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English at Elm Hall Primary School

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My name is Michelle Mansfield and I am the English lead at Elm Hall. Our vision is to create ‘Real Readers and Real Writers’ by promoting high standards of language and literacy which will afford our pupils a strong command of both spoken and written language while developing their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. We believe that secure English skills are essential for progress across all areas of the curriculum and that these prepare our children effectively for the challenges of both further education and adult life.

Across their reading journey, our children will develop and transfer their skills from ‘learning to read’ into ‘reading to learn’ thus facilitating their emergence as independent, critical, life-long readers and learners.

Our aspiration for every child is for them to be articulate, literate individuals with a passionate love of reading who read for a real purpose – to promote discovery and gain real-life knowledge.

By creating real readers, we will, as a consequence, create ‘Real Writers’ who understand the impact that they can have on a reader; who enjoy the thrill of sharing a narrative or knowledge and who are actively engaged in a writing process that allows them the freedom to express themselves. In allowing our children to write about life experiences or subjects that spark their passions, we provide our children the chance to thrive and flourish.

Our Learning Aims

The Elm Hall Reading Curriculum aims:

  • To create a reading culture whereby children enjoy reading and understand the value that reading contributes to their wider lives.
  • To develop a reading culture which is designed to move children from ‘learning to read’ (Elmer) to ‘reading to learn’ (Accelerated Reader).
  • To encourage children to become attentive listeners through the utilisation of carefully selected, high quality class novels, models and texts; thus, enabling them to become confident, independent and reflective readers who read from a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes.
  • To develop the following reading strategies and key skills: decoding (using our rigid phonics programme SFAP), accuracy, fluency, understanding and responding to texts (including questioning content through VIPERS).
  • To provide our children with opportunities to read across the curriculum.
  • To create a positive reading culture by providing a language rich environment within the classroom and throughout the school.
  • To promote an ethos of achievement by setting high expectations and challenging targets for all.
  • To identify pupils who require additional support and intervene at an early stage.
  • To offer our children a wide range of genres, cultural representation and SEND representation to ensure that our children can see themselves ‘reflected back’ through characters.
  • To ensure that staff remain up to date with current educational thinking and practice through relevant reading and CPD.

The Elm Hall Writing Curriculum aims:

  • At Elm Hall, we aim to create ‘real writers’ who not only take their learning forward into the next stage of their educational journey but into the real world beyond education.
  • To offer a rich and varied curriculum based around nurturing children to meet their individual needs; this will be taught through a range of exciting stimuli which includes: books, film clips, artefacts, visitors and real life experiences.
  • To create opportunities for children to utilise thinking and talking to support and enhance children’s writing outcomes.
  • To provide children with regular opportunities to develop a rich vocabulary that will enrich their writing.
  • To provide real purpose and audiences to inspire our children.
  • To provide opportunities to ‘build the knowledge’ – to ensure that children master, retain and progress their knowledge and skills across the school.
  • To ensure that work is relevant to the young learner’s lives, interests and experiences.
  • To ensure that our children are proud of their work and are excited to share it with others.

What Can I Do To Support My Child?

Below is a support booklet for every year of the school (from Year 1 - Year 6) which gives advice on how to best help your children at home. These booklets guide you through what children are learning in class, what children should be able to do at each stage and what to practise at home to consolidate and support skills at home.

Using the Reading VIPERS at home when reading

At Elm Hall, we support our children's understanding of the texts that they read through the use of VIPERS. This mnemonic stands for Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence (EYFS and KS1) and Summarise (KS2).

Parents often ask us why their child's book has not been changed as they have been able to read it. This is because, the first time a child reads a book, they are 'decoding' the text which allows them to read aloud. However, this does not mean that they have understood new vocabulary, are able to infer (understand that a character is angry because they stamped their foot), able to predict (say what they think will happen next), explain their thinking around the text (this could be how it relates to something that they know in real life or something they have read before), retrieve (locate and find the answer to a question in the text) and sequence (can retell the order of the story), or, in KS2, summarise the key events from a paragraph/story. These are all vital skills for our children as it ensures that they have understood the book and will be able to compare this with others as they read more widely.

Included below, are the VIPERS that we use alongside some question stems which will allow you to read along with your child and ask these questions. They need not all be asked at once and we find that the more a child reads the book, the more this enables them to Dive Deeper into their own understanding.


Meet Our Subject Ambassadors!

Year 6 - Metilda and Ruby-May 

Year 5 - Lily-Beau and 

Year 4 - Esme 

Year 3 - Noah 



Our Aims For This Year:

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