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Please find below a document containing some links for your child to continue their English learning at home during the Covid-19 school closures. Some can be accessed independently and others will need some help from an adult. The majority are free to use but there are some paid ones too. Enjoy!

Anyone with a Salford Library card can access BorrowBox to borrow e-book and e-audiobooks for free during the school closure - why not encourage your child to try it while the libraries and schools are closed?

Access to Borrowbox can be found by following the first link below. Just sign up using your normal library membership number and PIN. The service is completely free and has something for everyone! If you know of anyone who isn’t currently a library member but would like to use these services they can join instantly by clicking the second link. 

For as long as schools are closed, Audible are streaming 'an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids'. Best of all - it's free! Check it out using the link below.

Please take a look at the Oxford Owl free eBook collection via the link below, developed for children aged 3-11 years old. Many of the books are the same ones we have in school that are sent home with children in their reading diaries every day.

“Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”


Jesus, Matthew 4.4

English Subject Intent Statement

Reading at St. Thomas of Canterbury is the cornerstone of our school curriculum; it provides the passport our children need to fully embrace and succeed in their future life. We must ensure that every pupil, from entry in the nursery, benefits from quality first teaching, timely intervention (as required) and most importantly the opportunity to foster a life-long love of reading.

Due to very low starting points, a strong focus is needed on communication skills including: the ability to use and understand vocabulary; express ideas and pose questions. From the outset, parents are valued as key partners, whom we seek to support and educate; their influence on their child’s success is unquestionable.

The systematic teaching of phonics provides the building blocks for word reading and is therefore prioritised and well-resourced. We intend to ensure that all children are fluent decoders by the end of Key Stage One. We believe the art of reading should be treasured by all so we make sure that no child is left behind on their phonics learning journey. Daily and precise systematic synthetic phonics is taught through small, interactive and engaging sessions; which allows a positive learning culture for all children to thrive! Decoding words is the ‘way in’ to a text, but to understand and connect with the content, systematically taught comprehension skills are vital. Staff follow a cohesive approach, led by our bespoke comprehension guidance.

Beyond direct teaching, we must provide an abundance of opportunities to use the skills of reading to access learning in other subjects and indeed in life.    

Writing is a powerful means of communication which builds on the spoken word. This vital skill is necessary to allow pupils to function, engage and contribute within our society. Speaking and listening are key facets of learning, where pupils can rehearse what they are going to write about and discuss in depth what they have read. Consideration is given early on to the physical demands of writing, including gross and fine motor dexterity. Time must be dedicated to developing the correct formation of letters – a skill which is not easy for young children. A range of key habits, including posture and pencil grip, must be established and sustained so that handwriting becomes fluent and effortless. Pride in all written presentation is promoted and valued at all times.

Further to the physical representation, children must grasp the meaning behind letters, words and sentences, and grow to experiment with their use. Key concepts alongside this, include the teaching of spelling and grammar. These aspects are taught discretely, then applied into writing. These systematic lessons are designed to support all pupils, including bilingual pupils (as they are exposed to the rules of the English language) and SEND pupils.

Pupils are taught to think about who they are writing for, and what the purpose of the writing is. This ensures that writing is not simply for the teacher, but is meaningful - a skill to use across the curriculum, into secondary school and beyond. Our curriculum promotes a ‘writer’s ear’ – this is to encourage children to take ownership of their writing, building upon their reading skills as they proof read work, and edit and improve.

A tangible love of reading and writing is promoted throughout the school. Practitioners expect the highest of standards, in a supportive manner. Growth mindset runs alongside this, encouraging a ‘can do’ attitude by all.

Expectations in English - The National Curriculum focuses on the mastery of the skills of reading and writing. Reading includes decoding the text as well as comprehension. Writing includes handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation. During English lessons, learning is often linked to other areas of the curriculum.

Developing Handwriting

Handwriting is taught daily. It begins in Early Years as the gross and fine motor skills are developed. In KS1 the Nelson Scheme is introduced:

In Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Speaking and Listening activities are at the centre of teaching and learning. Adults model how to speak and interact in the role play areas. Early reading is a focus, where children learn to enjoy books. They begin phonic lessons as the start of their reading journey.

Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing are a priority here at St. Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary. The strands of English run throughout the day, across the school.

OFSTED recognised this excellence. Visit our Homepage to watch the Ofsted video clip!

Developing language

In Key Stage One (KS1), during the daily phonics lessons, the children learn to read. The synthetic phonics program 'Letters and Sounds' is delivered everyday by trained teachers and teaching assistants to small groups of pupils. Interesting, fun and interactive short lessons, help the children to engage in their learning.


Phonic lessons in small groups

Grammar lessons using the I Model

In Key Stage Two (KS2), pupils ideally enter into the Juniors as a reader. The same three literacy areas of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing remain the focus. The 'Schofield and Sims' program is followed in KS2, when the phonics program is complete.

'Know a novel' is an exciting approach to our English curriculum. Each class will read at least 3 full novels each year. They will learn about the story plot, the range of characters, the language choices of the writer, and indeed the writer's style.


Poetry lessons are now in place every half term! The children really love listening to, reading and reciting poems. Here, they will learn to talk about and appreciate poetry, and even become a poet themselves as they write! Three poems will be learnt 'off by heart' in each year group. The children will get different opportunities to recite these poems to an audience!

Writing is where the handwriting, spelling and grammar elements all come together. The children write for a purpose so that the tasks are meaningful and enjoyable. This may be linked to their topic or their novel. The curriculum is followed using the Lancashire Learning and Progression Steps.

Lancashire Learning and Progression Steps for Wriitng

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and so is taught discretely in a variety of ways. These include phonics lessons, guided reading in small groups, guided reading journal activities and reading comprehension. Two St. Thomas of Canterbury bespoke documents have been written to guide our reading curriculum - Reading Comprehension Skills Progression and a Teaching Toolkit. Both are available in school at request.

Guided reading, reading journal activities and reading comprehension

The English Team, Mrs Abbott  and Mrs McGuire, lead English throughout the school. They are supported by the Phonics Lead Miss Ward and Miss Carlton. The high quality provision for all pupils is their priority.


Regular training for teachers ensures a consistent approach to teaching and learning. The monitoring of teaching and learning takes place through lesson drop-ins, book and planning scrutinies, and pupil interviews. Team planning and teaching takes place as a supportive model.


Local and National links help our school to remain up-to-date with developments in Literacy, such as the 'Transforming Writing' project with 'The National Literacy Trust'. The was a two-year action research project, working alongside experts Pie Corbett and Julia Strong!

Not all children learn at the same rate. The teachers carefully consider this when planning their English lessons. Teacher Assistants are also placed to support or challenge pupils. If a pupil requires a more tailed approach, an intervention may be put in place to help them.

Beyond the curriculum - Trips out of school and visitors into classes, enrich and support enjoyment and learning. World Book Day is celebrated each year, along with author and poet visits. Breakfast and After school clubs further support learning. Our wonderful library welcomes pupils throughout the lunch break, and parents and pupils after school every day.


Our School Library

Reading For Pleasure - Celebrating World Book Day 2020