skills.

Decode – Decode new words from the text using their developing phonic knowledge.

Explain – Explore and investigate the meaning of new words.

Retrieve – Retrieve information from the text to develop comprehension.

Interpret – Use the text to interpret meaning and inspire prediction.

Choice – Comment on the author’s choice of vocabulary or style.

Reading for Pleasure

To wider promote a love of reading we encourage visits to the local library, the library van and visiting books fairs. We participate in national days such as World Book Day and invite authors and story tellers into school. We take part in the extreme reading challenge and summer reading challenges at the local libraries and also have an outside ‘Reading Shed’ where children can choose to read and swap books before school and during playtimes. As part of our whole school Rainbow Reading Reward Challenge, children are encouraged to select books of their choice to read and are awarded badges for the number of books they read or have read to them. The list of recommended books to read for each year group, can be found in the files below.

Implementation - Writing

The teaching of phonics is key to the development of good reading skills, and consequently writing skills. Children learn the sounds within words to help decode them. In EYFS, they learn to recognise each letter and match it to its sound. They then move onto groups of two letters (digraphs) or three letters (trigraphs) that say a new sound when put together. They learn how to pronounce these sounds (phonemes) correctly so that they can segment and blend words correctly. Children are also taught to recognise common high frequency words and 'tricky' words as well as being able to spell these. We follow Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds to teach phonics.

EYFS and KS1 children have daily phonics lessons of 20-30 minutes. This learning is then consolidated during English lessons and reading sessions to ensure that children use phonics as the route to decoding unfamiliar words.  We ensure that any child who has not passed the phonics check by the end of KS1 has further phonics teaching into KS2. In key stage 2 (years 3-6) teachers use the ‘Pathways to Spell’ spelling programme, introducing new spelling patterns, providing different opportunities to apply the spelling pattern, before being tested weekly.


Handwriting is taught discretely each day, through direct teaching using the PenPals scheme. Children are firstly taught how to form letters correctly, writing with a joined style as soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation. As children progress through KS2, the aim is to increase the fluency with which they can write, which in turn, will support their composition and spelling.

Mastery Approach

At Overleigh, writing is taught through whole class lessons, using a mastery approach. Children should have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences as part of their work across the curriculum. Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught through English writing lessons as much as possible. The required skills are taught through genres of writing, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome.

Mastery targets are selected from a genre progression grid, which then forms the focus of lessons for each unit. Each unit begins with conceptual understanding: children are engaged with the context for learning, provided by a stimulus, a hook, a concrete experience, drama or role-play. This is followed by procedural fluency - repeated learning experiences to practice, apply and extend the new skills, which are the mastery targets. This includes frequent short burst writing, in order for children to build stamina to write, alongside opportunities to apply mastery targets. Towards the end of the writing unit, children are given the opportunity to apply all of the skills within an extended context.

Two different genres are covered each half-term, allowing the children to be exposed to a variety of texts, including fiction and non-fiction, whilst also writing two extended independent pieces, demonstrating their writing ability. Teachers plan activities which closely match pupils’ abilities, providing additional, individual targets to help close any gaps, whilst providing support through scaffolding and visual prompts. Opportunities are planned in for children to demonstrate their ability, to extend and apply their writing skills.

Teaching continues to provide further opportunities to apply skills to new contexts. Children are given frequent opportunities to apply their writing skills for a range of purposes in wider curriculum subjects. In KS2, children have a weekly writing session whereby they apply their writing skills to a wider curriculum subject, such as Geography or History.

Curriculum Maps for both Writing and Shared Reading for each year group can be found in the files section below. A parent presentation can also be found, giving more information on how reading is taught in KS2. EYFS and KS1 information can be found on our Early Reading and Phonics page. 

Overleigh St Mary’s is an inclusive school and as such, do not believe in narrowing the curriculum for any learner. Our English curriculum is designed with inclusion of all, and our curriculum intent is therefore the same for all children including those with SEND. However, we are mindful that there are an abundance of factors which need to be considered in order for all learners to be able to access learning according to their individual needs. Therefore, whilst our curriculum intent is the same for all learners; our implementation of the curriculum may well look different for different groups of children including those with SEND. Teachers will plan, scaffold, challenge and embed learning through activities which are amended to meet individual children’s needs. If a child’s needs are best met by following an alternative plan, including coverage of the content from a previous year, this will be discussed with the SENCO. Children are supported through a multi-sensory approach to their learning based on the outcomes written in their SEN support plan or EHCP. Children with specific learning difficulties related to English may require further, targeted support and for their learning to be broken into even smaller steps, with extra time given to develop the key skills, concepts, understanding and opportunities to apply their reading, phonics and writing required to accelerate their progress. Throughout their time with us, in accordance with our school’s vision, we ensure we have and maintain high expectations and aspiration for all pupils, including those with SEND.

Reading and Writing - Impact

The leadership team and English Subject Leaders check that the teaching and learning for English is secure and consistent through monitoring the subject on a regular and frequent basis. The method of monitoring supports the ongoing development of the curriculum. This includes:

  • Staff subject knowledge, which is continuously developed throughout the year through training courses, moderation opportunities and lesson observations.
  • Regular staff meetings to discuss and evaluate the latest guidance and best practice within the subject. From this, new strategies and methods of teaching are shared and implemented.
  • Analysis of year group data to ensure progress and attainment and identify any need for early intervention.
  • The monitoring of books and lessons against the non-negotiables, so that inconsistencies can be addressed.
  • Tracking of content against the long-term plan of the school, to ensure the full breadth of the curriculum is met.

The impact of this is to ensure that children at Overleigh are fluent, confident and readers and writers, which will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. 

Files to Download

01244 267525


Overleigh St. Mary's CE Primary School

Old Wrexham Road


Chester, CH4 7HS

01244 267525


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