During the early years, much of the focus is to develop confident readers: mainly using the phonics approach. Crags follows a programme called: Letters and Sounds which helps pupils see the relationship between printed letters and the sounds they make. Decoding is the ability to read words aloud by identifying the letter patterns and matching them to sounds. Once children are able to ‘decode,’ they can then start to make sense of the words and sentences in context. Watch out for hard-to-decode words such as ‘one’ and ‘the’. These just have to be learned by heart.

As children move into and through Key Stage 1, the curriculum intends that almost all children will secure the basic skills of decoding so that they can become fluent readers. As their reading confidence grows, they can begin to write their own ideas down and infer how characters are feeling and deduce from the text.  In Year 1 children will access a Phonics Screening Check, a National Test that is reported on at the end of the year.

At the end of Year 2, all children will sit the National Curriculum Tests for Key Stage 1. These will include two short reading tests.

In lower Key Stage 2 – Years 3 and 4 - your child will build on their work from KS1 to become more independent in both their reading and their writing. Most children will be confident at decoding most words – or will have extra support to help them to do so – and they will be able to use their reading to support their learning about other subjects.

They will begin to meet a wider range of writing contexts, including both fiction and non-fiction styles and genres.

Some common words, such as ‘went’ and ‘said’ can often be replaced by more specific words that give a sense of the action, such as ‘raced’ or ‘yelled’. You can also take opportunities to look at words like this that crop up in books you read with your child, considering how the choice of word affects your understanding of a story.

In upper Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6 - your child will increasingly meet a wider range of texts and types of writing, and will be encouraged to use their skills in a broader range of contexts. Their knowledge of grammar will also increase as they prepare for the National Curriculum Tests to be taken in the summer term of Year 6. Children will take a reading test of about one hour, a grammar and punctuation test of about forty-five minutes, and a spelling test of twenty words. These will be sent away for marking, with the results coming back before the end of the year. Your child’s teacher will also make an assessment of whether or not your child has reached the expected standard by the end of the Key Stage.


At Crags, we believe the main purpose of Reading should be for enjoyment and pleasure. If children are enjoying what they are reading, then we believe that this will become a gateway to their learning.

The 2 Year Provision is where the journey to becoming a fluent reader begins for most of our children at Crags Community School. Here, we immerse our children in new vocabulary, give them many opportunities to listen to a variety of stories, poems and rhymes and it is where the teaching of phonics begins.

By the time children at Crags leave Year 6, we aim for children to be fluent and expressive readers using skills to decode unfamiliar vocabulary, understand the meaning of new words and comprehend what they have read.

Reading gives children access to a broad and balanced curriculum that prioritises the use of high quality literature. Our aim is that children will develop and widen their vocabulary choices and enthuse an interest for their individual reading. Children will develop fluency with their reading and build stamina so that they are able to read longer texts and show a good understanding of what they have read.

At Crags, we promote and teach these reading behaviours:

  • Enjoyment
  • Commitment
  • Engagement
  • Stamina
  • Confidence
  • Fluency

Our curriculum will:

  • Teach Comprehension skills through the Crag Characters.
  • Lessons will develop vocabulary by using challenging texts that introduce new words.
  • Promote shared, echo and individual reading to increase fluency.
  • Promote partner talk and individual thinking.
  • Expose the children to a selection of high quality literature -These extracts are chosen with careful thought to their content, vocabulary and to then encourage the children to then go on and read the book independently for pleasure.
  • Teach about the lives of important people and aspects of the wider curriculum through reading
  • Choose books that teach diversity and life in other cultures.


At Crags, writing is an integral part of our curriculum and it is our aim by the time the children leave Year 6 that they will be independent and fluent writers. Our curriculum is designed with reading and writing at the core and all children are provided with opportunities to develop and apply their writing across other subject areas.

Teachers use the National Curriculum and school progression grids to plan a unit that encompasses spelling, punctuation and grammar. These lessons build towards a piece of writing which showcases pupils' acquired knowledge, skills and understanding.  We tailor our curriculum to meet the needs and interests of our pupils, choosing texts or subject areas to drive the writing curriculum to inspire, motivate and establish pupil enjoyment and engagement in the subject.

Our curriculum is:

  • Broad and balanced.
  • Adaptable to meet the needs and interests of all pupils.
  • Uses different ways to stimulate children’s writing such as: visits, drama or experiences. 
  • Encourages children to write for a range of purpose and audiences.
  • Designed to show progression through year groups and through genres.
  • Lessons will teach new vocabulary as well as embedding vocabulary found in reading.
  • Spelling, Punctuation and grammar is taught explicitly or as part of the unit plan.
  • Handwriting is taught using the Sheffield Cursive scheme