Epsom Downs Primary School & Children's Cnetre


Our Reading Culture

At Epsom Downs, we use high quality texts to promote a love of reading. During the school day, children from year 1 onwards take part in reading based sessions, appropriate to their age range. Each classroom has a welcoming and well organised book corner. Teachers share a story or poem with their class at the end of each day. Class texts relate to current themes and topics which ensures strong cross-curricular links so that pupils become engrossed in learning and are inquisitive learners. Regular class visits to our Learning Library enable pupils to borrow books linked to their interests or current topic. This stimulates a thirst for learning and knowledge through reading in our pupils.

English Policy 

Reading Approaches

Early Years Foundation Stage

Language and literacy activities are built into the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and are an integral part of all learning alongside personal, social and emotional development and physical development. Activities such as singing, story-telling, craft and outdoor learning help to reinforce development in these skills and increases every child's understanding of the world around them.


Phonological awareness and rhyming activities, singing and listening to stories are considered essential for children’s literacy development. Letters and Sounds, phase 1 is introduced through rhyme time and stories with children.  Phase 2 and beyond is rigorously covered in the Reception year of the Foundation Stage.  An essential part of the Phonics teaching is the blending, segmenting and dictation elements.  Children in the Nursery year of the Foundation stage learn to recognise their name and learn the direction of the letters.  They develop awareness that print carries meaning.  This is developed in the Reception year as children learn all the phonemes and build up a bank of tricky words (Rainbow and Rocket Readers) that they can read, write and spell. This will extend into key stage one from Autumn 2020. Core rhymes and stories are a feature of the literacy learning in the Foundation stage and offer rhyme, rhythm and repetition; prompt cards and prop boxes are being developed to ensure an environment rich in language and words.  This feature extends into year 1.  Practitioners know how important stories are and take great pleasure in reading stories to children (individuals and groups).


Key Stage One and Key Stage Two

Read, Write, Inc


Read, Write, Inc is the programme we use to help children learn to read and spell sounds in words. The books they read link to the sounds that they know. Children in certain year groups will be bringing home Read, Write, Inc Book-Bag books. Children so enjoy the opportunity to share a book with an adult that they know or love.

The reading expectation at Epsom Downs is that children in Rainbow Unit and KS1 will read for 10 minutes a day; those in KS2 will read for 15 minutes a day. Daily reading needs to be recorded in this planner with a comment and signature.


Read Write Inc. Phonics is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy for children aged 4 to 9 that creates fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Interactive lessons full of partner work, role-play and drama integrate phonics with comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary and handwriting. Your child will be re-assessed in reading every 6 to 8 weeks to track his/her progress.


Read Write Inc. Spelling is a 15-minute-a-day programme for Years 2 to 6. Using a proven approach underpinned by phonics, fast–paced lessons and an online subscription, Read Write Inc. Spelling prepares children for the higher demands of the statutory spelling assessments in England. Your child will be assessed in weekly tests throughout the year.

Fresh Start:

Read Write Inc. Fresh Start is a catch-up and intervention programme with proven results for 9 to 13-year-olds still learning to read. A proven pedagogy and step-by-step approach gives students the skills to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension, to spell correctly and compose their ideas for writing step-by-step.

Read Write Inc. parent information

 Fred Talk

 Listening to your child read

Year 1 Phonic Screening Check

Set 1 sounds

Set 2 and 3 sounds

Whole Class Guided Reading:

Guided reading is planned for weekly by class teachers with objectives taken from the national curriculum. Teachers use our assessment mats to select the appropriate assessment focus.

From year 2 upwards, whole class guided reading based around a high-quality text takes place daily.

Individual reading:

Every week, each teacher/ TA in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 hears each child read. This is recorded in home learning planners with targets recorded accordingly. Parents are supported to read with their children at home through the use of regularly changed school books, home-school communication in home learning planners and newsletter updates. TAs are deployed effectively to support children’s reading through different programmes such as Better Reading Partnership. Whenever hearing children read, staff, as well as pupils’ use reading mats to support progress towards targets linked to individual needs. In years 3, 4, 5, 6 teachers hear children read who are below expected attainment.

IDL Spelling:

The IDL Literacy Intervention is a speaking-computer-based multi-sensory system which supports learners to increase their reading and spelling ages. Your child’s login is in this planner.


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

* composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

* vocabulary, grammar and punctuation

* spelling and phonics

* handwriting

Our teaching develops pupils’ competence in all these dimensions. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.

Each week 5 lessons are dedicated to English in which writing plays a part and strong cross curricular links are made where possible.  Children also produce writing when learning through foundation subjects (History, RE, Geography, DT) as well as in Science. 

In Foundation Stage, children begin to develop writing in accordance with the Early Learning Goals and the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage document.  Across the school, there are many more opportunities for children to progress in their writing skills as English is the central to our theme-based, creative curriculum.

At Epsom Downs grammar skills are taught and applied alongside an appropriate genre in a cohesive and creative approach.

 Handwriting Formation Upper Case

 Handwriting Formation Lower Case

 Number Formation 

Reading and writing mats

Reading and writing mats are used to set personal targets. In discussion with the teacher, and from personal reflection, the children select targets to aim for as they work. The achievement of these targets is frequently reviewed and used for assessment purposes in the regular Assertive Mentoring meetings. Children are familiar with their personal targets and use them as a prompt when they work.

These mats are linked to the new curriculum. Links to the mats are above (The ‘Stage’ of a mat refers the year group.)

Recorded on the back of the writing mats is the grammar vocabulary that will be taught and embedded throughout the learning in the year for Stages 3-6.

Reading Mats

Writing Mats

Common exception words and statutory word lists:

In line with the new curriculum, year group spellings have been split into half termly tests. Each list is a focus within the class for a half term and is sent home to parents and accessible on the website. For years 2 to 6 the link to this list is at the top of this page.

 Year 1 & 2 Common Exception Words

 Statutory National Curriculum Spellings

Parental involvement


Every year, workshops are held during the school day where parents can come and work alongside their child focusing on reading and writing.

One-to-one workshops

The literacy leaders (Josie Healy and Rachael Steele) offer one-to-one reading workshops, where the parent watches the specialist teacher’s skills as they read with their child, and then strategies are discussed together  afterwards. To book one of these sessions, phone the office. This is offered to parents who are struggling with supporting their reluctant readers, but also to parents who would like to stretch able readers further.

Book Week

Every year in March (in the week World Book Day falls) the school timetable is based around promoting a love of reading, exposing the children to a variety of different texts and embedding literacy skills across the curriculum. In previous years, we have based Book Week around Roald Dahl, William Shakespeare and Anthony Browne and had a focus on geography, art and science. On the Thursday of Book Week, children and staff dress up as a book character and prizes can be won!