At Knollmead we believe that English is a fundamental life skill.


Knollmead Primary School has a clear, consistent, whole school approach to reading, which recognises that reading needs a multi-strategy approach. Competence and pleasure in reading is the key to independent learning and is given the highest priority, enabling the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and is crucial in developing children's self confidence and motivation. Each year group has different banded reading book schemes, which are both phonetical and non-phonetical. This is to stop repetition of reading books throughout the children's time at Knollmead.


At Knollmead, we use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write. Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age - the sounds of their own language. From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.

We explicitly teach the children the 3 skills of:

  • blending

  • segmenting

  • phoneme manipulation (sound swapping)

The children are taught to decode and encode by understanding 4 clear concepts:

  • letters are symbols that represent sounds that they say

  • sounds can be spelt using 1,2,3 or 4 letters: 's a t', 'f i sh', 'n igh t' and 'w eigh t'

  • the same sound can be spelt in different ways: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on

  • the same spelling can represent different sounds: the spelling 'ea' can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

In Reception, the children learn the initial code and learn to build CVC words using single letter sounds, for example, 'mum', 'dog', 'jam' and 'sit'. When the children are secure with building and reading at this level, the complexity of one-syllable words is carefully increased through a variety of VCC, CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC and CCCVC words, such as, for example, 'elf', 'hand', 'swim', 'trust' and 'scrub'. Next, the children are taught the concept that one sound can be represented by 2 letters such as /ch/sh/and/ck/.

In Year 1 and 2, two, three and four letter spellings are introduced. The concepts that one spelling can represent different sounds and the same sound can be spelt in different ways are also taught.

Throughout KS1 and KS2 children are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, starting with simpler words (such as 'bedbug') and gradually moving to the more complex (such as 'mathematical').

Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.

If you would like to learn more about our approach to phonics, please register for the online course, free for everyone! Click here


Writing is a vital means of communicating our thoughts, instructions, opinions, knowledge and ideas and it is essential that all pupils have the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to put this into practice. We aim to create learning situations in which all children will experience a structured approach to learning writing skills (including grammar and handwriting) in order to become competent writers.

Speaking and Listening

We believe that communication, both oral and written, is the key to success, to social integration and to personal development and happiness. We aim to equip our children with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to use language effectively. Speaking and listening activities are embedded throughout the curriculum. Teachers encourage the regular use of 'Learning Partners' and group discussion to allow children to develop their oral skills and their ability to communicate and cooperate with their peers. Key vocabulary is pre taught to the children giving them the necessary tools to enable them to fully participate in all lessons.