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Literacy at Southborough Primary School


At Southborough Primary School, it is our intention that children will develop a love of reading, writing and discussion, which will equip them to be lifelong learners. At the heart of our strategy is a drive to foster a love of reading from an early age. We know that if children are equipped with the key Literacy skills at an early age, it enables them to access the wider curriculum with confidence.

We aim to introduce a wide range of texts to our children which reflects and celebrates the diversity of our school community. This allows children to develop empathy and see themselves reflected in the stories they read. When considering texts, we will also carefully choose books to support our Harmony Curriculum, developing the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world around us. We strive to provide opportunities for developing oracy through high-quality talk throughout the school, discussion and debate, discrete teaching of spelling rules and spelling strategies, and explicit teaching on the craft of writing and grammar for writing. This ensures that our pupils grow into accomplished readers and writers who enjoy both for pleasure.


Early Reading

At Southborough Primary School we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme. Little Wandle is a complete phonics programme with high quality training, assessment, intervention and resources (including decodable books). We train all new members of staff in the Little Wandle approach and provide ongoing training and support for existing teachers through practice sessions and coaching.

The children in Early Years and Year 1 are taught daily phonics lessons from their first day in Reception. During these lessons the children revisit and review graphemes previously learned, they practice reading and writing “tricky words”, learn a new daily grapheme, and finally they learn how to read and spell words and sentences containing the new daily grapheme. The daily phonics lessons are taught with high teaching and learning expectations, following a rigid routine. The children’s progress is assessed half termly, and gaps in knowledge are analysed. Gaps in knowledge are then taught during the daily “Keep Up” interventions.

In Early Years and Year 1, children take part in 2 guided reading sessions a week, exclusively using Collins Big Cat books, which are supported by Little Wandle. During these guided reading sessions, the children practice graphemes linked to their phonics ability, and learn how to use prosody and comprehension skills. The children also have access to our online E-Collins library at home, where they will find their weekly guided reading book to increase fluency and encourage further practice and enjoyment. To further support early reading, the children also have access to authentic reading experiences such as daily story times, weekly visits to our school library and language rich environments.

Once pupils can read accurately and fluently, they move on from the Little Wandle programme and the children are then allocated a colour banded book.

To ensure the children are supported both in school and at home, we host regular phonics workshops for parents, and have an open-door support for parents who may need help when supporting their child’s reading at home.


In Year 2 the children take part in 2 guided reading sessions a week, reading colour banded books linked to their phonics ability. During these sessions the children will practice blending words containing graphemes previously taught and develop their comprehension skills through targeted questioning.

In Key Stage 2, when the children are fluent readers, the children take part in Reciprocal Reading lessons. Reciprocal Reading is a structured, discussion-based approach to teaching reading comprehension. It focuses on children’s understanding of a text through four key strategies – predict, clarify, question and summarise. This allows the children to access increasingly more ambitious reading materials beyond their expected reading level, instilling them with the in-built skills they will need to access challenging texts in future years and adult life.  Additionally, during Literacy lessons, pupils delve deeper into the characters, genres, contexts, and themes of the topic books that they read. This enriches their reading experience, allowing them to understand the wider social, historical, and literary roles books can play in our world. If a pupil is not a fluent reader by Key Stage 2, they will take part in daily Little Wandle “Rapid Catch Up” interventions, which focusses on teaching phonics to read.


In Early Years and Key Stage 1, the children use their phonic knowledge to write simple sentences. The children write daily, orally rehearsing what they are going to write until they are confident to write independently. Writing opportunities are built into daily provision in Reception and Year 1, with children mark making and writing for a purpose across the curriculum.

During Literacy lessons the children are exposed to language rich texts which will support their writing. Elements of Pie Corbett’s “Talk for Writing” model are used to scaffold the children’s use of language, grammar, and a variety of text structures. Literacy texts are carefully chosen to support our Harmony Curriculum, ensuring the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world can be expressed through their writing. To ensure an immersive cross curricular experience for the children, texts are often chosen from CLPE “Power of Reading” allowing for experiences such as drama, art and school visits, which in turn leads to expressive pieces of writing being produced.

Children are taught how to form individual letters in Reception, with the intent that this will support children’s recognition of letters when reading print in books. Children are then introduced to pre-cursive handwriting in Year 1 and are expected to use cursive handwriting from Year 2.


The intended impact of our Literacy curriculum is to enable our children to become enthusiastic and confident readers, writers and speakers. They will have a love of reading, can debate their ideas, and take pride in their written work.  Children will have the skills to draft, edit and improve their writing, understanding the importance of each stage of this process. Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. With decoding taught as the prime approach to reading, pupils will become familiar with this strategy and have the confidence to work out unfamiliar words in any new texts they encounter. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school, accessing a range of texts independently.

Literacy skills progression map