Bishop Aldhelm's CE

Primary School

Loved by God; United in Learning


English Overview

At Bishop Aldhelm’s C.E. Primary School, we believe that English and communication are key life skills and that it is our role, through the English curriculum, to help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language.  Through a love of reading that is embedded within our school, we strive to help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.

Aims and Objectives:

As a school, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading both across the curriculum and at home. As a school, we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Phonics and Reading

At Bishop Aldhelm's Primary School we give a high priority to the teaching of phonics and everyday we will teach phonics as a separate session.   We adopt the synthetic phonics approach through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. This just means that each unknown word is sounded out and then blended together in order to read the word.  The scheme teaches the sounds in an order which allows them to quickly begin to put sounds together to read words.  Alongside the skills of blending (putting sounds together to read) and segmenting (breaking words down to spell them), the children are also taught exception words that cannot be sounded out, such as 'was' or 'me'. We call these words 'tricky words' and they learn to read and to spell these from memory within each phase.

The Year R phonics curriculum teaches children the first letter sounds in manageable groups, based on the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are then taught to read and then write simple words using these sounds. By the end of Year R, all the children we aim for all children to be working securely in Phase 4.  In our Year R parent partnerships we teach parents how we deliver phonics within the curriculum and model to them the skill of blending and segmenting. 

The children in Year 1 continue with daily phonics practise, following the Letters and Sounds programme. Year 1 staff prepare and rapidly move children into Phase 5 on to learning alternative spellings/sounds for the sounds they know and begin to look at common spelling patterns- spelling plurals, suffixes –ed endings and –ing endings.  The national phonics screen is taken by all children in year 1 during a specified week in June; and any children who did not take the test or did not pass the test in year 1 will retake it again in year 2.

The children in Year 2 continue to follow the Letters and Sounds programme and the main focus is on supporting children’s spelling strategies. Children will be taught the many different rules for spelling plurals, and adding prefixes and suffixes to words.

Reading and early phonics are instrumental in working closely together to ensure our children develop secure reading skills.  We ensure our books our fully decodable and are given to the children at the correct phase of phonics they are working at.  Alongside this skill they are taught how use the text to answer comprehension questions.  

There are also a wealth of websites with games which could support your child's progress in phonics...

This website has lots of free games that are useful for blending to read and is also useful for deciding whether  word is real or nonsense:

This is a reading game where the children read a question and have to click on yes or no.  The level can be adjusted for easier or trickier words:

This website is a listening and sight recognition game.  The children listen to the word and click on the matching word.  The level can be adjusted for the child's ability:

This game allows you to input your own words to practise reading.  So if you are practising a particular sound like 'ch', you can type in all 'ch' words:

This game practises the sounds individually.  You have to pop the balloons with the given sound.

Also remember that your child has an individual log in to the Education City website, which we regularly use in school.

Reading Comprehension

Once children have learnt the machines of reading: decoding and fluency, we aim to develop their reading skills through direct teaching of the 6 domains, focused on the comprehension aspect of reading. We do these using VIPERS. 

VIPERS is an anagram to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.  They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

VIPERS stands for






Sequence or Summarise

See the downloads section at the bottom of this page for more detailed information about VIPERS in KS1 and KS2.

School Author

Marting Coleman is our school author who regularly comes into to lead book events and workshops with children.

You can find our more information about Marting and his books by clicking here: Martin Coleman Books

100 Books

We have set children the challenge of reading 100 books while they are in Year Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2 and then another 100 books when they are in Key Stage 2. The lists of books are in the links below


All children in the school can access a fun and interactive spelling website - Spelling Shed. This can be accessed here  It is also available as an app. 

Please see the downloads section below for the common exception words for Year 1 and 2, the word list for Year 3 and 4, the word list for Year 5 and 6 and the Appendices from the National Curriculum referring to these words and their link to the spelling rules.