The Masked Reader 2023

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The Masked Reader-World book Day 2022

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The Masked reader- World Book Day 2021

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English is a core subject and is at the heart of our curriculum. 


Spoken language is promoted throughout the curriculum and across all subjects. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are promoted throughout all speaking and listening, reading and writing opportunities. 



At St Helen’s we use the Read Write Inc. scheme to teach phonics and reading from Nursery to Year 3. In the Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1, phonics is taught everyday and strategies are put in place for children that may need some additional support.


Phonics is important for children to become effective readers, but it is not an end in itself. Our children are taught phonics as part of a language rich curriculum, so that they develop their wider reading skills at the same time. Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex - it’s the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It’s particularly helpful for younger children.




In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One the children will have access to reading sessions daily as part of the Read Write Inc (RWI) program used for phonics. All books are decodeable and matched to each child's phonic ability. The children also have the opportunity to take home a book matched to their ability in their book bags. This is to encourage the children to practise the skills they are being taught. Dialogue between home and school is encouraged through parent completion of reading diaries.


In the juniors the children still have access to weekly guided reading sessions. In addition, with support from the teacher, the children are encouraged to select reading for pleasure home readers from the class book corners.


  • It is expected that children spend 15-20 mnutes every day reading and recording in their reading record book.
  • Children need to bring their reading record book in each day and should be signed by parents at least once a week.


At St Helen’s, an approach which supports all three main components of the writing process: planning, translating and reviewing.


The approach provides a scaffold for the planning stage where children formulate writing goals and then generate and organise ideas to meet them in order to have the intended effect on the reader. By providing a model story that the children learn and imitate, the approach offers children a structure for innovating and then inventing their own story. Mapping the story visually provides a strong support for this. When children have to translate these ideas into sequences of words in grammatically correct sentences in story or non-fiction genres the vocabulary, phrases and sentence structures that they have learned during oral storytelling provide a scaffold. Finally, the process of reviewing and revising their writing is supported when they collaboratively engage in the storytelling process. Effectively, the children are taught to ‘read’ over the story that they have composed when they say it aloud, and identify how far they have satisfied the intended writing goals.


Statutory requirements for writing composition in the current National Curriculum recommend a process that is compatible with the school's approach. For example, children in Year 2 are expected to plan or say aloud what they are going to write, scribe down ideas and new vocabulary, articulate their ideas sentence by sentence, evaluate their writing with peers and teacher and make revisions. They are expected to think aloud when they write and draft and reread. At Lower Key Stage 2, children are expected to discuss writing similar to that they are going to write and borrow from its structure, vocabulary and sentence structure. They are also expected to compose and rehearse writing orally. The schools approach fully supports these requirements.