020 8981 7127



At Olga Primary School we believe that the best way to ensure that pupils do well in English is to ensure that they become life-long engaged readers.

At Olga Primary School we are developing our whole school curriculum to reflect our fantastically diverse community. Please look at our book recommendations below to inspire your child’s love of reading and celebrate diversity.


“Reading makes all other learning possible” - Barack Obama


At Olga our core purpose is to ensure our children have the skills and knowledge to become lifelong readers who have a genuine love of reading. 


Through a comprehensive guided reading structure, daily phonics lessons, language rich environment, daily story times in every year group and a rich bespoke English curriculum the children at Olga develop the skills and knowledge to support them to develop a love of reading.

We inspire our children to

  • develop pleasure in reading and to be self-motivated
  • read for enjoyment, with confidence and with understanding
  • read from a wide range of quality texts and reading materials
  • have a good understanding of, and ability to apply knowledge of phonics and word patterns

In every class throughout the school all texts have been specially selected with the purpose to support children in their reading development.

To support the development and engagement of Early Reading we use a wide range of texts including

  • memorable texts that feature repetition and encourage prediction
  • texts within which rhythm and rhyme are important
  • texts that allow children to practise and apply their phonic knowledge
  • books with strong story shapes and structures
  • books with supportive illustrations
  • books that draw attention to written language and to the ways books work
  • stories with different cultural settings
  • books which provide information 

Early Years

Children begin their love of books in Nursery.

Attractive and inviting books with colourful illustrations and photographs are continually shared among adults and children whether indoors or outdoors and pertinent to the play activity they are involved in. When sharing the books adults model how to be a reader by using expression, intonation and gestures: all of which add to the engagement and ‘fun’ of reading. Adults will also use books to show children how they can be applied in everyday circumstances such as; reading a recipe when cooking a cake, reading instructions when learning how to play a game, reading an information book to find out how a car works or reading a funny poem to perform in class assemblies.

Children are also taught how to handle books and become familiar with the way books work - for example, role-playing an adult reading to the class by turning the pages, telling the story using pictures and saying phrases such as “Once upon a time”. Using story props, children are encouraged to use the stories they hear in their play as well as discuss the characters actions, predict the outcomes, suggest alternative endings and compare events in the stories with their own experiences.

In Reception, children continue to enjoy listening to a range of books daily and are taught to retell stories using correct sequence of events and applying its language pattern. They develop understanding that print carries meaning and in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom. Children also show an understanding of the elements of stories such as, the main character, variety of openings and how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, how, why and how. 

Phonics begins in Nursery where children listen to and join in with rhymes, alliteration, singing and clapping games, all very important activities which teach children to discriminate between and recognise sounds. Then, when appropriate the children move into small phonics groups where they are taught to recognise, read, pronounce and write sounds.

In Reception, children apply reading skills that are taught within the Read, Write Inc programme. This includes learning a new sound, hearing and say and sounds in the order they appear in a word and to use this knowledge to write simple ‘regular’ words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more difficult words. Every day, the children will learn to read a sight word; these are words that cannot be completely sounded out (known as ‘High Frequency Words’), (High Frequency Words List 1) and practise naming the letters of the alphabet. Children are also taught comprehension skills where they search for answers within the text as well as develop skills in providing opinions based on the events read.

In KS1 children continue to develop their reading skills

Based on one text throughout the week, in guided reading, children build on their accuracy, fluency and comprehension while applying their knowledge of phonics and red words (tricky words).

Guided reading is when a group of similar ability children read the same text with a ‘given’ focus such as, recognising how texts are structured, making inferences on the evidence read in a text, predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far and knowing how metaphors/adjectives create images for the reader.

Guided Reading - Structure of the week

First Read story familiarity and sounding words

Second Time to develop comprehension skills

Third Time to develop fluency, expression and reading with punctuation 

  • story discussion/debates
  • asking and answering questions
  • reading words at speed

Once children have finished the Read, Write Inc programme they are then taught more advanced reading skills through daily guided reading using chapter books.

Children who have moved beyond Early reading skills and are mastering reading competencies require more challenging texts with a wider range of titles, genres, authors and vocabulary. These may include

  • texts with sophisticated plots and flashbacks
  • books that deal with important and current themes
  • books in which language is used in lively, inventive ways
  • books by skilful and experienced children’s writers and illustrators
  • traditional and contemporary ‘classics’ of children’s literature, including narrative poetry
  • stories with different cultural setting
  • texts that promote discussion and reflection

In KS2

In Key Stage Two, children build upon the reading skills learnt through a daily guided reading session which is taught in a carousel format.

Books are matched to children’s reading ability. A progressive chapter book scheme with a focus on high quality reading texts to support engagement, vocabulary development and a love of reading. Children are assessed weekly to ensure the children are reading the correct level of text.

For children who are at the early stages of reading in KS2 or who are finding reading difficult we have interventions such as Phonics, whole word approach, colourful semantics, 1:1 Reading and Reading Volunteers to support their progress.

