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Please click here for Hartford Infant School’s Curriculum for English


Please click here for Hartford Infant School’s Curriculum for Speaking & Listening



English is a core subject within the National Curriculum and consists of language and communication, reading and writing. These interconnected skills are given high priority and, alongside a daily phonics session, feature in the majority of lessons whether discretely or embedded within a topic.

All learning objectives in English are taken from the ‘Renewed Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics’, which complements the National Curriculum. Next steps in learning are carefully planned to provide the children with a structured, developmental, enjoyable approach to the acquisition of the broad range of Literacy skills.

The New English Curriculum is being introduced in 2014-15 in Year 1 and 2015-16 in Year 2. ‘Speaking and Listening', 'Reading' and 'Writing' will be integrated into the teaching as before. More details on the new English Curriculum can be found here.


We follow the 'Letters and Sounds' programme when teaching phonics, ensuring our phonics practice is of the highest quality. Daily discrete phonics sessions are taught in every class, with careful differentiation to ensure each child is learning at the correct phonics phase.




Our school handwriting scheme teaches cursive writing through the whole school beginning in Reception. Research has shown that cursive writing:

  • enables the children to see words as whole units
  • enables more children to form letters correctly with less reversals
  • forms the most commonly confused letters (b, d, p, q) correctly
  • encourages left to right movement
  • aides the transition to joined writing
  • prevents ‘hand cramp’ when children are writing longer passages of text

The children will use this style of writing in all curriculum areas. Children in Reception will begin by making letter shapes using a variety of materials. They will trace the correct letter shapes. They will learn to recognise and write their names. By the end of Reception most children will be writing individual words and incorporating these into simple sentences.

The letters are taught in 4 groups. All letters start on the line.

The children are taught to:

  • see similarities in letter shapes
  • know the name, sound and the shape of each letter
  • understand the link between handwriting and spelling
  • write letter strings and to spell using Look, Cover, Write, Check

Capitals letters are written in the ‘Nelson’ style and are not joined.



How could I help my child at Home?

Reading – books

It is expected that you read with your child every day for about 10 minutes. They should read the book that they bring home from school as this is suited to their ability. However, you are also welcome to borrow further books from the class book corner which will widen your child’s breadth of reading and will give them plenty of opportunities to explore both fiction and non-fiction. For further tips on how to read with your child, see here.


Reading – key words

If your child is given some key words to take home and practise then you need to practise these daily. When your child is ready, they will be given a new set of words.

Here are some fun ideas for reading the words with your child:

  1. Line up several word cards on a table. Say one of the words then have the child point to the word and remove it from the row. Repeat the activity with another word. Praise correct responses.

  2. Laying the words on a table, provide some clues to a word and have the child find the word, for example: This word starts with /v/ and rhymes with merry (very).

  3. Use a torch to highlight one of the words in a group of key words spread out on a table. Have your child read the word. Then give your child the torch and have them highlight a word for you to read.

  4. Make key words using letter cards. Have your child close his or her eyes while you remove one of the letters. Have the child open their eyes and tell you the letter that is missing.

  5. Write on a piece of paper a sentence using several key words. Read the sentence with the child as you point to each word. Then have the child cover their eyes while you cover one of the words. Have the child read the sentence and tell you what word is missing. Add the word and have the child read the sentence again to check. Alternatively, write the words on cards and have your child hold up the card that shows the missing word in the sentence.

  6. Place flashcards face down in a stack. Have your child draw the cards and read them as fast as they can. Time the child and encourage them to read as fast as possible. You might want to help the child make a graph to record the child’s time over a period of several days.

  7. Make two sets of the flash cards and spread them face down on a table. Have the child turn over two cards, read the words, and tell whether the words are the same. If the words are the same, the child can keep the words.

  8. Place a flashcard on the table. Give the child some letter cards and have them make the word using the letter cards.

  9. Using a set of flashcards, have your child put the words into groups, for example, according to the first letter, last letter, the number of letters in the words etc. Once your child has made the groups, have him or her read the words in each grouping.

  10. Word Race - A target key word is chosen. The task is to write the word over and over again along the length of the piece of paper. The one who gets to the end first wins. The word must be spelt correctly.

Spelling – key words

When your child is familiar with reading their key words and can read them by sight without hesitation and without ‘sounding them out’, they are ready to try to spell them (write them down). It is important that the children can write the words correctly as well as read them. Many are difficult to spell correctly as they do not follow typical spelling patterns, e.g. many children write ‘have’ as ‘hav’. Here are some fun ideas to help your child spell their key words. The aim is that they can spell them correctly from memory and use the correct spelling consistently.


When can my child move onto the next level book?

We assess the children regularly on their reading. The assessment that we do involves the children reading a short text and then asking a variety of specifically worded questions. The children will not be able to move onto the next colour reading book until they can read the text with minimal errors and answer the questions correctly at the end. Some children may be able to read the text with no errors, but then find it hard to answer the questions correctly afterwards. This would mean they are not ready to move up and need to practise their comprehension skills. Speak to your class teacher if you need further clarification on this matter.


What our children say about writing

“I love writing. It’s really just the same as drawing, but you are putting letters!” (Wongai in Year 2)

“I really like writing. You can get better if you practise” (Aaron in Year 2)

“I like writing because I do lots at home and I nearly know all my words” (Kaela in Year 1)

“I like writing because I can write whatever I like” (Connor in Year 1)

“Writing is great because I can write interesting things” (Georgia, Reception)

“I love writing because it makes me think of the letters I need” (Annabelle, Reception)