We place great importance on our children developing good literacy skills. It is a strong driver of improvement in Farncombe School. Literacy includes speaking and listening, reading and writing. All children attend phonics lessons each morning to learn the crucial skills of decoding, reading and spelling words. These lessons are followed by whole class Literacy sessions four times a week and are supplemented by individual and group reading.

Speaking and Listening is part of all of our work in school from role play in imaginative play situations to drama and presentation or explanations of design projects and investigations. Key vocabulary is taught in every subject of the curriculum. It is vital that children learn to speak fluently and clearly, listen effectively, participate in discussion and follow instructions.


The building blocks of reading are taught through our literacy lessons, with children learning to ‘decode’ words initially, then moving on to  prosody, comprehension and deduction. Reading practice three times a week in class in Reception and Year 1 allows our teachers to model expert reading to children, who join in and learn phonics rapidly and develop reading skills such as expression and pausing for punctuation. In Year 2, children read in ‘Guided Reading’ sessions, with each child reading in a small group with their class teacher. Children also read to parent helpers and time is regularly set aside for quiet reading in class book corners. We ask parents of Year 2 children to read three times a week at home to build confidence, fluency and a love of books.
We have a well stocked school library and a progressive reading scheme. Children choose a library book each fortnight which can be shared with their family. Books from our reading scheme can be changed as often as necessary. We encourage parental involvement with reading, and ask parents to regularly spend time sharing their child’s reading book, discussing the text and identifying familiar and new words.

Developing children’s writing involves teaching spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, handwriting and composition and effect. These skills are a vital part of our literacy lessons each day, with children creating ‘Shared Writing’ with their teachers and analysing spelling patterns, use of punctuation and aspects of language. Children often write in pairs or small groups to learn from each other and share ideas. Often children write on mini white boards where they can easily correct errors, edit their work and gain confidence to try new vocabulary and literary effects. We use a scheme ‘Talk for Writing’ to assist our planning for this crucial area of education.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading is a strength of Farncombe School. The Little Wandle Scheme (please refer to the Phonics and Early Reading page for more details) and the ‘keep up sessions’ it includes, ensures that all children grow to be fluent and confident readers.

At Farncombe we also want our children to be inspired by high quality children’s literature. This is woven into the weekly timetable of each class, with the following books absolutely guaranteed in each year. These form the core of our Reading Spine:

In Reception, children are introduced to Lost and Found stories such as Dogger and You’re Safe Now Waterdog.

They learn about Beat the Baddie/Transformation tales in Penguin and also as part of their Talk for Writing curriculum with Jack and the Beanstalk and The Tiger who Came to Tea.

They hear Culmulative stories where the plots builds up in Bear Snores On and also in their writing in the Little Red Hen.

We introduce them to a very basic Quest in The Little Knight.

In Year 1 Lost and Found books continue with Monkey Puzzle and Lost and Found.

Beat the Baddie/Transformation tales include the classic Six Dinner Sid.

Quest stories develop from a very basic tale in Reception to The Snail and the Whale.

Portal stories are introduced through Katie and the Sunflowers as well as the Dinosaur Cove books. A new set of these books was recently purchased for the school library, in response to requests in pupil questionnaires.

The focus shifts slightly in Year 2 to introducing a range of authors.

Transformation tales continue with The Owl who Was Afraid of the Dark. We hope that pupils are then inspired to read the other books in this wonderful series by Jill Tomlinson.

Beat the Baddie/Transformation tales also continue with The Diary of the Killer Cat, introducing children to another excellent author, Anne Fine.

Quests develop with The Hodgeheg, introducing the prolific Dick King Smith.

Portal stories develop with The Magic Faraway Tree, paving the way for Narnia and Harry Potter in the future.

Roald Dahl is introduced for Year 2 Book Week, with all Year 2 children asked to read The Twits during their Easter break. This prepares them for Reading Lists and similar requirements at Junior School. Both Year 2 teachers read Fantastic Mr Fox in class. In Year 2, as fluency grows, children are encouraged to bring in a copy of these books (from home or the school library) and ‘read along’ as they listen to their teacher.