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Primary English

Reading and phonics within our Primary department


Read, Write, Inc.

Read, Write Inc Phonics scheme

Read, Write, Inc. Phonics is the chosen scheme at West Kirby School for teaching literacy for our Primary pupils.

Primary pupils (In Foundation Stage to Year 4) who are reading below age related expectations are taught RWI Phonics on a daily basis. They complete RWI reading and writing activities on a 1:1 basis as ability levels and individual needs can vary greatly. The timings of lessons are personalised as some pupils require short breaks to self-regulate between tasks. Assessments are carried out every six weeks to ensure progression and identify/target gaps in learning.

Read, Write, Inc. has a large collection of lively phonic story books and also phonics non-fiction books. These are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.

Other resources to support our pupils include:

  • Picture Sound Cards; Green and Red Word Cards; Fred Frogs for blending
  • Picture Friezes; Simple and Complex Speed Sound Posters
  • Phonics practice quizzes and activities


Reading Schemes in Primary

Pupils undertaking RWI Phonics or RWI Fresh Start read books from the Read Write Inc matching reading scheme. Their RWI focus book, RWI book bag book or a short story from the matching anthologie level book are sent home to practise each week. We encourage all of our pupils to read each RWI book/Fresh Start text a minimum of three times at home. Focusing firstly on decoding and vocabulary, then fluency and finally comprehension and expression.

All primary pupils take home a library book (chosen by the child) that matches their reading & comprehension level to read independently for pleasure.

Our school encourages parents and carers to read a range of books to their child, so our pupils are exposed to new vocabulary at home as well as in school. We suggest choosing books from our year group reading spine which is shared on our school website for parents and carers.

Primary children reading at their age related expectations or above select books from our school library on a weekly basis that are levelled to match their ZPD score. They read these books on a daily basis in allocated ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (D.E.A.R) time and take them home to read each night.

Guided Reading

Primary children who are reading at or above age related expectations (ARE) and have secure phonic knowledge take part in at least one guided reading session each week using age related books from the main Accelerated Reader school library. These sessions are usually on a 1:1 basis with the class teacher or the class HLTA and are set at an appropriate level based on teacher assessment. Staff refer to the key stage reading domains. Children below ARE take part in a guided reading session each week in addition to reading daily as part of RWI Phonics or RWI Fresh Start and in allocated DEAR time.

Primary Story time Reading Spine (Core recommended books)

The Reading Spine is a core list of books that create a living library inside a child's minds: a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story, fostering a love of reading. This is a blend of fiction and poetry.

Story time

All our primary children take part in a daily story time session with a teacher or teaching assistant reads them a book that matches their year group age or comprehension reading level. Children are quizzed using either Star Reader or the KS1/KS2 National Curriculum reading domains. Teachers, TAs and HTLAs reading, lead discussions and model how to engage as a reader.

All staff that read books in story time select texts each term from our school reading spine. English leaders monitor which texts are being read to individuals and observe story time to ensure that new vocabulary is being highlighted, questioning is purposeful, discussions around clarification, prediction or summarising is evident and children are fully engaged.

WKS Primary reading spine

Our Primary reading spine constantly evolves and changes as new books are published and we listen to our pupil’s responses from books read. English leaders select books carefully. We use these books to inform children about diversity, different cultures and protected characteristics. Books with topics that children experience and can relate to. Imaginative themes explored and written by a range of authors that together create a living library inside a child’s mind. We have also injected age appropriate poetry books into each year group's bank of books. 

English leaders encourage all members of staff to read these books to gain a good understanding of how the reading material we have can support, challenge and engage our children. Staff are informed of new books added and know where to locate these books in our reading cafe library.

Read to Write

Read to Write is a program we use at West Kirby School that encourages children to read and write, once Primary children that have secure phonic knowledge.

Children complete 'Read to Write' units of work that match their writing ability level. Pupils take part in daily Read to Write lessons. The timings of lessons may vary slightly as some pupils require short breaks to self-regulate between tasks.

