Home Page


At St. Luke’s Primary School, English is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. We aim to develop a child’s love of reading through widespread reading for enjoyment. We promote and encourage children to discover the value of strong communication and the importance of reading and writing in all aspects of their futures. A strong understanding in literacy skills allows children to develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially and thus contribute to and shape society throughout their careers and lives.

Our children are driven to engage with a variety of different texts and genres from Nursery to Year 6. They use their problem solving skills from early in their Literacy learning to decode and later deduce themes from the books they study. Children follow the National Curriculum.


The Teaching of English at St. Luke’s Primary School

In the EYFS, children are exposed to Literacy by listening to, learning and performing nursery rhymes and traditional stories. Phonics teaching is introduced and the beginnings of writing skills are taught.

Throughout Year 1 to Year 6 Literacy is taught through a Whole Book Approach. This is an immersive approach to teaching English, allowing for connections to be made to all other areas of the English curriculum. Each year group is taught via class novels/books that are used by the class teacher to underpin the teaching of all aspects of English - speaking, listening, reading and writing. This allows children to study a genre for deeper understanding before applying their knowledge to create their own written pieces. The book will be linked to other curriculum subjects to foster a cross-curricula approach to learning.


The Whole Book Approach to Literacy


The teaching of a genre takes approximately 5 weeks and follows the teaching sequence below:

Initial assessment piece:

The children write a piece based on the genre they will be learning about. This is unaided and without input. This allows the teacher to plan the learning from the children’s starting points.

Immersion in the text type: Children study an example(s) of a text type so that they can see what a good example looks like. They will pull this apart to understand the genre features and text level objectives (appropriate to their year group). This phase will involve opportunities to teach comprehension skills, vocabulary clarification and drama opportunities to explore the genre. A learning wall will be created for key learning from this stage.

Building towards a writing outcome: Children are taught grammar and sentence level objectives in preparation for their final written outcome. Short writing opportunities (note taking, diary entries, character profiles etc.) allow children to ‘have a go’ with their’ new learning’. Activities will be closely aligned with the studied text plot or content, depending on the genre.

Shared writing:

Children write their first piece of extended writing. This is scaffolded by modelling and shared writing.

The final written outcome:

The children now plan and write their own, independent piece of extended writing. Children will have the opportunity to proof-read and edit their writing to create a final edit for their writing portfolios.



What to expect to see in an English lesson

  • Less direct whole class teaching and more of an emphasis on independent exploration and guided practice for grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Speaking and listening activities.
  • Word-banks and other writing resources readily available to aid children’s understanding and learning.
  • More able children being challenged.
  • Teachers and TAs targeting any children who requires more support, both during the lesson and in Intervention sessions.
  • Children’s work will be marked in lessons where possible with adult support to correct misconceptions and next steps given to deepen and extend learning.
  • Self and Peer assessment: Children are also encouraged to take ownership of the marking process and to assess the next steps in their learning.


What to expect to see in English exercise books.

  • Clear sequencing of learning of text type.
  • Evidence of new learning being applied in extended pieces of writing.
  • Clear evidence of progression and differentiation- more able children doing additional more challenging tasks
  • Where children have received additional adult support or rapid Interventions this will be clearly indicated.
  • Evidence of children self-assessing their progress against targets. Child friendly targets (linked to National Curriculum expectations) are found at the front of each book.
  • End of unit reflections.
  • High presentation expectations.
  • Clear evidence of curriculum coverage




We place a strong emphasis on phonics to read from Nursery to Year 2 because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. Teachers follow the Letters and Sound scheme to deliver the learning. Phonics is taught every morning to ability streamed classes with the support of KS1 TA’s. Children are regularly assessed for progress to ensure all children are continuously taught to their individual needs. Children in lower KS2 who did not pass their phonics screening at the end of KS1 are given additional phonics support.


All children from Nursery to Year 3 take home a reading levelled book appropriate to their needs to practice their reading at home with parents and family. This also applies to children in Years 4 – 6 who need additional reading support.


Reciprocal Reading

All children from Years 1-6 have a time-tabled half hour daily Reciprocal Reading lesson. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher and their peers through Reciprocal Reading using a rich range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Children are exposed to texts with challenging or new vocabulary and words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.

