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English at Hamstel Junior School

The development of children’s skills for reading and writing is a high priority in the school.



Within specific English lessons, lessons across the curriculum, guided reading sessions and in targeted interventions where appropriate, we focus on developing three areas of reading:


Becoming an expert decoder

Reading for understanding

Reading for pleasure




Each classroom has a book corner and the school has a well-stocked library which all children can access to promote and develop their individual tastes as readers. Both playgrounds have a Reading Beach Hut which the children can access at lunchtime. The library is also open to pupils at lunchtime and parents are encouraged to visit the library after school with their children to help them choose books to read at home. Our library staff are on hand to help parents and children make choices and to answer questions. Our library also has a Share a Story area where parents can read with their children. Each child may take two books out to read (2 fiction books corresponding to that pupil’s book colour or 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction).


All children should practise the reading skills they have been taught in school and they can best do this at home with a family member. Even older and more fluent children will benefit from being heard on a daily basis. Any reading that happens at home should be recorded in the Home School Diary and there are instructions for how to do this in the front of the diary.


To further encourage reading as a pleasurable activity, the school runs regular competitions related to reading, organises termly author visits, book sales and hosts days dedicated just to reading.




Expert readers can become expert writers. The school takes a Talk for Writing approach to English which uses high quality texts as models for children’s own writing. Each half term, children explore a selection of poetry, a work of fiction and a related non-fiction text. Children are encouraged to be creative in their ideas but there is also a clear emphasis on acquiring the grammar skills necessary to communicate those ideas. Presentation skills are an important part of communicating ideas; children are taught to use a fluent, joined handwriting style. 



Spelling is also a priority. Each week, the children explore a spelling pattern or rule and are asked to learn the spelling of sets of words as determined by the National Curriculum; details of these patterns, rules and the lists of the words the children need to learn are in the Home School Diary.


Sir Linkalot Spelling App

The school uses ‘Sir Linkalot’ to help children to learn to spell using quick, memorable animations and quizzes. It is especially helpful for those tricky non-phonetic, patternless words.  Parents can find out more by clicking on the following link:


We use the app with the children in school and parents can also access the app at home on any device.  Go to the website or download the ‘Sir Linkalot’ app from an online store and tap on the log icon (to log in).





Further Information


Find out more about what children learn in each year group.