There are 32 lists of words for children to learn. The words follow the guidance from the 2014 National Curriculum.

Each year group focuses on a word list each half term for further details please CLICK HERE.


Developing Early Reading Skills – Batty Phonics

Throughout Reception and Years 1 and 2, children participate in daily Batty Phonic sessions. Batty Phonics teaches children the 26 letter sounds through stories, actions and dance. This is then extended to introduce the remaining letter sounds, including vowel digraphs (‘ai’, ‘ee’, etc), consonant digraphs (‘th’, ‘st’, etc) and split digraphs (‘o-e’ as in bone).  It helps children to hear the sound, recognise the letter and write the letter correctly, as well as write and read words/sentences.

Here is a complete set of all the stories we use in lessons:

Download (DOC, 152KB)

At the end of Year 1, children have to complete a Phonic Screener Test along with every Year 1 child in the whole country.  For the past few years children have had to read 32 words out of 40, in order to pass.  If a child does not pass then they have to re-sit the screener in Year 2.  Below are slides from a presentation given to Year 1 parents about the screener.

Download (PDF, 1.09MB)

PowerPoint – Year 1 Phonic Check 2015

Developing Reading throughout the school

Our school uses a combination of Alphablocks, Phonic Bug, Oxford Reading Tree and Tree Tops books. These books are carefully chosen to suit the needs of individual children.

As part of our Guided Reading sessions, children are taught to develop their skills of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising through Reciprocal Reading. In Reception and Key Stage 1, Reciprocal Reading is often carried out as part of a whole class reading session to develop children’s reading strategies as early as possible.


Developing Early Writing Skills – Dough Disco

To support the development of motor skills, children in Reception and Year 1 take part in Dough Disco on a daily basis. While dancing to music, the children manipulate dough to exercise their fingers in preparation for writing.

Watch a clip of our Guiness World Record Dough Disco Challenge from 2014.

Developing Early Writing Skills – Squiggle While You Wiggle

Squiggle While You Wiggle is a kinaesthetic approach to stimulate early writing. Children use movement with music to develop their motor skills in preparation for writing. Through Squiggle While You Wiggle, children begin using ‘Flipper Flappers’ to rehearse a range of shapes, which lead to children mark-making with chunky pens, in preparation for more formal writing.

Below is an explanation of the philosophy behind Squiggle.

Download (PDF, 10.13MB)

Daily Literacy Lessons

Lessons for children in Years 1 to 6 follow the National Curriculum for English and are usually based around high quality books. At Usworth Colliery Primary School, we immerse ourselves in a range of texts. Using a novel, short stories and poetry develops children’s understanding of story structure and encourages learners to consider the meaning and impact words can have. Through high quality texts, children will learn writing and grammatical skills within varying contexts. They will see skills being applied and modeled in the text. During Literacy lessons, children learn skills which include speaking for different audiences and listening for a purpose. Problem solving is promoted as children are engaged in activities, which mean they have to form predictions based upon evidence found in the text, and draw inferences.

In reading activities, children learn how to decode words and understand a range of text (including play scripts, stories and non-fiction writing). In writing activities, children focus on creating text (including poems, stories and factual writing), learning word patterns and effectively presenting their work by hand and using ICT. We use a cursive handwriting style, which is taught and introduced when children in Key Stage 1 have mastered basic letter formation.

Literacy Adventures

As part of their daily Literacy lessons, children in Reception and Year 1 take part in Literacy Adventures! These adventures involve lots of outdoor learning as a stimulus for children’s writing. Through these adventures, the children are also able to develop their speaking and listening skills, questioning, collaborative skills and experiences outside of the classroom.

Cross Curricular Work

As well as these daily lessons, children have the opportunity to apply and extend their language skills during our themed, cross curricular work. We also provide opportunities for children to develop their skills creatively, for instance writing a letter as a Roman soldier. All children have guided reading sessions, where they work directly with their teacher in small groups.

Useful Links

Online learning platforms for English – Children all have user names and passwords for each site.


http://uk.mathletics.com/ – access to spellodrome through the same website

http://readingeggs.co.uk/ – includes Reading Eggspress



Documents to Support the Teaching of English

Download (PDF, 246KB)

Download (PDF, 463KB)

Web Links to Support Writing

Pobble is used across the school to showcase the childrens’ writing, inspiring even the most reluctant of authors! Using the link below (click on the image), you can explore and enjoy pieces of writing from a wide variety of genres and even comment on them!

 Pobble background



Web Links to Support Reading