English is taught on a daily basis and sessions include shared reading and writing with spoken language opportunities being given a high priority.  In English lessons we layer activities throughout the unit in order to create a comprehensive sequence of learning that builds on skills as they are acquired.  In our guided handwriting lessons children are taught to form and orientate letters correctly as well as to position them and gain consistency in letter size.

In Years 3 and 4, lessons are planned for and delivered at the appropriate level for the child.  English lessons include shared reading or writing sessions followed by group guided activities as well as the chance for pupils to show independence through a weekly “Independent Write”.  Punctuation, grammar, handwriting and spoken language are an important part of our lessons with children frequently engaging in drama activities to enhance their written work.


Children change their Home Reading Books weekly, but have daily reading opportunities within class.  The school does not follow one particular reading scheme, but does use book banding to level the books in school and ensure consistency and progression in our reading materials.  Reading books that we use come from a variety of schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, PM Readers, Dandelion Readers, Pearson’s Bug Club.

Parents are asked to support their children in reading each day and spellings are given weekly.  Key Stage 1 children read in school each week either individually or as part of a Guided Reading session.

In Key Stage 2 the reading skills required by the children are taught by the class teacher during the Literacy lesson rather than in Guided Reading sessions, providing the children with an in-depth tutorial on how to use these skills to improve their reading.

In Year 4 pupils and staff work closely with schools within the Catholic Partnership to organise English events and transition projects.

Please see below the book banding information for reading at St Thomas More:

Reading Banding Letter

Reading targets – pink level

Reading targets – red level

Reading targets – yellow level

Reading targets – blue level

Reading targets – green level

Reading targets – orange level

Reading targets – turquoise level

Reading targets – purple level

Reading targets – gold level

Reading targets – white level

Reading targets – lime level



Our children are taught daily discrete phonics lessons.  Within the classes the children are grouped according to their abilities and lessons are planned for and delivered at the appropriate phonics phase for the child.  We follow the Optima and Letters and Sounds schemes when planning for phonics.


Weekly spellings are given in addition to on-going phonics in Key Stage 1 and links to the National Curriculum in Key Stage 2.  Children are asked to learn spellings at home for a weekly spelling test.  The School uses the No Nonsense Spelling scheme.

Additional Support

Additional support is given to pupils who have specific literacy or English needs in the form of small intervention group work.  These groups may target phonics, comprehension skills, language skills and acquisition, handwriting, grammar and other narrative skills.

Interventions used:

  • Rapid Reading;
  • Language Link;
  • Reading Recovery;
  • Precision Teaching.