Bishop Aldhelm's CE

Primary School

Loved by God; United in Learning


"One of the greatest gifts adults can give- to their offspring and to their society- is to read to children." Carl Sagan.

"Write something that's worth fighting over. Because that's how you change things. That's how you create art." Jeff Goins. 

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.

Reading Curriculum


At Bishop Aldhelm’s it is our aim to ensure children receive a high-quality education in reading, which nourishes imagination and curiosity; building on knowledge of the wider world and instilling a love of reading to allow them to succeed in school and later on in life. Promoting the enjoyment and pleasure that reading brings, is at the heart of our reading curriculum. It is our intent to ensure children leave our school, confident readers able to tackle a range of unfamiliar and challenging texts but most importantly, inspire a love of reading that will stay with them long after they have left Bishop Aldhelm’s.


When the children start their journey at Bishop Aldhelm’s, the teaching of reading in EYFS will concentrate on language development, developing phonological awareness and the teaching of synthetic phonics. Key Stage 1 will build upon the work from EYFS, introducing new GPC as well as working towards recognising words by sight in order to build fluency. Running alongside this, comprehension skills are taught, progressing through the school, via a variety of rich and varied literature.

At Bishop Aldhelm’s, we value discussion and ensure this is part of not only our reading lessons but also when and where opportunities arise across the curriculum. We recognise this is essential to promote and acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions, along with a greater understanding of the world they live in. Through the English curriculum, children learn the skills required to read and unpick (through discussions and targeted questioning) a range of texts, giving further opportunities to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

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

Writing Curriculum 


At Bishop Aldhelm’s we aspire to enable all children to communicate though the written form for a variety of purposes across the curriculum. We believe that all children, should have the opportunity to acquire a rich and varied vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and effectively use the spelling patterns and rules learnt to spell new words. We endeavour for our children to write clearly, accurately and coherently; adapting their style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. At the forefront for all staff, is the drive for children to enjoy the writing process and understand its importance and value.


When the children start their journey at Bishop Aldhelm’s, the teaching in EYFS focusses heavily on building speaking and listening skills, being aware of children’s starting points and providing a solid foundation in which they are able to build their English skills, that follow, upon. Children recall sounds and use them to write words and simple phrases, during their daily phonic lessons. When children start in Key Stage One, children are introduce to new GPCs and focus on conveying meaning through secure sentence structure and link these to develop narratives. As children more through the rest of Key Stage One and into Key Stage Two, they focus on honing their skills with composition, spelling, punctuation and grammar writing for a range of purposes and audiences.

At Bishop Aldhelm’s, we value the importance of vocabulary and plan in time for exploring the meaning and acquiring of new and ambitious vocabulary. Learning journeys of writing are planned around a high-quality text or stimulus, ensuring vocabulary and discussion around it is of focus.  We believe by children taking ownership of their writing through editing, redrafting and publishing their work, we are instilling resilience, courage and independence that are skills they will use throughout their education and beyond. 


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.