Children continue to apply their phonic knowledge to root words, prefixes and suffixes, both when reading aloud and to understand the meaning of new words. Children develop skills in using dictionaries and thesauruses, and identifying words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.

All classrooms have attractive book areas where from a very early age children are taught to scan and choose their favourite story or text of interest. In addition to this children hear stories each day at story time and are expected to read with parents each night and to record what they have read in the school’s home reading journal. It also provides opportunities for parents to write comments about how they feel their child’s reading is developing (reading together tips/guidance).

Read Write Inc (Early Years and KS1)

From Early Years and into KS1 we use a reading programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ which fulfils all the reading requirements of the National Curriculum.

Within the programme children are grouped according to their reading abilities and are regularly assessed to measure their progress. When progress is made they move through the book levels: 


The children are assessed for accuracy, fluency and understanding of the texts from the range of texts they have studied within that book level. If successful they then move up to the next book level. When all the texts in Grey Level (13 stories) have been studied, and assessment is successful, the children come out of the programme and join the ‘genre’ group where they follow the school’s Literacy scheme of work. When a child enters a new book level parents are immediately informed.  

If children have difficulties in remembering particular sounds or require extension work to develop their fluency or comprehension skills then they will attend 1:1 sessions with a member of staff that will enable them to ‘keep up’ with the programme’s daily activities. 

In addition to children taking books home at Olga Primary School we have a reading programme called Bug Club.

Launch of Bug Club Reading Programme

At Olga Primary School we have a reading programme called Bug Club.

What is Bug Club?

Bug Club is a finely-levelled reading scheme, which ensures that all children can find books at exactly the right level for them. What’s more, there are online versions for every printed title and a personalised website for each child.

Using the online reading world

If you have access to an internet connection, your child can enjoy reading Bug Club books online as well as in print. Each child has a unique homepage and can log into it by following these steps:

1. Go to www.activelearnprimary.co.uk

Please note: We strongly recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers with Active Learn. If you prefer to use Internet Explorer, please check you have at least IE9 in order for everything to work as it should.

2 .Enter the login details (as provided on your child’s Bug Club mark)

3. Your child’s homepage will appear.

Reading a book online

We allocate books to your child according to their reading levels. These books will appear in the ‘My Stuff’ area of their personal homepages.

Throughout the books there are quiz questions for your child to complete. To answer a question, just click on the bug icon. Your child does not need to finish all the quiz questions in one sitting and can come back to the book later.

When your child has finished all the quiz questions in a book, your child will earn ‘ActiveLearn Coins’. By reading more books, your child will earn enough coins to ‘buy’ a reward in one of the many reward schemes.

The answers to the quiz questions will be sent back to our teacher site so that we can see how your child is progressing. We will also be able to assign more books for your child to read if the virtual book bag is running low.

When your child has finished a book, it will move to ‘My Library’. Children can read these books again if they want to, or they can choose new books from ‘My Stuff’.

Getting Involved

Sharing reading

Until they are fluent readers, younger children will benefit from reading aloud to you as often as possible. When sharing a book with your child, try to take opportunities to talk about the book – before, during and after reading.

Before reading: look at the book cover and talk about your child’s expectations. Is the book likely to be fiction or non-fiction? Have you read other books together about these characters or by this author? What does your child think the book is going to be about?

While reading: support your child when unknown words need tackling: you can sound them out, split them into syllables, or identify suffixes and prefixes. Remind your child to listen to the words while reading them, to make sure that they make sense. Have a ‘meaning check’ every now and again to ensure your child understands the text.

After reading: talk about the book. What was it about? Did it match your child’s expectations? Ask questions beginning with the words how and why to check that your child has been able to read between the lines. Ask whether anything seemed puzzling. Then ask your child to explain what the best and worst bits of the book were, and why.

Need help?

If your child is having trouble using the pupil world, help can be found in the Help Section of ActiveLearn Primary (in the top right-hand corner of the website).


“Good phonics instruction is about learning the architecture of words, what they are made of. It’s about putting words together and taking them apart” - Heidi Anne Mesmer

Our aim is for children to underpin successful reading and writing with a strong foundation of phonics skills.


We are passionate about ensuring that all children become confident and enthusiastic and active participants in their phonics lessons to support high levels of engagement with phonics, reading and writing. Through delivering high quality daily phonics sessions in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, phonics at Olga Primary School will give the children the necessary skills in recognising and associating letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds in the words that they read and write while introducing them to red words and green words. In Key Stage 2 children are assessed to identify if phonics teaching is still needed. Intervention and catch up groups are delivered to small groups so children make accelerated progress. We understand the impact high quality phonics teaching can have on children learning to read and write and feeling like successful learners. At Olga Primary we use the Read Write Inc phonics programme resources to support high quality phonics teaching and learning.

Red words are taught within phonics lessons. These are words that cannot be sounded out e.g. the

What can I do to help my child?

Here are some top tips to help your child learn tricky words!

