At Laburnum, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion and will allow them to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners and linguists.


It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing 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. It is our intention to broaden our pupils' exposure to high level vocabulary to allow pupils to apply their understanding of vocabulary and grammatical features within and across the English curriculum. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening in order to express their emotions and ideas effectively.


We strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening is in the real world both now and in their future; developing an awareness of the audience, purpose and context alongside an increasing knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.

We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. As English underpins all other areas, the children will be provided with good quality reading and writing opportunities across the curriculum also. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children th
e tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.



At Laburnum, Nursery children begin learning the foundations for reading. We have daily Phase One Letters and Sounds sessions where we play lots of fun, interactive, multi-sensory games. These help skills to progress from early listening and talking to being able to understand concepts, such as rhythm, rhyme and hearing initial sounds in words. Our Foundation stage children also enjoy a wide variety of stories and songs throughout the day. We encourage listening to and telling stories from an early age to create fabulous storytellers who love reading and have a solid foundation for future learning.

When children reach reception age, the Letters and Sounds scheme introduces the children to more graphemes and they begin to blend sounds together to read words. When the children can blend and segment, the children will receive their first reading book. Initially, this will be a simple picture book. These encourage children to create their own narrative and make observations of the illustrations. They will then progress onto books which match the phonics phase at which they are working, allowing them the opportunity to secure the phonics skills they have learnt in class. As children’s reading skills develop, they will read a reading scheme book alongside their phonetically decodable one. To enable children’s reading progression, they have daily direct phonics teaching lessons. We use Phonics Play to deliver Letters and Sounds in a fun and interactive way to Reception and Year One children; alongside a wide variety of games within the classroom throughout the day to embed children’s learning.



The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • word reading

  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

We focus on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; as different kinds of teaching are needed for each.


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.

Children will read books that are suited to their reading ability. To begin with, these will be matched closely to the child’s phonic level, then a reading scheme book is introduced alongside before the phonetically decodable books are then stopped when the child reads more confidently. These reading books are graded by colour into Book Bands. Children choose a new book on their Book band once they have confidently read the one they have.

Following reading assessments carried out termly, appropriate interventions are set up for that term.



The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)

  • composition (planning, developing ideas, applying spelling and punctuation, vocabulary, editing)

Handwriting is taught in a pre-cursive style until year 2. Then children are taught to use different joins to increase writing stamina and build fluency.

We value vocabulary development and ensure that children are encountering good quality vocabulary across the curriculum. All subject plans have core vocabulary highlighted and each class has a ‘word of the week’. Children are regularly collecting good quality vocabulary in class to add to working walls. Drama is used to develop an increased understanding of characters and plot and allow children to explore them in more depth. High standards of English are embedded into everything we do allowing for cross curricular reading and writing opportunities.