Our essential characteristics of writers

• The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
• A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
• A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
• Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
• Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
• A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.

Our essential characteristics of readers

• Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.
• Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
• Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary.
• An excellent comprehension of texts.
• The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure.
• Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.

Our essential characteristics of communicators

• An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said. 
• A rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations.
• Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences.
• An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences.
• A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience.
• A delight in initiating and joining in conversations.
• Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.

Our handwriting font

This is how we teach children to form letters.  The top picture shows how children are taught in Reception to form letters individually and the bottom one is introduced when children are ready in KS1, continuing throughout KS2.  Please see your child’s teacher if you have any questions about handwriting.  Thank you 

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  1. recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  2. identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oa’
  3. blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.


Vocabulary –

phoneme is the sound a letter or a group of letters make (there are 44).   

grapheme is what the phoneme looks like (it could be represented in more than one way e.g.  ai  ey  ay).   

A digraph is when two letters come together to make a phoneme (‘oa’ as in boat).   

A trigraph is when three letters come together to make one phoneme (‘igh’ as in high).  

split digraph is when a vowel digraph is split by a consonant letter (e.g. ‘ae’ in make).    

Segmenting consists of breaking words down into phonemes to spell. 

Blending consists of building words from phonemes to read.


How do we teach phonics at Eastoft C of E Primary School? 

In school we follow the Letters and Sounds programme.  Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills which consists of six phases. Discreet phonics sessions are taught daily and are fun and multi-sensory to appeal to the different learning styles. We use the actions for Jolly Phonics to help the children to remember the sounds.


Phase 1 concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills. The aim is to get children attuned to the sotunds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 2 The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 letters, and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC (vowel, consonant e.g. at) and CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant e.g. cat)  words and to spell them. They will also learn to read some high-frequency ‘tricky’ words: the, to, go, no.  They will be introduced to reading simple captions.

Phase 3The purpose of this phase is to teach another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising of two letters e.g. ‘oa’ and ‘ar’, so the children can represent each phoneme by a grapheme. Children also continue to practise blending and segmenting when reading and spelling words and captions.  They will learn letter names, learn to read some more tricky words and also begin to learn to spell some of these words.

Phase 4 The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words. These words have consonant clusters at the beginning (spot, trip), or at the end (tent, damp) or at the beginning and end (trust, spend)! They also read polysyllabic words (sandwich).

Phase 5 The purpose of this phase is for children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these.

Phase 6 During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. They focus on spellings and learning rules for spelling alternatives. They will be reading longer and less familiar texts independently and with increasing fluency. The shift from learning to read to reading to learn takes place and children read for information and for pleasure.


 Phonics Screening Check 

The National Phonics Screening Check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress and helps teachers identify which children need extra help with phonic decoding.  It is for Year 1 children and it takes place in the Summer term. The check contains a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ (or ‘nonsense words’). The purpose of including nonsense words is to check that the child knows the sounds and can blend them together to read the words. They will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Children who have not met the standard in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2. 



Reading  –

At Eastoft C of E Primary School we use the Collins Big Cat Reading Scheme from reception through to year 6, this is a banded scheme. The children get a choice of books from within their band. These books range from decodable books through to chapter books, they support the children in becoming fluent readers. The books are accessible and enjoyable for all readers. The children in foundation and KS1 also read phonically decodable books from a range of schemes.


In Foundation planning is based on a book for around 2 weeks, with enhancements within provision. Within KS1, children take part in guided reading as part of a small group. In KS2, the children are taught reading through whole class reading, whole class texts are used to promote reading skills, and to further develop fluency and reading comprehension.