  1. Play memory games such as snap and go fish with red words written on the cards.
  2. Stick red words on the fridge or around the house and encourage children to read them when passing.
  3. Include red words into sentences to give your child meaningful opportunities to read and write them.


What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The Phonic Screening Check checks that children can read words and non-words containing their Set 1, 2 and 3 sounds. Here are some useful videos that we have made of the sounds the children need to know so that you can work on them at home too. The phonics check takes place for children in Year 1 in June. Any child that does not pass the phonics check will retake the check in Year 2.


This year Year 2 will be taking the phonics screen in the Autumn term. This is due to covid.

What can I do to help?

Familiarise your child with alien words. These are not nonsense words where the children need to decode using their phonic knowledge only.

words2Please see our parent workshop powerpoint below to support you with segmenting and blending.

Phonics Glossary for parents

Phoneme           Smallest unit of sound

Graphemes       Written representation of a phoneme

Segmenting      Breaking a word into phonemes

Blending            Merging phonemes to make a word

Digraph             Two letters that make one sound

Trigraph             Three letters that make one sound

Split digraph     A split digraph is a Digraph that is split by a consonant. Usually a

                             long vowel sound, e.g. 'a-e' (cake), 'i-e' (five), 'o-e' (code),

                             'e-e' (sphere) and ...

At Olga Primary School we realise that reading and writing float on a sea of talk. As such, oracy is at the heart of our curriculum to ensure our pupils make the best possible progress. In the day-to-day life of the school, approaches are embedded in general classroom practice through the use of partner talk and well-planned and facilitated discussions. However, we also stretch our students beyond this with opportunities to develop their language further through high quality texts, drama and debating in KS2.

Olga Primary School is developing its oracy focus across the school. We are part of the Oracy Hub led by voice 21 and we have been embedding oracy across our curriculum. In each classroom you will find our oracy guidelines to support the children to understand how to communicate effectively.


Children build on oracy skills throughout their time at Olga. Our aim is for our children to become confident and articulate to enable them to achieve all the possibilities available to them.


Early reading and early language development:

As stated in the Early Reading Framework (2021), becoming a fluent reader begins at the earliest stages, before children even encounter a book, through the quality of their parents’ talk and the subsequent development of their vocabulary. We therefore prioritise high quality talk in Early Years and Key Stage 1 through a number of schemes/approaches:

  • High quality, vocabulary rich texts
  • NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) is an intervention designed to improve listening, narrative and vocabulary skills for target children (identified through an assessment of the entire year group). It is a 20 week intervention for Reception pupils, found to be highly effective by the EEF.
  • Colourful Semantics Colourful semantics is a targeted approach to support children with their sentence building and to teach them about sentence structure. It was developed by Alison Bryan
  • Pie Corbett: The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.

Children in Key Stage 2 are given the opportunity to join debating club where they develop not only the language skills but their confidence to analyse, reason, argue and present.

Writing at Olga consists of two parts

  1. transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  2. composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)

Pupils need to be competent in both these areas in order to become successful writers. In addition, pupils at Olga are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.

Children in KS1 are taught to 'think it, say it, write it, read it.' An emphasis on orally rehearsing sentences, through oracy, drama, and partner talk helps children develop their ideas before putting pen to paper. As pupils move through the school they develop their composition skills, eventually producing independent writing and developing their own, unique voice.

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and, in KS2, understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. Children are taught to develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, of their writing, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar throughout their time at Olga. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and speedy handwriting, which is taught in daily sessions.

Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from daily story times, topic lessons, and guided reading sessions. As vocabulary increases, so does pupils' understanding of the relationships between words, nuances in meaning. Partner talk and Oracy lessons allow pupils opportunities to put recently learned vocabulary into practice before using it in their writing.  


When we enable children to spell, and spell with confidence we equip them with a life skill.  At Olga Primary School we provide a spelling curriculum designed to:

  • Make the partnership between ‘phonics’ teaching and ‘spelling strategies’ explicitly clear.
  • Systematically build up children’s understanding and knowledge of the relationship between letters and sounds.
  • Enthuse and engage children to explore spelling strategies through practical and hands on taught sessions.
  • Teach the children to make links between alternative pronunciation and spelling, so that they can make informed opinions on spelling choices.
  • Equip children with a range of skills and approaches to tackle the spelling of unfamiliar words.
  • Give children the confidence to communicate and use words.


The spelling curriculum at Olga Primary School will be implemented across:

  • Daily phonic sessions across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. Sessions will include opportunities to revisit and review, teach, practise and apply.
  • Direct sessions in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 focusing on practising specific spellings patterns (following our spelling curriculum).

The Handwriting scheme we use at Olga takes the children on a journey to cursive writing through the progressive stages of handwriting outlined in the National Curriculum. By learning to form the letters correctly and identifying the different letter 'families', children will develop the flicks and joins needed for smooth, fluent, and continuous writing as they move through the school. Handwriting is taught every day through a variety of exercises and activities, and high quality presentation is expected across the curriculum at Olga. In KS2 children will have the opportunity to earn their pen license. 


EYFS/KS1 Handwriting Scheme