English is made up of speaking and listening, writing and reading.  At St Martin’s we use a range of teaching strategies including the Power of Reading Project and Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach as tools to make English engaging.

Click here fore our English curriculum

Click here for our English Policy

Speaking and Listening – Speaking & listening permeates every element of school life.  A key strength of our curriculum is in the time dedicated across the school to performance in front of audiences, particularly with our regular class assemblies which parents and carers attend.  A crucial element of Talk for Writing is story mapping and retelling familiar stories using actions and pictures.

Writing – Teachers plan rich and varied writing tasks, which often relate to the topic being studied at the time.  Pupils engage in a writing task each week to improve their writing stamina and enable them to edit and improve their learning.

Phonics & Reading – At St Martin’s we are passionate about reading and we endeavour to make sure that all our children develop a love of reading and that every child leaves us as a reader.  We use the ‘Power of Reading’ and ‘Talk for Writing’ projects as a basis to promote reading and high quality English work in the school.  Central to our approach is the teaching of systematic phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’. Daily, discrete high quality teaching alongside effective assessment and tracking helps to ensure that children meet the ambitious reading targets that are set for them.

We have a colour-banded system incorporating a range of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree and Ginn.

Click here for our phonics curriculum

Websites and resources

Below are some great websites and resources that you can use to support your child’s learning at home:

Early Years and Key Stage 2 parents please have a look at this video for tips and techniques on reading to children.

Here is a guide for how to support your child with their reading!

Oxford Owl – a great website for free e-books and support with phonics AND maths!

Phonics Play – has a number of great games to help your child practise their phonics.

At St Martin’s we use a range of reading schemes to support the teaching of reading, including:

Dandelion, Read, Write Inc, Project X,  Oxford Reading Tree, Ginn, All Aboard and Rigby Star

All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting book corners for children to sit and read, and we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children.  By the time children leave us in year 6 they have read many books by many significant authors.

Guided reading is a daily occurrence throughout the school and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama, extended writing opportunities and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.

Our reading curriculum is primarily delivered in two ways: through ‘guided reading’ (from Foundation) and through reading-focused lessons.  During these sessions, children are taught the key skills of: retrieval, inference, structure, language choice, purpose/viewpoint and context.

At every stage of a child’s life, reading should be pleasurable and we believe that time should be devoted at school and home to ‘reading for pleasure’. During curriculum time throughout the week, children have the opportunity to read books of their own choice, which they take home, read and discuss. This is key to the development and enjoyment of reading.

Throughout our school, learning is planned in a cross curricular way and we routinely use books as our starting point for a topic. Using a high quality text as a basis for learning really engages the children and helps to develop quality writing as well as stimulating learning in other areas of the curriculum.

Reading Ponds


All classes have a reading “pond” in their class – as you can see these take on a number of themes based on class names or topics.

When a child reads daily, this will be recorded, once they have read five times they will be moved on to the five on their reading display, then 10, 15 and so on until they reach the termly target.  Once they reach the termly target, children will be added to the whole school STAR READER board and at the end of term, all pupils on the star reader board will be entered into a prize draw.  One pupil from lower school and one from upper school will be selected to win a book voucher!

Children are expected to read 3-4 times a week to enable their reading skills to develop at expected progress.  The reading pond targets are aspirational and are based in 5 reads per week.

Here are some examples of reading ponds around the school:



Click here for Kent’s Tracking Statements for Reading and Writing.