Encouraging an appreciation and love of reading at home and school

All St Luke’s pupils from Year 1 to 6 are enrolled onto the borough-wide Islington Road Map. This is a reading for pleasure reading scheme designed to encourage children to read widely and often for both pleasure and information. All titles cover a range of genres from classics to new writers, both local and national. Children are encouraged to read these books both at school and home and are incentivised by certificates celebrating reading milestones.

In addition to this, all children from nursery to Year 6 are subscribed to ‘Bug Club’ an e-reading platform which caters for children with a preference for a digital platform.


Across the school, children have access to libraries with a rich variety of fiction and non-fiction to help develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live.


Reading volunteers

At lunchtimes a team of reading volunteers from local partners and supporters read with children identified as benefiting from a reading mentor. Not only do the children receive reading support but they have quality ‘me time’ with an additional dedicated adult to explore topics that arise from their reading.


Writing Schemes


For spelling we follow the No nonsense spelling scheme because it supports the National Curriculum expectations and provides suitable teaching sequences and guidance. The scheme is easy to adapt into the Whole Book Approach teaching sequence.


We follow the Nelson Handwriting scheme across the school and teach short 15 minute lessons weekly to enable children to form and join letters correctly.


Pre-Unit and end of Unit assessments


Children write an unaided pre-unit writing piece to inform teacher planning. Strengths and weaknesses will be identified and teachers will plan the unit accordingly to prioritise learning needs.


At the end of teaching a unit, children reflect on their learning, stating what activities they enjoyed doing and learning; and any areas where they feel they would like additional practice and consolidation. This information gathered feeds into future planning and lessons to meet children’s targets and needs.





The children and staff agree that:

  • Reading helps you achieve your goals
  • Reading will help you improve your vocabulary
  • Reading will help increase your knowledge
  • Reading will help you with different jobs and careers
  • Reading will help you understand values and how to behave
  • Reading can inspire you
  • Reading can make you laugh and make you happy
  • Reading is fun


What have we already done and continue to do to raise standards in Reading

  • Staff INSET:
  • Reciprocal Reading relaunched yearly – this ensures that there is consistency across the school. In addition to INSET experienced members of staff also model RR to new teacher.
  • Gifted, Talented and More Able training re: identification of pupils with potential and resources
  • Additional Phonics training year 1 and 2 teachers and support staff
  • Vocabulary INSET with Speech and Language therapist
  • Young Readers programme (supported by Slaughter and May) – encouraging book ownership for all children and a love of reading
  • City and Islington College tutors for key Y6 pupils
  • Philosophy for Children (P4C) is not being taught throughout the school from EYFS to Y6 which gives children the opportunity to think, enquire, and express their opinion
  • Daily one to one reading for Pupil Premium and SEN underachieving children
  • World Book Day celebrated every year with dressing up,
  • Themed whole school activities such as Shakespeare workshops and performance poetry
  • First News for children in KS2 and comprehension activities used throughout the school.
  • Reading mentors through business partnerships in Y1, Y2, Y3, Y5 and Y6.
  • Islington Reading Roadmap launched in December 2016 for Years 5 and 6 – pupils read a wide range of genres and work towards goals and rewards for completing and reviewing books.
  • Parent workshops to promote importance of reading at home and to engage parents.
  • Two book fairs annually promote a joy of reading at home.
  • Additional teachers in Y2 and Y 6 during Reciprocal Reading time so more groups have adult led reading.
  • Continue the embed Reading Recovery strategies throughout school –research proven
  • Research schemes, eg Read Write Inc., to see if they are appropriate for the needs of the school
  • Regular monitoring of phonics, reading and listening to children read
  • Bug Club launched across the school in 2015 – a digital reading resource which engages children in reading.
  • Digi smart - 10 week reading intervention programme for Y5 pupils



Standards in Reading over time- KS2 Results:

Year Ending






National Age Related Expectations






School ARE










100+ scale

National Greater Depth/equivalent






School GD




68% (70%)




KS1 Results:

Year Ending






National - at standard






School - at standard

60% L2b+

94% L2b+

86% L2b+





National - above






School - above







There are two years where reading data is low over the last 5 years: 2012 in Key Stage 1 and 2016 in KS2 – this is the same cohort of pupils