At Halsnead we want our children to become enthusiastic and engaged readers, and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading.

In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is understanding and comprehension. 

Home reading and reading for pleasure

Developing readers will bring home levelled books and a picture book each week. Independent readers will bring home self-selected books from their book corner. Please spend time reading with and talking to your child about what they read, and help them to use their reading diaries or reading journal  to record their enjoyment of reading. 


At Halsnead, phonics is taught daily to all children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage One. We use the RWInc programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds. 

The children are taught to read words by blending, which means saying each sound and then pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.

At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words. We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practise reading them every day. 


At Halsnead, we use  a core text approach to plan quality written outcomes. This high quality literature is used to engage and inspire the pupils, and provide rich models of writing for them to imitate in their own independent writing, through style, voice and language structure.

We begin the each unit of work with the first stage of the writing process - inspire, immerse and analyse, with the over the unit of work spent on planning, quality written outcomes, editing then publishing. Children are not expected to produce a whole written outcome in one lesson, but rather build up to it over time. Children use cursive handwriting to publish their learning.

All classrooms at Halsnead have an English Working Wall which provides scaffolds and models for the pupils’ writing, including higher order vocabulary, examples of a range of sentence types, and models of the quality written outcome that the children are working towards. Theworking walls are updated continuously over the half term to support pupil learning.


At Halsnead, continuous cursive script is taught from Year 1 onwards through handwriting sessions. In Nursery and Reception, pre-cursive script is taught. Attention is drawn to capitalisation and spelling during the session, as well as to the correct starting point, letter formation and join.