Read to Write provides high-quality teaching of writing through children’s high-quality literature (Vehicle Texts). The units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities. Several of these carefully selected Vehicle Texts have strong thematic links to the Science, History and Geography curriculum. Read to Write is evidence-based teaching of writing through comprehensive units that have been carefully constructed so the entire statutory curriculum for English is covered from EYFS to Y6. They also enable schools to draw upon the wider curriculum. This in turn, helps build a rich curriculum where Intent and Implementation leads to Impact and improved outcomes for children.

Some of our pupils are taught on a 1:1 basis with a class teacher or HLTA and others are taught in small groups. Children’s writing skills are assessed by the class teacher at the end of every unit using a child’s independent written piece.

Read, Write Inc Spelling - Coming Soon To WKS

Pupils in Years 2 to 6 who can read accurately, with increasing speed will complete 15 minutes of daily teaching in order to develop confident spelling. The RWI Spelling program develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings.

The spelling of topic related words is highlighted in all primary lessons and children are challenged to practise the spelling of specific words during their daily target time and at home.

Spoken Language

The development of spoken language is greatly valued at West Kirby School and College and is a key part of all lessons. Children are encouraged to explain and discuss their ideas in all areas of the curriculum. A wide and varied vocabulary is seen as invaluable for all children. Key vocabulary is selected and taught by the teacher and focus words are displayed in the classroom on the vocabulary working wall. Children are encouraged to explore new words by asking questions, using a dictionary and exploring synonyms and antonyms. All pupils receive constructive feedback of their spoken language and listening on a daily basis in order to improve their knowledge and skills and to help secure foundations for effective spoken language.


Each class studies at least one poetry unit each year. Poetry is also explored in storytime as poetry books are built into each year groups bank of books in our school reading spine. Pupils are encouraged to enter poetry competitions and recently a number of poems written by our pupils were published by Young Writers in the Peculiar Pets book 2021. We have poet Levi Tafari coming into school in November 2021. Homework tasks include learning short poems or listening to them at home and talking about them with an adult.


Most lessons contain a grammar element that relates to the learning within the lesson. Sometimes lessons focus solely on one area of grammar such as relative clauses. 

Working Walls

Classrooms display an English working wall showing the process of writing. This often includes modelled examples of text types, features of the genre of writing, grammatical features of writing, interesting vocabulary choices etc. Cross curricular Staff have expectations for quality written work across all subjects. Pupils are encouraged to apply their phonic knowledge to read and segment words, use grammar and recall spelling rules when completing any written work.


Staff encourage careful, neat presentation and will teach how to achieve this. Teachers monitor the presentation across all pupil books, in each subject across the curriculum. Handwriting is taught at WKS, using the RWI Phonics Handwriting scheme. Pupils begin to join letters once they can write all 26 lower case letters accurately. Handwriting is taught on a 1:1 basis at least three times each week.

Marking, Feedback & Editing Writing

Pupil’s work / written recordings are marked daily in green pen by the teacher or HLTA. Occasionally work, particularly with a grammar or spelling focus, is self marked by pupils who can cope using this strategy. Children will be given sufficient time to edit, review and improve work in line with feedback. Pupils are encouraged to practise their next steps in target time. An adult might support them with this. Differentiated success criteria checklists will be provided to the pupils for all Read to Write ‘end of unit pieces’ and some other longer written tasks. Criteria includes both relevant contextual composition (genre) features, grammar and vocabulary content.

Monitoring of Standards

Progress leaders and English subject leaders constantly monitor standards in English across school through a programme of book reviews, moderation, staff training and support and termly data analysis.

Reading tests - information for parents

As children become more confident readers, there becomes a greater focus on comprehension. At the end of Year 2 and Year 6, children working at their age related expectations have their reading assessed by taking a SAT. The test is designed to assess a range of comprehension skills which have been categorised as ‘Reading Domains’. The information below gives you examples of the type of questions you could ask your child at home to address each one.

West Kirby School and College, Meols Drive, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 5DH

0151 632 3201