Dothill Primary School

What does English look like at Dothill Primary School?


At Dothill Primary we want pupils to be independent, creative, enthusiastic and thoughtful writers. Writing is taught through a variety of engaging stimuli across all genres. Children are continually encouraged to develop a growing and wide vocabulary collected from engaging texts used in lessons, read at story-time and shared at home, by ‘magpie-ing’ words and phrases used across the curriculum and through enriching debate and discussion. Spelling is taught daily and is an integral part of all our writing activities. Grammar is taught through our writing activities and children at Dothill Primary School have a clear understanding of the terminology and importance of its use. Presentation and handwriting are important to us so we introduce the use of cursive script right from the start of school. Writing is celebrated and displayed in classrooms and corridors around the school.


Reading is at the heart of all that we do. We encourage and support all children to read a variety of genres and authors in order that they become lifelong, avid readers and use adventurous vocabulary in their speech and their written work. Phonics is taught daily to our earliest readers and fostered throughout Key Stage One through the ‘Read, Write, Inc.’ programme. Bug Club, an online reading resource, is also used to motivate children’s reading. Our Reading Journeys support children to read regularly at home and share their reading with others. We celebrate children’s enjoyment of books by rewarding regular readers in our celebration weekly reading raffle. Reading is taught daily at Dothill Primary School, in these lessons children learn what it is to be a fluent reader, they develop their comprehension skills through a variety of activities, continue to build an exciting vocabulary and become enthusiastic, independent readers with an innate desire to read for pleasure.


Why is English important?

English gives us essential life skills in the worlds of work and pleasure.

Writing is an important way of communicating. It shows what we think, what we know, how we feel and conveys who we are.

Reading unlocks new worlds, it takes us to new places, it gives us new knowledge.

As a core subject of the curriculum English is taught at Dothill on a daily basis. English is divided into writing and reading sessions. Writing is taught for an hour each day and reading sessions are taught for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. Our school follows a text based approach to planning the English curriculum. This means that units of work are based on quality texts that are engaging and challenging. Units are planned across the school ensuring that all year groups cover a range of genres including narrative writing, poetry, diary writing, non-chronological reports etc. Click on the document below or here to access this year’s texts and areas covered by each year group. The texts used may change depending upon the interests of the children and topics covered.


There are many elements to the writing curriculum. To be able to write : first you need to be able to read and then you need to be able to spell; then have the knowledge and understanding of how to build a sentence; then put together longer pieces of writing and know that you have to write in a different way depending upon the purpose of your writing. On top of that you have to make sure that your handwriting is legible so it can be read! Phew!! 

To help us develop the skills of writing we break it down into the following elements:



Having a wide vocabulary helps to make our writing interesting and engaging. As a school we have a strong focus on teaching new vocabulary related to the genre and theme of each English topic. Children are encouraged to use new vocabulary in their writing collected through reading, vocabulary mats and research. You can help your child build their vocabulary by encouraging them to record new and interesting words they read in the 'magpie' section of their Reading Journey.


Grammar and Punctuation

Each year group is taught Grammar and Punctuation as set out in the National Curriculum. Grammar is taught in all English and Reading lessons. Aspects of grammar and punctuation are revisited throughout Key Stage 2, to allow for consolidation of knowledge and to promote a deeper understanding. All children are expected to know the terminology for their Year group.

Year Group Terminology                                          Terminology explained for Parents



Spellings are taught across the school beginning with phonic development in EYFS and Year 1 and then building upon more complex spelling patterns and rules up to Year 6. Children are given weekly spellings to learn and practice at home. Weekly spellings are also taught and practiced in lessons and highlighted by the children when used in their work across the curriculum. All spellings are based on Year Group specifications in the National Curriculum. As well as learning new patterns and rules each year group also has a list of exception words they are expected to spell by the end of their year, these can be found below.

Year 1                       Year 2                      Years 3 and 4                     Years 5 and 6




The National Curriculum requires pupils to begin joining handwriting from Year onwards.  Our children begin forming letters in EYFS using the rhymes learnt in Read Write Inc, this is consolidated in Year 1 whilst learning about letter handwriting families. 

RWI Letter Formation Rhymes                                                      Handwriting Families

From Year 1 onwards at Dothill we follow the Twinkl continuous cursive script handwriting scheme. The scheme focuses upon correct pencil grip, good writing position, warm up skills, letter formation practice as well as practicing fluency, style and speed. At Dothill we write in black ink and children work hard to earn their pen license from Year 2 onwards.

End of Year Expectations for Writing

Here are the end of Year expectations for each year group. Years 3 and 4 have the same expectations as do Years 5 and 6 this is to allow for the practice and consolidation of the skills required in lower and upper key stage 2. 

EYFS          Year 1             Year 2            Year 3            Year 4            Year 5             Year 6


Reading Books

Children are assessed each term and given a reading age. This then helps to determine which group of reading books they can select in school. We all learn at different speeds so it is important that children have a suitable reading book to build their confidence and develop their reading skills. Reading does not just include how well we de-code the words to read but how we understand what we are reading. Children following the Read, Write, Inc programme will have phonically decodeable based upon the sounds they are learning. 

Reading Age Colour Bands


Reading Journey

We could not achieve as well as we do in reading without the valuable support of our children's parents and carers. To share the reading that our pupil's do each child has their own on-line Reading Journey. We expect pupil's to read at least four times a week, this is recorded via Seesaw along with the books they have read and a weekly reading activity. We ask parents and carers to comment and submit their child's Reading Journey every Friday to show that they have read. 

End of Year Expectations for Reading

Here are the end of Year expectations for each year group. Years 3 and 4 have the same expectations as do Years 5 and 6 this is to allow for the practice and consolidation of the skills required in lower and upper key stage 2. 

EYFS            Year 1           Year 2           Year 3           Year 4           Year 5           Year 6

Explore the objects in the library by clicking on them to discover some interesting reading and writing activities to try at home.


How can I help my child to read at home?

We really value the support our parents and carers give at home. Here are a few tips to help.

Choosing the right book                                                         Help your child with reading 

                             Questions for KS1                   Questions for KS2

Suggested Reading Lists

Year 3                               Year 4                             Year 5                                Year 6





World Book Day – Westfield Arts College – Broadening Horizons






4M WBD.jpg    34 Team.JPG    2T.jpg


What pupils say about English at Dothill

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