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The Winchcombe School



English & Literacy Intent

At The Winchcombe School, we strongly believe that the English curriculum should develop each child’s love for reading, writing, speaking and listening. English is taught through a topic-based approach built around the Big Ideas from the Cornerstones curriculum. We also seek to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination through chosen books suitable for each year group. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in language and literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum.


As part of our whole school approach to encourage all children to enjoy reading and make outstanding progress, we have recently purchased more than £24,000 of new Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) books.

These books begin at Lilac ORT level 0 and continue to Brown ORT level 14. Once the children reach this ORT level they then become a Free Reader. To help them choose appropriate reading books above this level we have now purchased Tree Top books that continue up to ORT level 20.

Throughout the new reading scheme, your child will read through a series of stories, which are listed on the back of the book. We will try as much as possible to read books in this order. You may find that different colour bands cross over each other, for example a blue or red book might be in the story series as part of yellow book bands. This cross over is vital to reinforce key words and build upon their confidence as a reader. Reading higher level books will also challenge them further.

In the child’s reading record you will find a list of the books within the colour band. Once the child has read the book, an adult in school will tick to acknowledge the child is ready for the next book in the series. You may find that your child has already read a book in this series, please hear them re-read these books to help with fluency and understanding.

I am thrilled with the range of new books now in school and this week your child will get the opportunity to start bringing these books home to read. Please can you encourage your child to respect the books they bring home and to return them in the same condition. There will be a small charge for damaged books.

We are encouraging every child to read daily at home for at least 10 minutes. Please can you write a comment and sign to say you have listened to your child read in their Reading Records.


Phonics is the word used to describe the sounds the letters make. In simple terms, the word 'cat' can be read from its three sounds: c-a-t. These are not the names of the letters as we say them in the alphabet, but the sounds these letters make.

Likewise, the word 'thick' is made up of three sounds: th-i-ck, where pairs of letters combine to make a single sound. Similarly, 'rash' is made up of three sounds: r-a-sh.

Please note that a 'phoneme' is the sound of the letters and a 'grapheme' is what they look like written down.

At The Winchcombe School, pre-reading skills are taught using synthetic phonics and the school follows the government published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’, using some resources from the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme. This provides us with a multi-sensory approach that accommodates all learning styles. The children are taught within the phase that is appropriate to their level of development. They are assessed on a regular basis and our flexible groups are sorted accordingly. The phonemes (sounds) are systematically taught before the children are shown how to blend them for reading and segmenting them for writing. Alongside this the children are taught the ’high frequency words’ (those words which do not entirely follow the phonic rules). Staff members receive regular training in the teaching of phonics which enables them to deliver interesting, interactive sessions that engage and motivate the children.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check will take place usually during the third week of June. The check is a list of 40 words which children will read one -to-one with their class teacher. It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.

It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.

For the Department for Education Parents and Carers Information on the Year One phonics screening check click here.

If your child does not pass in Year 1 they will be retested in Year 2.

Suggested Websites

Recommended Reads & Useful Information

If you are looking for books for your children to read at home this is a good website:

They have lots of book suggestions for every year group, books to look out for, monthly reads and topic related books. 

Also look at for Oxford Reading Tree ebooks, for all reading ages. Children can read books from our reading scheme online!

Also see the attached reading booklet - lots of recommended books for the children to read for each year group phase. 

Finally, you can use these bookmarks to help you ask questions to support your child whilst reading: