English and Reading

Reading at Shamblehurst 

At Shamblehurst Primary School, we believe that all pupils can achieve in reading, both for pleasure and in their comprehension and understanding. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We believe, through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We feel that reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.

As part of our varied and rich curriculum, we provide children with a plethora of exciting books to explore. We ensure that children are given plenty of opportunities to access and enjoy these great books through our reading challenge initiative; end of day class reads; library clubs and curriculum. Children are encouraged to share their love of reading through reading journals, reading challenge and curriculum outcomes.  We offer a well-balanced selection of books for children to learn from, which are linked to the concepts taught and other areas of study.

Our aim is to embed a deep love of reading and offer wide experiences of reading to all the children we teach, instilling a love of books and paving the way for future learning.


At Shamblehurst Primary School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. The school follows the government published programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised which supports us in providing a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. We use cued articulation to support children in articulation of sounds.

Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

Reading Schemes 

At Shamblehurst Primary School, we have continually updated our reading books to ensure that they are engaging for all children. We have ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised’ decodable books that match children’s phonic ability so that they can practise reading with the sounds that they know. Therefore, children can practise the skill of reading leading to an enjoyable, positive experience.

We have a range of phonetically decodable books in EYs, KS1 and KS2 to support the children’s phonic ability and interests. Throughout a child’s early reading experience, we ensure that they are able to take home familiar books helping them to enjoy reading from an early age.

Writing at Shamblehurst 

Our enquiry-based curriculum is concept driven and invites children to participate in discussion, debate, drama, role-play and speaking and listening. Concepts are explored through the wider curriculum, alternate ‘Let’s think’ and P4C sessions, as well as the exploration of these concepts in the rich texts provided during guided reading and English learning journeys. Using Rosenshine’s Principles in actions, children get to develop their knowledge and understanding around these strong writing models and stimulus. We believe this is the foundations for deep thinking and successful writing and create immersive and engaging starting points for the children.

Through our synthetic phonic programme, ‘Little Wandle’, our spelling programme, ‘EdShed’, and our handwriting scheme, ‘Teach Handwriting Scheme’, we provide children with the toolkit to support them on their journey as writers. Our guided reading model allows time for new and ambitious vocabulary to be explored and children are encouraged to use this, both verbally and within their own writing, to embed their understanding and develop as writers.

Making meaning is central to the teaching of writing. Pupils are taught to reflect on purpose, audience, form and viewpoint when writing and teachers consider these elements when designing tasks. Purpose, subject matter, richness of experiences and authentic outcomes engages pupils and drives the writing.

Reading for Pleasure

At Shamblehurst Primary School, we have developed a reading challenge. These books are bespoke to our school and are based on new authors as well as more traditional books. Children can earn bronze, silver and gold reading badges across the year.

We have invested in a book vending machine, which remains full of new and exciting books that the children can earn once they have completed their gold challenge badge.

We are currently working on developing an outside library which will enable our children to access books during lunchtimes.