Our Vision for English

The Bishop Martin English curriculum is built around the National Curriculum, enriched to reflect our children and our local community.

The overarching aim for English is to promote the high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment, drawing upon the wider curriculum. This, in turn, helps build a rich curriculum where intent and implementation leads to the impact and improved outcomes for children.

As part of the English curriculum, children develop their skills in Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, which also includes spelling and handwriting. English is taught explicitly through daily lessons and is built upon throughout the wider curriculum. In addition, we have 20-minute daily whole class reading sessions (Read, Enjoy and Discover) which focus on teaching the key reading skills linked to the content domain areas.

Read to Write - Class Readers

At Bishop Martin, we work hard to make sure that children have a love of books and literature and we're very proud that so many of our children enjoy reading. Each class, from EYFS to Year 6, will study a different class text each half-term and this is supported by the Read to Write programme. Thes high-quality texts are used throughout our English lessons and, where possible, link to other curriculum areas.

Read to Write (Literacy Counts) provides high-quality teaching of writing through high-quality literature. From Reception to Year 6, these detailed units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities within and across the curriculum. They also provide clear, sequential episodes of learning; contextualised spelling, grammar and punctuation; wider reading for the wider curriculum; curriculum enrichments for all year groups; model texts linked to writing outcomes and a wealth of supporting resources. Our current class texts are:

Reception – The Extraordinary Gardener

Year 1 -  The Secret of Black Rock 

Year 2 - Jack and the Baked Beanstalk

Year 3 - Seen and Not Heard

Year 4 – The Journey

Year 5 - The Promise

Year 6 - Shackleton's Journey

The Bishop Martin Reading Spine

The Bishop Martin Reading Spine is a core of books that create a living library inside a child’s mind. It is a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story.

Selected by literary expert Pie Corbett, we are now using this Reading Spine to:

  • Bring reading to life with a classic read aloud programme
  • Foster a love of reading with the best-loved books for Reception to Year 6
  • Deepen comprehension and teach drama and writing by drawing on the core books

Great stories build our language because around 75% of vocabulary comes from reading. Our common bank of stories aim to inspire and enthuse children to develop their imagination and equip them with language. All of these texts are availble for children in school and displayed for them to select and read over the course of the year. 

Please see the attached ‘Bishop Martin Reading Spine’ document for more information relating to these high-quality, recommended texts for each year group (Reception to Year 6). We would ask that all children at Bishop Martin read these books over the course of their respective year.

Early Reading and Phonics

We believe that high quality teaching of Phonics is the key to developing independent readers and this is given the highest priority. We want ‘every child to be a reader’ and we implement a rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics. 

Phonics is taught daily as a discrete lesson and we use Read Write Inc. as a core scheme to teach synthetic phonics which is multi-sensory, exciting and engaging. The Read Write Inc. sessions follow a set structure with a focus on reading, spelling and handwriting. During the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children develop their phonic knowledge and skills and apply these in both reading and spelling.  As developing readers, children are encouraged to use a wider range of strategies to aid decoding of text and to enhance their understanding of material across a range of genre.

Please see the Read Write Inc. - Parent guide to books on our Reading and Phonics page for how to help your child access the RWI books at home. You may also wish to view the links below to see how you can support your child at home:



As well as this, Phonics Play is a website packed with interactive phonics games and many different resources to help your child use their phonics skills in reading.

Home Reading Books

Children from Year 2 to Year 6 choose and read books linked to the Accelerated Reader programme as their home reader. Each book has been carefully selected for individual understanding of reading comprehension and children select these according to their own, individual ZPDs (Zone of Proximal Development). This is based on an initial reading assessment children complete at the beginning of each term, via the Accelerated Reader website (Star Reading assessment).


myON is a fantastic digital library with over a thousand eBooks for your child to choose from. These books are also linked to the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme that we already use in school, allowing your child to select age and ability appropriate books through their ZPD. This can be linked to your child’s AR account when first logging in, using the ‘Connect Now’ option located at the top of the home page. Please see this video for further instruction.

Children who are following the Read Write Inc. Programme take home a copy of the book that they have been reading in school. The children read the book three times over a week in school. For the first read, the children are focusing on accuracy; the second read, the children are focusing on fluency and the third read the children need to use their best 'Storyteller' voice. By the time that children take their book home, they are celebrating the progress they have made with their reading. The children will change their books when instructed by adult. Children are to bring these books in everyday so they can read their book to an adult if necessary or read if directed by a teacher. 

In addition to this, children following Read Write Inc. across EYFS and KS1 will also take home a story book of their choosing to enjoy at home. Although developing children to become fluent and confident readers is a priority, we believe the children should still also be sharing stories rich in language and creativity.

Reading Reward Scheme

This year, to further encourage and celebrate the home reading of all children, we are relaunching our whole school reading reward scheme. This new scheme is Bishop Martin's ‘Reading Rainbow’.

Why have we introduced this scheme?

Reading at home is one of the most important ways in which you can help your child make good progress. At school, we teach the skills they need to decode and comprehend words daily but, to consolidate these skills and grow as confident readers, they will also need lots of practise. Children who read with their families develop these skills much more quickly and develop a love of reading that can last a lifetime. At Bishop Martin, we recognise the incredibly important role that families have and want to support this in every way we can, and we hope the ‘Reading Rainbows’ scheme will really motivate your child to read at home.

How does it work?

The scheme is very simple and is designed to celebrate all of the amazing reading that is being completed at home already. All children have to do is read at home 5 nights out of 7, as they have previously been doing, and have their reading record signed by an adult. In some cases, older children may wish to leave a comment in their own reading record, and this is also encouraged – after all, it is their reading!

Every 4 weeks of reading 5 nights, children will be able to earn a different colour and move through the colours of their ‘Reading Rainbow’. Children who have completed their rainbow will then also be able to achieve our Silver, Gold and Platinum rewards, receiving additional prizes such as personalised bookmarks and book tokens. You child will be given a blank ‘Reading Rainbow’ for their reading record, which can be coloured in when they earn that particular colour. 


In order to ensure coverage of the statutory requirements for the National Curriculum, we follow the Spelling Shed spelling programme. All children have been provided with individual logins for this online programme and will have spellings assigned to them on a weekly basis. They will then use the Spelling Shed platform to practise these both at home and in school. In conjunction with Spelling Shed, we use the Spelling BAM and Babcock LPD Primary ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ resources to support the relevant spelling rules for each year group.

Children take home spellings which apply to the spelling rule they have been learning in school. There are weekly tests to assess the progress that children are making towards these spellings. It is the teacher’s judgement on how long a class spends on a spelling rule and how many spellings they take home to learn.

Please also see our 'Inspiring a Love of Reading' page for more useful information and resources relating to reading! 

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