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The English Curriculum at Amberley (including our approach to Phonics)

Our Reading Scheme

We use Pearson's Phonics Bugs, Julia Donaldson Songbirds and Rigby Star schemes to teach reading in school.





We are wonderful readers here at Amberley! We love listening to stories and reading our books to enthusiastic adults in school. We are also learning to read for pleasure and enjoy quiet reading times in our fantastic reading areas in our classroom. We have great links with the local schools library service who provide a vast range of texts for us to enjoy linked to our half termly topics.

Guided Reading at Amberley


Guided Reading at Amberley takes place from Year 2 to Year 6 daily. Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of pupils to develop a range of reading strategies which includes inference and deduction skills. The aim of these 20 minute sessions is to challenge children's abilities to apply a range of reading strategies in order to access a broad range of texts.


Summarising Strategy



Inference Strategy


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Challenging Reading at Ambeley


“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn the more places you’ll go!”


Dr. Suess


We have been really proud of some of the whole school reading challenges that we have delivered over the past few years at Amberley. We have 'Read to Rio', read around the world and this year (because it's the venue of the World Cup in July 2018)...we're going to read to Russia! 


Please see the letter and documents below that outline our 2017-2018 whole school reading challenge. Please take a look at our new twitter page that will be a celebration tool for the new texts we are accessing throughout this reading challenge @amberleyreadrus. 




Promoting Reading from the word “GO!”

The promotion of Reading at Amberley is embedded from Nursery all the way up to Year 6. The North Tyneside Library Bus visits Nursery, Reception and Year 1 termly. Children go onto the Library Bus to meet the librarians, return previous books they took out, discover new texts and listen to stories read by a librarian. Look at the photos below to see our visits...


Nursery on the Library Bus






Y1AB listening to a story on the Library Bus



Children from Year's 1 to 6 have twice termly library visits to our local library situated within the White Swan Centre. Children have the opportunity to discover a range of new texts, learn key skills to help us search for new books in the library, listen to, read and take out new books. Lots of parents, grandparents and carers accompany us on our trip to the local library, we couldn't do it without their support. See the photos below...


Y2KR visiting the White Swan Library 




We love looking for new books to read...



Y1GA playing story bingo on our visit to the White Swan Library 




heart Reading and taking out new books heart



 Using an index to search for books...building our library skills 




Author Visits

As part of Amberley Primary School’s aim to promote reading, throughout November 2017 children from Year’s 1 to 6 visited a range of well known authors. From these authors we learnt:

  • about the job of an author
  • what inspired authors to become an author
  • where they get ideas for stories from
  • how to plan a story they are going to write

...and lots, lots more!


Look at the photos below to see our author visits in action...



Year 1 visiting the author Tracey Corderoy 




We learnt how to draw her character Slippery Sam 





We had so much fun!!!



smiley Waiting to get our books signed by Tracey Corderoy smiley



Y2 visited the author Julia Jarman and met her afterwards too






Y3 visited the auhor Nick Sharratt 






Y4 visited Gareth.P.Jones


Amberley Primary School's approach to the teaching & learning of Phonics


Phonics teaching at Amberley is very effective and performance in the Year 1 Phonics Screening test has been significantly above national averages since the assessment was introduced. We are proud of these outcomes and they are achieved through a combination of carefully planned teaching and learning and work in partnership with parents who are involved and informed about our phonics teaching from the first days their child begins nursery or reception. Staff hold meetings for new nursery and reception pupils and these include advice on how to support their children with phonics. Teachers in Key Stage 1 invite parents to specific phonics meetings in order to support phonics home learning.


Our phonics teaching and learning in based on a combination on three phonic schemes, these being:


  • Letters & Sounds and
  • Read, Write, Ink.
  • Jolly phonics


Teachers use the best aspects of both schemes to plan work specific to their groups of children. Teaching support staff are used to further group our classes and support the most and least able learners, ensuring they are appropriately challenged. We have recently appointed a staff member to the role of 'Phonics Lead Teacher' who has worked alongside a Local Authority specialist phonics teacher to further develop our teaching and learning in phonics which has involved a review of teaching, differentiation, marking and feedback and interventions. Please see the attached phonics action plan for further details.


Below is a link to a website, which links each sound to their phoneme.





Teaching Teachers Phonics

Mrs Armstrong led a phonics focus morning held at Amberley Primary School, developing Trainee Teacher’s subject knowledge and skills, who are enrolled on the North Tyneside PE SCITT course. Focuses of the morning included:

  • What is phonics?
  • Why is phonic so important?
  • How we teach phonics at Amberley and why 
  • Assessment of phonics
  • The impact of phonics on developing young readers
  • Discovering resources that can be used to support the delivery of phonics






As part of this morning, Mrs Armstrong demonstrated a 1:1 reading session with a Year 1 pupil. Trainee’s then put the skills they learnt into practice. See photos below: 








 Furthermore, students practiced delivering a practice Phonics Screening paper with each other which gave them an insight into the statutory assessment linked to phonics. 







Promoting Handwriting at Amberley


At Amberley we promote handwriting within Guided Reading and English lessons. Children are encouraged to take pride in the presentation of all their work across each subject. Pen licences are presented to children who show consistent and fluent cursive handwriting in their writing. Letter formation is taught from the earliest opportunities and reinforced in phonics and English lessons and all written tasks. 


Below are some examples of two children's writing who have achieved their pen licences.






We further promote handwriting through half termly handwriting competitions, where all winning entries are displayed in school.




Please see our English documents and policies section for further information on our handwriting expectations and letter formation.