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At St. Mary's C of E Primary Academy we want all our children in English to:

  • Learn as much as possible, so all children are fluent confident readers and writers. 
  • We want all our students to develop into well-read confident speakers therefore our curriculum is driven by high quality engaging texts that children can explore and study. 
  • Ignite Curiosity by building strong links in English to the Geography, History or Science that the children are learning.  


Each half termly unit is structured around three phases: reading, toolkit and writing. The reading phase and the toolkit phase both build knowledge and context of the theme in addition to giving the children the building blocks to produce a high quality piece of writing - ‘Reading like a writer, to write like a reader’.

Teachers will ensure that they have a deep understanding of their class core texts. They will choose purposeful text types to teach from these core texts and use the progression of skills documents to ensure pupils have the opportunity to revise key English skills in addition to teaching them the age related objectives for their year group.

Each half term, pupils are taught two different text types- one fiction and one non-fiction including regular opportunities to explore poetry. These text types are taught in the context of the theme and use the core text as the basis for this writing.

Reading Phase

The Reading Phase is the basis of the whole unit as it allows the pupils to develop a real understanding of the text and the knowledge they will need in order to write an effective piece of writing. The principles of RIC will form the basis for teaching the skills of reading including: decoding, vocabulary, retrieval, inference and prosody.

A range of reading skills lessons ideas can be found in the ‘Reading Skills Lessons’ Quick Start Guide.

When teaching reading skills, teachers will ensure that they teach what is expected of the children in terms of answering reading questions using the following structure in the main activity of the lesson:

Guided Work: Lead by the teacher including demonstrating how to write the expected level of answer. Remove the WAGOLL and then give the pupils the opportunity to answer for themselves following on from the discussion.

Paired Work: Discuss the question with the pupils initially then allow them to work collaboratively on answering the question. Provide children with opportunities to share their answers and then edit improve from verbal feedback.

Independent Work: Pupils then apply their taught skills from this session to then answer questions independently. A focus group during this time of chosen pupils who need work on a specific skill during the session is used to close gaps.

Toolkit Phase

The Toolkit Phase is where grammar skills are taught. These skills are specifically selected by the teacher so that each child builds a ‘toolkit’ in order for them to write effectively. All the skills taught in this phase will be applicable to the children’s writing. The Writing Progression Document will be used to identify opportunities to revise prior knowledge as well as teach current objectives.

Writing Phase

The Writing Phase is split into two parts: a scaffolded piece of writing and an independent piece. The scaffolded piece should be taught and modelled with lots of teacher input, WAGOLLs and verbal feedback so that children produce a piece of writing that demonstrates all their skills. Planning for this piece of writing can take many forms and can be completed as a whole class, in pairs or individually. Focus groups can be used to complete shared writes and ensure all pupils can achieve their potential in writing whether working at risk of delay, age related or greater depth. When the first draft has been completed, pupils should be taught how to effectively edit and improve their writing- this can be done independently or with their peers.

For the pupils’ independent piece of writing, they should complete the same genre of writing however in a different context within the theme. For example, if students have written a setting description of a woodland, they could produce a setting description of a contrasting location. Pupils will need to be given the opportunity to: plan this following the same format as in the scaffolded write; gather vocabulary to help them with their writing- this can be done as a whole group creating word banks on the working wall for the children to reference in their writing; and when they have written their initial draft, they need to be given the opportunity to edit and improve their work.

What a unit of work would include


Reading Phase


  • Initial hook into the text to excite and engage the children
  • Prediction
  • Introduction of new vocabulary
  • RIC lessons
  • Reading activities should deepen the children’s understanding of the theme of the unit, providing them with the knowledge needed to complete a piece of writing in this theme. For example, where pupils are writing a diary entry, reading tasks can focus on the point of view of the character they will be writing from.


Toolkit Phase




  • Teaching of grammar and punctuation skills specific to the chosen piece of writing the children will complete in the writing phase.
  • Include both previous knowledge and new knowledge to give children opportunities to revise, revisit and deepen their grammar skills.
  • Constantly link to authorial intent and the effect that grammar has on the reader. Making links to the purpose of grammatical techniques and the purpose of the writing enabling children to understand why certain techniques are used in certain writing genres to impact the reader.


Writing Phrase



  • Children write a specific style of writing over a period of a few days
  • Children use their environment to support their writing – working wall AND other displays, spelling lists, key vocabulary etc.
  • Mini plenaries – checking writing against success criteria/shared writing/1:1 adult support
  • Children are given time to edit/redraft through the use of editing stations, verbal feedback and specific feedback where pieces are not being used as an assessment piece.
  • Children check their writing with their peers
  • Sometimes writing is published but not every time – edited writing shows how children are developing as writers

Note: The toolkit phase will be very specific to the piece of writing following on for it. As two pieces of writing are expected each half-term, the toolkit phase and writing phase are repeated but for the second piece of writing.


  • Week 1: Reading Phase
  • Week 2: Toolkit Phase (Diary)
  • Week 3: Writing Phase (Diary)
  • Week 4: Toolkit Phase (Poetry)
  • Week 5: Writing Phase (Poetry)

This is a rough guide for timings. Teachers have ownership of how they divide the term to develop pupils’ skills in the best way.


As we develop this approach we want to raise levels of attainment across the school. So children are confident writers, readers and have and good understanding of grammar and punctuation. By July 2023 we expect our attainment data to be inline with similar school nationally.