Reading and Writing

Last updated: September 2021

Writing at Firs

At Firs our approach to writing is based on Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing which supports children to explore, through talk and guided practice, the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. Out aim is for children to develop the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.


Talk for Writing allows the children to engage in  high-level model texts. Through using text maps and actions, it helps the children to learn structural techniques and high level vocabulary that they can use with in their own work.


We follow the Pie Corbett Talk for Writing model to teach a text types whilst also meeting national curriculum objectives. We believe that if children can’t say it, they can’t write it. All writing lessons should be about teaching a genre and a yearly programme includes at least two narrative units and a poetry unit. On average, the teaching of a text type should last 3 – 4 weeks. All writing lessons must be taught within the context of the text type being studied. Discussion/discursive writing is only taught in Y5 and Y6.


At the beginning of a unit of work, the children complete a ‘cold task’ to assess their current skill level, doing this enables us to personalised planning and teach the children exactly what they need teaching. At the end of a unit the children then complete a ‘hot task’, allowing children to show great progress they have made through the unit.


More information about Talk for Writing at Firs – Click Here



Handwriting at Firs

At Firs we follow Martin Harvey’s Achieving Excellence in Writing. This starts in EYFS where our staff help our children in developing physically and establish a good pencil grip. Once children have mastered a good pencil grip, and have appropriate shoulder, elbow and wrist dexterity, we teach the children individual letters then move on to cursive handwriting.


We teach the children the different heights of the letters by referring to them as short, tall and tail letters and show them how they sit on our handwriting paper with solid and dotted lines. The children also have this line in their English books enabling them to further apply and practice their skill outside of handwriting lessons.

Consistency is the key word to how we teach handwriting and to ‘Do it little and do it often’, we teach handwriting for 10 mins daily at the start of the year then for 10 mins 3 times a week to keep up high standards through-out.


 We follow 5 habits in school for handwriting and presentation of work.

  1. Two hands. Insist on children always using two hands when writing. One hand to hold the paper and one hand to write with.
  2. Six feet. Children must always keep six feet on the floor.
  3. Ensure that children always sit in the BBC positionBottom Back in Chair.
  4. Tummy Near Table. This ensures that the child is sitting with their body close to their work, instead of having to stretch forward to write.
  5. Paper position. The paper should be upright when the child is writing or at an angle not greater than 45 degrees.


Good posture and correct seating position are vital components of developing good handwriting. The habits above must not be seen just as good habits for handwriting. They are insisted upon in all subject areas, throughout the school day.

At Firs, we do not join the g or y to other letters.

Reading at Firs 


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss


At Firs , we recognise that reading is a key building block for learning and we aim to equip each and every pupil with the skills they need. This will allow them to enjoy reading for knowledge, as well as pleasure and enjoyment and to understand how to write with a sense of purpose and audience.

We are very excited about our new and improved library. It is full of books which have been hand-picked to match our curriculum and engage pupils at all reading levels. In our library you will also find comfy seating for groups and classes, a listening station for audio-books, collections of books by our favourite authors and copies of ‘First News’ – the newspaper specifically for children.  Classes have timetabled sessions in the library and lunchtime reading and homework clubs take place as well.

In Early Reading, we follow the Read, Write Inc books. We send home books that are carefully matched to the sounds the children are learning within their phonics lessons.

At Firs, we also take the ‘2 book approach,’ to reading. This means the children take home at least one phonetically decodable reading book carefully matched to the sounds they are learning and a choice library book they have chosen for everyone at home to enjoy.

In Key Stage 2 we use a mixture of Oxford Reading Tree, Project X Alien Adventures, Read Write Inc and colour banded ‘real books’. This provides a varied range of books which not only matches children’s abilities, but interests and engages them in their reading.

We also recognise that reading fluency can present a tricky barrier for those children who are learning English for the first time. We have an intervention programme within school that helps further support children with reading fluency. You can help at home by reading daily with your child.

Phonics at Firs 


Children throughout the school are taught phonics through the Read Write Inc programme – please click here to find out more


Phonics Screening


At the end of June, Year 1 children do the Phonics Screening Check. This is a short, light touch assessment which consists of 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words that a pupil reads aloud to the teacher. It is designed to confirm whether pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and to help identify children who need extras support.  If children do not reach the expected standard, they then redo the check in Year 2.

Contact Us

Firs Primary School
Raven Street
DE22 3WA
Telephone: 01332 346230
Fax: 01332 200782

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