English

Reading

At Woodhill we want our children to become enthusiastic and engaged readers, and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading session.

In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary.  Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is understanding and comprehension. Your child will read with their class teacher once a week during their guided reading session, then independently supported by teacher set activities during the rest of the week. 

Home Reading and Reading for Pleasure

Developing readers will bring home levelled books and a picture book each week. Independent readers will bring home self-selected books from their book corner.  Please spend time reading with and talking to your child about what they read, and help them to use their reading log to record their enjoyment of reading.  Pupils can earn bookmarks for using their reading logs effectively.

Please see the leaflet at the bottom of this page for further ideas on how you can support your child with their reading at home.

Phonics

At Woodhill, phonics is taught daily to all children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage One.  We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds.  We sometimes use songs and actions from Jolly Phonics to help us remember our sounds. 

Click here to practice the songs at home! The children are taught to read words by blending, which means saying each sound and then pushing all the sounds together to make a word.  The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.

By the end of Reception children are expected to know all Phase Three sounds.  By the end of Year One all children are expected to know all Phase Five sounds.  By the time they have finished Key Stage One, most children at Woodhill are secure in Phase Six sounds.  This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.  If you want to look at the sounds in each Phase we teach please click here.  This is also a good website for playing phonics games.

At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening.  They have to read 40 real and nonsense words.  We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practise reading them every day.  To see an example of the test click here.

Spelling

Alongside phonics, we also teach the children how to spell from Year 1 onwards.  We believe that learning to spell is an important tool for your child to use as an essential part of day-to-day life, as well as in their learning. We teach spelling using an investigative and collaborative approach, focusing on spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes, knowledge of word origin and root words.  At the end of Year Two, children will have a spelling test and also at the end of Year Six. 

Please see the leaflet at the bottom of this page for the spelling rules and patterns that we teach in each year group.

Writing

At Woodhill, we use a core text approach over a half term to plan quality written outcomes.  This high quality literature is used to engage and inspire the pupils, and provide rich models of writing for them to imitate in their own independent writing, through style, voice and language structure. 

The beginning of the half term is spent on the first stage of the writing process - inspire, immerse and analyse, with the remainder of the term spent on planning, quality written outcomes, editing then publishing.  A week is devoted to producing the final written outcome as the children are not expected to produce a whole written outcome in one lesson, but rather build up to it over time.  Children use cursive handwriting to publish their learning.

All classrooms at Woodhill have an English Learning Wall which provides scaffolds and models for the pupils’ writing, including higher order vocabulary, examples of a range of sentence types, and models of the quality written outcome that the children are working towards.  The learning walls are updated continuously over the half term to support pupil learning.

Grammar and Punctuation

At Woodhill, grammar and punctuation is taught during English sessions through contextualised learning linked to the core-text (as opposed to stand alone, discrete sessions which have little impact on the children’s understanding of grammar). Grammar, language and punctuation skills are taught through analysis of the author’s use of effective vocabulary choices, language structures and writing style, and by using the core-text as a model during the writing process. Children are given opportunities to imitate the author’s style, reflect on why the writing is effective, then to practise and develop their own writing style using the skills they have learnt.

Please see the leaflet at the bottom of this page for the punctuation and grammar that we teach in each year group.

Handwriting

At Woodhill, continuous cursive script is taught from Year 1 onwards through handwriting sessions at least twice per week.  In Nursery and Reception, pre-cursive script is taught.  All handwriting sessions are planned for, modelled and taught following the: I do, we do, you do sequence.  Attention is drawn to capitalisation and spelling during the session, as well as to the correct starting point, letter formation and join. Pupils who consistently show the Woodhill expectations for handwriting and presentation in all of their books can earn their pen license enabling them to use a handwriting pen in their English and foundation subject books.

Please click here for our Spelling leaflet.

Please click here for our Reading leaflet.

Please click here for our Grammar leaflet.