Literacy (core area)

pupils completing a literacy task

Language skills incorporate listening, speaking, reading and writing and all the skills are essential to participating fully as a member of society. At Manor School we give pupils tools and strategies to help them communicate as effectively as possible and provide rich opportunities for pupils to communicate in the classroom, on the playground etc.

Speaking and listening skills are developed across the curriculum and supported by our Speech and Language Therapists (see Communication Checklist).

Reading for pleasure

The use of high quality books within the reading curriculum is at the heart of Manor School’s approach to engage and support children to become motivated and independent readers. We believe that if children enjoy sharing books and reading, they become better readers.

The texts that we use at Manor School enable pupils to develop knowledge of a wide range of books, authors, illustrators and genres. We explore books as a whole class focus through a range of creative approaches involving talk, drama and visual representation. The books provide children with experience of the rhythms and patterns, vocabulary, structures and ideas in written language that they can draw on in their own writing.

The selection of books for the classroom plays an important part in the development of an effective reading curriculum thus we have a selection of multi-sensory books for the pupils who cannot benefit from ‘mainstream’ books. These books can be enjoyed without being understood as they are told interactively through voice and emotion rather than words and pictures.

Reading instruction; How we teach reading


We believe that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential for pupils to become proficient readers and writers. At Manor School we use Letters and Sounds phonic programme across KS1 and KS2 which meets the criteria for high quality phonic work. To support the teaching of the sounds we use ‘Jolly Phonics’. Letters and Sounds help us to adapt our teaching to the range of pupils’ developing abilities. It helps us to make sure that all children make progress at a pace that benefits their enlarging capabilities.

Letters and sounds is a six-phase teaching programme. Phase one fosters pupils’ speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparatory to learning phonic knowledge and skills. We start teaching high quality phonic work (phases 2-6) at the point we judge pupils are ready to begin the programme, and we use a range of multi-sensory activities where pupils can recognise letters by touch, sight and sounding out simultaneously.

For full details on the Letters and Sounds phonics teaching programme, visit here

For learning games and other resources, visit

Our chosen reading scheme

Our teaching of reading is built on the achievements and strengths of our pupils and we have high expectations for every child. We use the PM reading scheme which is developed to build reading skills through gradual progression. The scheme provides pupils with lots of small, achievable steps as they begin to read so they enjoy the process. Each new level within the reading scheme introduces new things and practises the skills and knowledge learned in the previous levels.

Although we use this reading scheme, we strongly believe that pupils should be enjoying other books alongside this, at school and at home. Reading high-quality books is the best way to encourage a love of reading.


At Manor School pupils have access to a variety of writing tools and have the opportunity to work at different levels. We believe that writing activities should be fun and that pupils will be more willing to ‘write’ when they see a reason to do so. We work in a stimulating writing environment with displayed and celebrated examples of pupils’ own writing and opportunities to use writing in play activities.

At Manor School pupils take part in a variety of activities designed to improve their fine motor skills and to develop their hand and finger muscles. Pupils often start with mark making as a way in to writing and often start letter formation on a large scale such as on the interactive whiteboard or outside with paintbrushes and water. Pupils learn to form letters within phonics and handwriting sessions. As a pupil’s confidence develops we aim for them to produce neat, legible writing. We offer many, varied opportunities for pupils to write throughout the day.

We use the ABC Boom programme to support the development of handwriting and have an agreed letter formation method to support consistency in the development of writing across the school. The development of fine motor and writing skills is supported by our Occupational Therapy Team.