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How do we learn English at St Denys?


English is an essential part of your childs' education at St Denys.  We strive to make English fun by encouraging your child to become a confident speaker, reader and writer.

At St Denys we believe that English should be taught through topics which encourage the children to learn and develop English skills in exciting ways which stimulate minds and develop imagination and factual understanding.

English includes reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and speaking and listening.  This also includes developing the children's phonetic knowledge which helps them to read, spell and write correctly.



Foundation Stage

In the Foundation Stage English is integrated throughout the curriculum.  The children experience English through child led, adult led and adult initiated activities.  They learn about sounds, letter and words in a language rich environment in which they develop confidence in expressing themselves through reading, writing and phonics.  They also have a wealth of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in a range of situations.



Please refer to the 'Phonics' curriculum page. 



In Reception writing is through topic work and is supported by a teacher, TA or LSA. In the Summer term, EYFS begin to follow 'The Write Stuff' writing system in line with Key Stage One. 



The children learn letter formation through a handwriting lesson. St Denys uses the 'Letter Join' Handwriting scheme ( Using the correct pencil grip and adopting a good seating position are essential when building good writers.


Speaking and listening

Speaking and listening is an integral part of the children's understanding and in Reception new learning is discussed in groups and each child is encouraged to contribute and add their ideas and questions.  This adds a deeper understanding which enables children to learn new concepts well and apply them to their English work.


Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2)


In Key Stage 1 we continue to develop your child's English skills through a range of well planned topic based and skills based activities. We incorporate different genres including work about traditional tales, stories from other cultures, letter writing, character descriptions, factual writing and poetry for example. Skills lessons may include using suffixes, capital letters and full stops, using commas for lists, speech marks or good use of question marks for example.  As English has many layers, each lesson often includes a variety of aspects within it. English at Key Stage 1 consists of; developing spoken language, improving spelling and its application, developing reading skills, developing a comprehension of what we read and answering questions about it; transcription or writing development, composition of a piece of writing, handwriting and presentation and developing a good understanding of how grammar, punctuation and vocabulary are effectively applied to our work.



Please refer to our 'Phonics' curriculum page. 



In KS1 writing tasks are often topic based but can also be linked to key skills which we need to develop. Progress is assessed and next steps identified in order for progression to take place.



St Denys uses the 'Letter Join' Handwriting scheme (

A weekly handwriting session ensures that the children in Key Stage 1 form and orient letters correctly.  By practising the single letters, then capitals, words and eventually joins in Year 2, the children develop a neat handwriting style of their own.


Speaking and Listening

Class discussion, talking partners, circle time activities, games and drama activities all contribute to developing speaking and ensuring good listening is occuring at St Denys.



These will often be linked to phonic sounds learnt, high frequency words, common exception words or even topic words.  There will be a weekly spelling test and new words to learn.  Your child should be encouraged to learn their spellings using the look, cover, write, check method, putting their words into the context of a sentence whenever possible.