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Longfleet English Team

English is lead by a team who love reading and writing and feel strongly that all the children at Longfleet should develop skills and the love of reading and writing. With this aim in mind we support teachers in making lessons enjoyable as well as developing each individual in their class.

We are:

Emma Starling - Deputy Head - overseeing English across the school

Gill Taylor - Year 6 leader with a focus on supporting the use of Talk for Writing to develop writing across the school and Accelerated Reader in KS2 to challenge and reward our independent readers.

Lorraine Percy - Year 3 leader and focusses on developing a clear and supported reading journey through the school and in particular supporting our younger readers.


Learning to read and write at Longfleet

In the first instance, we teach your child how to read and write using phonics.  Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes, or letter groups).


At Longfleet, we use the phonics resource 'Letters and Sounds' to help your child learn. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.


You will mostly hear your children talking about Phases 2 and 3 in Reception and Phases 3, 4 and 5 in Year 1. Their phonics learning, however, will continue to be applied in Year 2 and throughout their journey at school so it's an important one to get to grips with. 

How to pronounce the phonics sounds

This brilliant video tells you how to pronounce all of the sounds in Phase 2 and Phase 3 phonics.

When your child moves onto Phase 5 in Year 1, the sounds are pronounced in the same way as these ones but they are alternative spellings e.g. /aw/ and /au/ in Phase 5 would sound the same as /or/ in this video.

Longfleet 'Must Read' Books

We have invested heavily in books for our children at school because it is so important that children love what the read even when they're just starting to read sounds.  We have an extensive collection of books for children to read at home using, mostly, Oxford Reading Tree books (including the Biff and Chip series, Alien Adventures, Project Code X etc).  We also support children in developing a love of reading for pleasure. For that reason, we have devised a 'Must Read' list for every year group.  The children will encounter these books in class time:  some will be read to them, some they will work on in groups, some will kick-start writing and some are read just for the joy of hearing a fabulous story.  Click on the links below to see the book list for each year group.



Reading at home with your child

Reading with a child can be hugely rewarding as you see them grasping how reading works and engaging with books.  We see our children grow in confidence until they are reading independently and making their own reading choices.  Of course, sometimes reading with a child can be harder work - if they find it difficult, can't seem to engage with reading and it can be hard to make a routine so that reading becomes part of daily life.


Our top tips are:

1. Make reading part of your daily routine.  For example, when we are ready for bed we have reading time - you read from your reading book to me and then I'll read you a story.  This needs to happen every day otherwise your child will become an expert negotiator in using this time for something else. 


2.  Take the pressure off a bit.  If they're struggling to read today you could:

  • be word hunters - as them to spot a certain letter/word on the page as fast as they can and point to it
  • take it in turns to read a line / sentence - when it's your turn put expression into it and make it sound fun, model 'sounding out' words and being pleased with yourself when you get it right! 
  • choose a book they've read before and read from this one instead
  • choose an easier 'baby book' and have them read it to a younger sibling / pet / teddy
  • read to them and ask questions about the story so they're still engaging from the text without actually having to decode the words themselves
  • (don't tell anyone I shared this tip) put a smartie / minstrel / m&m  under every third page (or whatever) and when they get to it they eat the sweet - put one in for yourself too: you've earned it!
  • The key thing is there is always time set aside for reading.  Don't say 'you're not in the mood so let's not bother today.' Try some of the approaches above.


3.  Make sure the book they're reading is engaging for them.  (My child came home with a book about machines which she simply wasn't interest in and didn't want to read.  I know she likes fairy tales and books with animals in.  My son would love a machines book!)  Do talk to their teacher if they have strong reading preferences and they'll do their best to pick books to tempt them.  


4. Make the experience as fun / cosy as possible

  • read in bed or a comfy chair and make sure that for ten minutes or so they have your undivided attention (even if this means tele time for other siblings in another room).
  • get excited about the book they've got.  
  • talk about the pictures too -do this before starting to read the words. 'Oh I can see Biff has a key in her hand - I wonder where they're going this time?' 
  • get excited about the words they get right - 'well done, you sounded it out / you blended it and got the word right / you didn't even know that word last week and now you've got it!'  They want to impress you.
  • don't worry about what they're not getting right so much.  It's ok to say 'try again / you got these sounds right but try this one again / I'll read this word as it's tricky / you do the start sound and I'll do the rest.'
  • share their achievements with the rest of the family so they know how proud of them you are
  • don't stop reading stories to them even when they're reading themselves


5.  Come into school and ask for help if you need it.  We love reading and we want to share that love with you and your child.  We know it's sometimes hard and we have lots of ideas and support to offer if / when it gets tricky.


Home Reading in Reception and Key Stage 1


The Longfleet 'Go Wild' Reading Challenge isn't just about learning to read but to encourage a love and enthusiasm for reading in our youngest children. As a school, we expect our pupils to read at home with an adult at least three times a week in order to get the very best out of their learning. Each time your child reads, write it in their reading record book and watch as they make their way through the pages to work towards receiving a special prize from Mr Helm. For every two pages filled, your child will be able to colour in a WILD letter until they spell out the whole word. Then, on completion, they will be able to collect their Go Wild badge. There are many to collect - can you get them all?    

Writing assessment sheets - one for each year group

We assess your child's writing all the time and we record an assessment for them each term.  We use the writing sheets above.  There is one for each year group and you'll see there are a list of things we want our children to be able to do in each year group.  The statements are from the National Curriculum and we have arranged them to make the process of assessment simple.  These sheets are shared and discussed with the children from the end of year 3 and upwards.  All children are expected to be working at 'professional' level.  Children working higher than age expectations are working at 'expert' level.  In addition there are 'bare necessities' for each year group which we have written to ensure that every child, including those working below their age group, are focussed in on what we believe are the fundamental aspects of writing. 

Jack and the Flumflum Tree

Still image for this video
For Book Week, the whole school came together to re-tell the story of Jack and the Flumflum Tree - it was lots of fun to do and we hope you'll agree that it's lots of fun to watch too!