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English at Holbrook


At Holbrook, we are passionate about English, as we believe it lies at the heart of the curriculum. Using quality texts, children are encouraged to develop a love of reading and writing, as well as learn the skills they need to communicate effectively.


We use a combination of approaches to deliver a broadly cross-curricular approach to writing, usually based around a quality text. We use the Talk for Writing approach, developed by Pie Corbett, at least once a half term to highlight the key features that we want the children to learn. This allows explicit modelling, scaffolding, rehearsal and drama techniques to be used and includes writing for a range of purposes. Children are given many opportunities to write about the things that interest them. At Holbrook, we use a fully cursive style of handwriting from Reception upwards, based on the ‘Letterjoin’ programme. This enables the children to communicate clearly and effectively. Grammar and spelling is integrated into our teaching of writing, however where necessary, discrete sessions are taught.


Children explore texts as part of guided reading sessions. These are generally taught in whole class reading sessions or in mixed ability groups, depending on the age/experience of the children and the texts themselves. Children are also given time for independent reading, or 1:1 reading with an adult or a reading buddy. Children are encouraged to use our well-stocked school libraries, which are supported by the West Sussex Schools’ Library Service.


Holbrook School also offers many enrichment opportunities for English, including author visits and cinema or theatre trips.


As a result, children leave Holbrook with a strong command of the spoken and written word, as well as a love of literature.


Reading at Holbrook

At Holbrook we recognise the importance of reading and understand that the ability to read underpins most aspects of modern life. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. 


In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.


Here are five reasons why everyone should read:


1. Reading exercises your brain. Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than, say, watching TV. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections.


2. Reading improves concentration. If you read regularly as you grow up, you develop the ability to focus and manage distractions for longer and longer periods.


3. Reading teaches you about the world around you. Through reading, you learn about people, places and events outside your own experiences. You are also exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround you.


4. Reading improves your vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves your ability to write well. This is because you learn new words as you read and unconsciously absorb information about how texts and sentences are structured and how to sue words and language effectively.


5. If you read every day you will improve and achieve more than those who do not; practice makes perfect in almost everything we do and reading is no different.

Websites to support reading

How and Why to get your child to read more

KS2 Spelling Workshop