English is an extremely important aspect of our school curriculum. The majority of our children speak English as a first language and we aim to develop all aspects of English to enable every child to develop skills and knowledge to communicate and explore, understand and be understood in order to fit them for the world in which they live. English is an essential core skill which we plan to develop not only in “English lessons” but throughout the whole curriculum.


We are especially proud of our writing curriculum and the way in which is supports children to develop as creative writers with a high level of technical skill. The curriculum is bespoke to the school and follows a process of writing with purpose and audience in mind. Children are effectively taught the tools be successful writers with emphasis on skills linked to spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as engegeing in tasks to develop creative flair.

We adopt two approaches in our teaching; Talk for Writing and Read, Write Perform.

Talk for Writing

Talk for Writing is multi-sensory and interactive teaching that enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:

  • listening to and learning texts and stories;
  • taking part in drama and role-play;
  • drawing and story mapping;
  • collecting words and language strategies
  • building their working knowledge of grammar.

At Barley Fields we are all very enthusiastic about this approach as it brings out the best in the children and the teachers! (who have to write model texts for the children to use as the basis of their own writing) – we are all writers together! Writing becomes a joint adventure and the results are very exciting!

Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.

Talk for Writing works with any genre of writing and each term children will work with a fiction (story) and non-fiction (instructions, diary, explanation etc) text linked to their current topic.   They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.  Children will share poetry linked to their topics on a regular basis.

Read, Write, Perform

Read Write Perform is an exciting approach to English that encourages children to actively engage with a variety of media and get the most out of the learning to write in a range of contexts.  It encourages children to apply what they have learnt in a meaningful and purposeful way in order to embed their learning.  Learning to write for a purpose is essential if children are to focus upon and engage with the core facets of English in a coherent way. It encourages children to make important links that are rooted within meaningful contexts, enabling them to use grammar, punctuation and vocabulary creatively in order to bring their own work to life.

Read, write, perform follows a cycle of analysing quality texts, developing independent writing and performing or publishing it for a real purpose. It combines a rage of skills and supports a cross curricular approach to learning.


The development of a love of books and a passion for reading is a key part of our educational provision here at Barley Fields.  The mastery of reading skills is a key priority across the whole school

At Barley Fields we have an extensive and rich literary environment a with the provision of high quality reading material including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and reference books.  Classrooms contain a rich variety of books for reading or sharing and class readers are enjoyed by teachers and pupils alike. 

In every year group the topic or theme has high quality children’s literature running alongside the teaching and learning of English and children are encouraged to discover the joys in reading books by a wide range of respected authors including Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. Children are encouraged to read poetry and to learn by heart poems for performance to different audiences.

We have recently introduced a reading spine of books and stories that we focus on in each year group and this forms the basis of our extended reading curriculum. These can be accessed at the bottom of the page.

Our philosophy is for all children to find pleasure in reading and we therefore allocate time each day to develop the habit of quiet reading through school or to listen to stories being read aloud by adults.

Reading Resources

The development of Reading is supported by our own school graded reading scheme which uses resources from a variety of published materials including:

  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • Floppy’s Phonics
  • Rigby Rockets
  • Big Cat Phonics
  • Rigby Star
  • Usbourne Books
  • Project X
  • Literature by familiar authors.

Our books are organised into resourcing for Guided Reading and Individual reading and are colour banded according to levels of challenge and accessibility.  This banding is linked to age related expectations and assessment of key reading skills.

Early Reading Development

We teach children to read using a variety of methods including synthetic phonic development and high frequency word recognition.

In Early Years and KS1 we have devised our own teaching programme which follows the structure of the Letters and Sounds Programme but is supplemented and supported with a range of teaching materials from Jolly Phonics, Phonics Play, Floppy’s Phonics and Big Cat Phonics. In the development of early sight reading, we follow a programme known as Action Words  which offers children a kinesthetic approach to learning high frequency words.

Guided Reading and Reciprocal Reading

The schools follows two key models in the teaching of reading – guided and reciprocal. The use of these methods are linked to the age and ability of children but are designed to aid the developing of decoding skills alongside skills of inference and deduction. In UKS2 the children primarily engage in reciprocal reading, an approach that enhances skills of comprehension and understanding.  Children work collaboratively to share texts and explore key themes, summarise texts and explore meaning. 

Involving Parents

We recognise and value our shared role with you in developing your child’s skills as a reader from reading aloud and sharing books to developing their understanding and skill in extracting information. We strive to involve parents a great deal in the teaching of reading and staff will explain and support you in your important role in relation to this in each Key Stage.

Every child will bring reading materials home daily along with a Reading Record.  This book is used across the school and we ask you to make constructive comments and record when your child practices their reading at home. We really value your support in completing the Reading Record as it has a major impact on children’s progress.

Early Years Reading Spine
Key Stage 1 Reading Spine
Lower Key Stage 2 Reading Spine
Upper Key Stage 2 Reading Spine
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