Reading & Writing
Our aim at Halifax Primary School is for all children to become fluent readers and develop a passion for reading. We use engaging texts with the whole class across the school, from Reception to Year 6 so the children become enthusiastic about reading, enhance and develop their vocabulary, and to inspire their writing. We aim to teach reading to children through phonics, using pictorial clues and through their understanding of the text they are reading. Children are heard to read on a one to one basis, in small groups and in KS2 the children read alongside the whole class.
Once the children have the basic fundamentals of reading and are beginning to read texts fluently we then use a powerful tool called Accelerated Reader which assists with monitoring and managing independent reading. With Accelerated reader children have the opportunity to take a quiz each time they complete a text – which ideally should be on a weekly basis. Accelerated reader asks the children comprehension questions about the text they have been reading independently in school and at home.
As Parents you can log onto the Accelerated Reader website at home (using your child’s password) and see for yourselves how your children are getting on. You can view progress towards reading goals, review results of quizzes taken, look at the number of books read and the total words read.
The attached guide is designed to answer your questions about Accelerated Reader. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or visit the Accelerated Reader website at
Across the school we have set the children a ‘Reading Challenge’. A board has been put up in each year group area and children are awarded points for reading at home. Your child can gain points by reading to you and by you signing their Reading Diary. Please try to hear your child read at least four times a week, which will give them four points. The children can gain a maximum of seven points a week. The diary must be signed each time your child reads to you in order for the points to be awarded. A prize is given at the end of term to children who travel all the way around the board and gain maximum points i.e. 70 points in KS1 and 80 points in KS2.
Each day all classes from Year One upwards participate in Guided Reading. During guided reading, children work in small groups with other children who are working on a similar level text and the teacher supports the children to read and interpret the text. The children are encouraged to share their opinions on a text, make predictions, and develop their vocabulary. When the children are not working with the adult, they undertake carefully planned and prepared activities which build on the work which they were undertaking with the adult.
The use of engaging, relevant and high quality texts is central to our writing curriculum. These act as stimuli for children to develop and explore their writing skills. Children write for purpose wherever possible, on a theme linked to the half termly topic. Teacher-led activities show children how to plan, draft, rehearse and edit texts preparing them to write ambitiously. Children learn how to debate and present: to reason and justify their answers. Grammar is integrated into our English curriculum and is taught discretely and in context.
We strive to ensure all children become fluent and enthusiastic readers by the end of Key Stage One. Phonics is the beginning of children’s body of knowledge, skills and understanding that are an essential part of learning to read and write.
Our phonics planning is exclusive to Halifax. To enable children to make outstanding progress we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme and use Read Write Inc strategies alongside Jolly Phonics actions.
Once a week, the children will fill in their ‘Home School Diary’ using spellings from their learning that have been identified by the teacher/themselves. These diaries will go home daily in their book bags/bags so that their families can support them at home.
From Reception, children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the sounds (phonics) to spell (encode) and read (decode) regular words. Once the children have learnt most of the sounds, they move onto ‘Get Spelling’ books to help them to continue to develop their understanding and consolidate their knowledge of the spelling rules
At Halifax, joined up handwriting is taught with a sequential and progressive approach. We believe that children’s self-esteem and pride in their work can be raised by good quality presentation.
We use Cambridge Pen Pals handwriting scheme throughout school, thus ensuring there is a continuity and progression across classes. During lessons we ensure that children sit, position their paper / book and hold their pen/pencil correctly using their other hand to hold their work firmly. Chair height is checked to ensure it is correct. Handwriting is taught weekly, as a class in all year groups and teachers and learning support staff model the handwriting style.