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Speaking and Listening

We aim for children to:

  • use discussion in order to learn; children should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.  The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.

Pupils are taught to:

  • explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they begin to write.
  • use discussion to examine their misconceptions
  • understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
  • adopt, create and sustain a range of roles in drama
  • respond thoughtfully to drama performances.


The learning and teaching of reading is highly valued at Preston Manor Lower School.  We currently teach reading within lessons and through a range of text types, in line with the requirements of the new National Curriculum; during daily phonics instruction; during daily guided reading sessions and through individual reading for named pupils.  Classes are also read to daily during in-class story time!

Additionally, all pupils have their independent reading book changed on a weekly basis and are able to take this to and from home.  Thank you wholeheartedly to the parents and carers who are hugely supportive of helping us to further develop their child's comprehension skills using this book.

Guided Reading

Guided reading happens in all classes every day for about twenty minutes. Guided reading involves planned, focused reading activities and small group reading sessions with an adult. As with all of our sessions, the learning is objective led and this is shared with the pupils.  Learning objectives are chosen to suit the text, and to ensure coverage of all the areas of assessment in reading.

The session can follow a range of formats, but typically would involve some modelling of reading on the part of the adult, highlighting the learning objective. Children will then be given an opportunity to read, either quietly to themselves, or taking turns to read aloud to the group. The approach to the session will depend largely on the assessment focus.  For example, if the focus is reading with fluency and expression, then reading aloud would be appropriate. If the learning objective was to select information from a non-fiction text, then it may be more appropriate to pose questions to the children, and then for them to quietly find the information and explain their findings to the group.

Guided reading with younger children will sometimes be book-based, but will also incorporate reading games, such as card games, treasure hunts and matching games designed to meet specific objectives  and spelling patterns.  Children’s reading is assessed during the session and children are given supportive verbal feedback, praising their reading skills and suggesting ways in which they can improve. Assessments are then recorded for the purpose of future planning.

Each group will take part in one guided reading session every week.  When they are not in the adult led group they will be further consolidating their reading skills, either through a follow up task or another independent reading activity such as word & picture matching or reviewing books.


At Preston Manor Lower School we follow the Read Write Inc. scheme to teach phonics.

Follow this link to find more about Read Write Inc (Parents tab).

Follow this link for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check sample materials.


Professor David Crystal explains the importance of grammar:

‘Grammar is what gives sense to language … Sentences make words yield up their meanings.

Sentences actively create sense in language and the business of the study of sentences is the study of grammar.’

Grammar is fundamental to improving children's writing.

It involves investigation, problem-solving, language play and a growing awareness of and interest in how language works.

The purpose of teaching grammar is not simply the naming of parts of speech, nor is it to provide arbitrary rules for ‘correct’ English. It is about making children aware of key grammatical principles and their effects, to increase the range of choices open to them when they write.


At Preston Manor Lower School we use the Nelson Thorne Handwriting Scheme.

Children will be taught how the individual letters are formed before learning to join.

When children are completing some writing at home, use the following points to support them in developing their handwriting.

Getting ready to write

Seating and posture

  • Chair and table should be at a comfortable height
  • The table should support the forearm so that it rests lightly on the surface and is parallel to the floor
  • Encourage children to sit up straight and not slouch
  • The height of the chair should be such that the thighs are horizontal and feet flat on the floor
  • Tables should be free of clutter
  • Rooms should be well lit