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Hensall Community PrimarySchoolHigh expectations for all, by all.

Welcome toHensall Community PrimarySchoolHigh expectations for all, by all.



For detailed information about how we teach reading in Reception and Y1, please return to Curriculum and click on Phonics and Early Reading

Reading and Writing at Hensall


At Hensall, we understand that reading is a key life skill. By the time they leave Hensall, children will be able to access texts confidently to discover what they need to know about the world and also enjoy regularly reading for pleasure. We put books at the heart of our writing approach too, so that children have an effective model to guide them. These books are carefully selected so that they not only showcase good quality children's literature but also contain themes which help to teach children about our core school values.


The intent behind our approach to reading is to:

  • Foster a love of reading
  • Ensure that all children see themselves as readers, who can fluently and confidently access fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts
  • Equip children with the skills to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary and material
  • Extend children's horizons by exploring books which reflect their own lives, but also the lives of others


Reading is implemented with a cross-curricular approach. Children understand where to go to find out more about a topic and are able to recommend a wide range of books to their peers. They understand that success in maths may depend on them reading and considering the question and context carefully. Through our reading and poetry spines, children explore a range of classic and contemporary children's literature and enjoy discussing life from their own, and others' points of view.  We also use a range of quality books to teach, structure and inspire our young writers. Through study of these texts, children understand the essential links between reading and writing and how a range of grammatical structures can engage readers.


How we teach reading

Reading is taught daily in a variety of comprehension activities. This might include:

  • an exploration of the book which is being used to inspire writing and often links to other curriculum areas
  • an exploration of the book or story which is being used for whole class story time
  • an exploration of the current class poem
  • a separate text, studied in a small group reading session
  • short burst comprehension activities designed to practise a particular skill

Whichever activity the children are engaged in, we aim to teach essential skills through a 'reciprocal reading' approach. Reading lessons include a focus on the following skills

  • Retrieval (Can we skim a text and locate sections which contain key information?)
  • Predicting (Do you predict this text will be fiction or non-fiction? What are we going to read about in the next section? What do you think the character will do next?)
  • Clarifying (Which words and phrases do we need help to find the meaning of? How can we clarify meaning? What other words could the author have used here?)
  • Questioning (Can we ask ourselves and each other questions to learn more about the text?)
  • Summarising (Can we express the key ideas of the book or section in a few sentences, reflecting on what we have read?)
  • Prosody (Can we read with expression and appropriate emphasis?)
  • Inferring (Can we read between the lines to suggest why characters might have acted as they did?)


Teachers regularly use drama techniques to engage children with the text, allowing them to explore themes, situations, setting and characters.


In addition to these lessons Hensall readers:

  • Have a dedicated story time each day
  • Regularly learn poems by heart
  • Have access to high quality books selected from the school library
  • Have regular visits from poets, authors and storytellers
  • Have an annual celebration for World Book Day


In order to encourage children to practise reading at home and to read for pleasure we operate a highly successful reading challenge. Children receive a stamp every time they read at home and can work towards certificates, a badge and even a reading trophy.


The impact of our approach is that children are enthusiastic readers who delight in discussing books and recommending them to their friends. They use books as a magic carpet, taking them on journeys whenever they need to escape or explore. They understand that reading is the essential key which will help them stay safe and make sense of the world.

Curriculum Progression Document

How we teach writing


The intent behind our approach to writing is to:

  • Make clear links with reading so that children have the best models for their work
  • Ensure that children leave Hensall able to write in a range of genres in an engaging, clear and grammatically correct way
  • Enable children to tailor their writing for a range of audiences and purposes.


When implementing our writing approach, teachers select a core text in which children are immersed for a half term. The staff then arrange experiences, visitors and trips which allow children to explore the themes and context of the book, developing the confidence to write with authority and enthusiasm.


In class, teachers model daily so that children understand the characteristics of different genres and how to structure their sentences effectively. Grammar is taught in context and revisited regularly across the school to ensure children have mastered the skills. Children are introduced to increasingly complex concepts as they progress through the year groups. Every writing lesson is keenly focused on improving and widening children's vocabulary, enabling them to make the right word choice at the right time.


Displays, vocabulary boards and word charts support children as they write. Time is given to help children plan, often using storyboards to help them structure pieces. After writing, children are given time to proofread their own work, identifying errors and editing before they consider their work to be 'finished'!


Spelling is taught discreetly in a daily session and spelling rules and exceptions are woven through the writing lessons so that children learn to apply what they have learnt in context. We use Spelling Shed to support the practise of these spellings at home. See the link below for support in accessing Spelling Shed.


Handwriting is explicitly taught with a focus on handwriting families. Teachers model the formation stating specific start and end point and ensure time is given to practise the letter formation of similar groups e.g. I, t, l. Children then begin to use leading lines and joins as they move across KS2. We hold high expectations of handwriting in all lessons linking back to letter formation frequently.


The impact of our approach is that children see themselves as writers who can confidently and competently communicate with others. They also recognise that writing is an essential tool for organising their own thoughts and expressing their unique self in society.