George Eliot Primary School

Every child will embrace challenge, achieve their very best and become a learner for life

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English is taught every day from Reception to Year 6.  We use a variety of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s ability to read, write, speak and listen thoughtfully in English for different purposes and across a wide range of genres. Children develop new skills through daily English lessons, enjoying whole class reading and writing, small group and individual work.  The phonics scheme we use in Key Stage 1 is Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.  Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 also have a daily phonics lesson.  We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme.   



Throughout their time at George Eliot children are exposed to a carefully selected range of rich and challenging texts with a view to developing their love of reading, and their knowledge of a wide range of genres, in line with the new Primary Curriculum and our whole school commitment to placing reading at the centre of learning.


The teaching of reading covers two distinct areas:


·         technical reading skills (decoding)

·         reading with understanding (comprehension)



Research consistently shows systematic phonics teaching to be the most effective method for teaching reading.  Children are taught phonics through daily, small group lessons.  These lessons are carefully planed to build on what children already know and develop fluency in both reading and spelling.  Parents are informed each half-term of the learning objectives their child will be covering in the next few weeks.  Children are initially taught the most common sounds of individual letters and how to blend these sounds together to read simple words.  Later children are taught spelling patterns such as 'ch' and 'ee' and practise reading a number of common 'exception words' (words which cannot be decoded through phonic strategies e.g. 'said' and 'Mrs').  Parents of children in Foundation stage and Key Stage 1 are invited to attend a phonics workshop to find out more about our teaching of reading and writing, and how to support their child at home. 


The phonics screening check is a statutory assessment designed to confirm whether pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and to identify pupils who need extra help to improve their decoding skills.  This takes place towards the the end of Year 1.  Children who have not yet reached the required standard will continue to receive daily phonics teaching and will be re-assessed at the end of Year 2.




Comprehension is central to reading and children are given opportunities to improve their comprehension skills throughout their time at George Eliot, through a range of whole class (shared reading) and small group (guided reading) opportunities.


Children have opportunities to read and listen to a range of carefully selected high quality texts which stimulate them as readers, writers and thinkers. We use a range of teaching and learning approaches to immerse children in a text. These include drama games and role play, detailed close reading of selected passages, oral and written re-telling of texts, art work and targeted questions to build their comprehension and deeper understanding of a text.


Home Reading


We have made a major investment in improving the quality and choice of reading books available in the school, both for children to read in class and group sessions, and for children to take home.  The school uses a variety of reading schemes including Collins Big Cat, Pearson Bug Club and PM Reading.  


Children are given two reading books a week appropriate to their reading level.  For early readers (children in Foundation stage, and those in Key Stage 1 still receiving daily phonics lessons) these texts are 'fully decodeable'.  This means that children will be able to read all the words in the books using their existing phonics skills and will not need to guess unknown words using unreliable strategies such as looking at the picture.  Early readers are also able to choose a book to take home and share with an adult.  As well as listening to their child read we encourage all parents and carers to read aloud to their child everyday.  This gives children the opportunity to improve their comprehension skills by listening to and talking about books they are not yet able to access independently.  




We believe children write well stimulated by the high quality texts and genres they are exposed to by teachers. We ensure that children have high quality models to draw on in their own writing, and that they learn to think as writers, working with audience, purpose and composition in mind.



Planning a Piece of Writing Using a Mind Map


A typical unit of work lasts 3 weeks and after an initial period of immersion in the text, children produce a complex extended piece of writing. In order to do this they plan, write, edit and rewrite over several weeks working using models and detailed feedback from staff or peers. Where possible writing is linked to topics, for example the graphic novel – Ug Boy Genius of the Stone Age – links to Year 3’s Stone Age to Iron Age learning.


Children are taught to write in a variety of styles in context such as narrative, persuasive, journalistic, recounts and reports. Children learn how to vary sentences, make interesting and ambitious word choices, and use grammar and punctuation correctly.



Learning About Spelling and Punctuation


Spelling and Grammar


Our curriculum fully reflects the more rigorous emphasis on the teaching of spelling and grammar in primary schools. Children are taught explicit grammar and spelling skills in weekly lessons. Grammar skills are then practised during writing lessons, and spelling rules and conventions are taught before being learnt and practised for homework.



A Graphic Aid to Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar


100 Books to Read


TES and the National Association for the Teaching of English ran a survey to find teachers’ top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school. Here are the results.


1          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

2          Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

3          Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4          Matilda by Roald Dahl

5          The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

6          The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis

7          The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

8          We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

9          Dogger by Shirley Hughes

10        Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

11        Stig of the Dump by Clive King

12=      Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

12=      The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

14        Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

15        Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

16        Funnybones by Allan and Janet Ahlberg

17=      Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

17=      The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

19        Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

20        War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

21=      Grimm’s Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

21=      The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

23        Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

24        Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

25        Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

26        Not Now Bernard by David Mckee

27        Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

28        The Twits by Roald Dahl

29        I am David by Anne Holm

30        The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

31        The Paddington series by Michael Bond

32        Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch

33        Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

34        Five Children and It by E Nesbit

35        Clockwork by Phillip Pullman

36        The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

37        The Magic Far Away Tree by Enid Blyton

38        Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury

39        Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

40        The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

41        The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

42        The Alfie and Annie Rose series by Shirley Hughes

43        Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield

44        Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

45        Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore

46        Sad Book by Michael Rosen

47        The Borrowers by Mary Norton

48=      A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown

48=      The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg

50        Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief  by Rick Riordan

51        Coraline by Neil Gaiman

52        Zoo by Anthony Browne

53        Treasure Island  by R L Stevenson

54        Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

55        Cinderella by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

56        Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman

57        The Railway Children by E Nesbit

58        Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman

59=      Kidnapped by R L Stevenson

59=      The Sheep Pig by Dick King-Smith

61=      Beegu by Alexis Deacon

61=      The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

63=      Eragon by Christopher Paolini

63=      The Mr Men and Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves

65=      Gentle Giant by Michael Morpurgo

65=      Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

67        The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

68        Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

69        Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

70        Theseus and the Minotaur by David Orme and Wendy Body

71=      The Just William series by Richmal Crompton

71=      On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

71=      Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

71=      Street Child by Berlie Doherty

71=      The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde

76=      Angelo by Quentin Blake

76=      The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Draywalt and Oliver Jeffers

76=      The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

79        My Mum by Anthony Browne

80=      The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

80=      The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

82=      Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

82=      The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler by Gene Kemp

84        The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

85=      Click Clack Moo: cows that type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

85=      The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

85=      The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

88=      I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

88=      The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

88=      The Early Years at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

88=      Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

92=      Birds Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell

92=      The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

94        The Mrs Pepperpot series by Alf Proysen

95=      The Asterix Series by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

95=      The Fib and Other Stories by George Layton

97        The Giant’s Necklace by Michael Morpurgo

98        The Kipper series by Mick Inkpen

99=      The Milly-Molly-Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley

99=      The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson

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