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At Derry Hill we are passionate about reading and writing. We understand that English is a vital way of communicating as well as a way of expressing ourselves creatively. Competence in English is a life skill, which we develop, not only in English lessons but throughout the whole of our curriculum. We strive to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Children take pride in the work they produce and leave Derry Hill with a love of writing and an ability to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word.


Children at Derry Hill will:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often for both pleasure and information
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and a knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literacy heritage
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of purposes and audiences
  • Be competent in the art of speaking and listening
  • Develop a love of writing



Children leaving Derry Hill will be confident, enthusiastic writers who can express themselves in a variety of different styles and across a variety of contexts, our teaching of writing is cross circular and linked to our class topics. This provides our children with regular and real opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Writing tasks are specific and meaningful, and often meet a purpose to engage children and to illustrate how their writing can be applied to real life contexts. We ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age group. Punctuation and Grammar is taught within writing lessons or as a discrete session and spellings are taught using Spelling Shed. The children have opportunities to practise these within class and at home, competing with each other and challenging themselves. Stand-alone handwriting sessions are delivered on a weekly basis using the Pen Pals handwriting scheme.


At Derry Hill Primary School, we are passionate about teaching children to read. Reading helps develop children’s vocabulary, their writing and their spelling. Reading gives children access to the wider curriculum and enriches their lives. It is our intention that all children leave the school as confident and competent readers. We use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, Ginn and Rigby Star. We also have access to an online library of books to use with iPads for individual and guided reading. These give a variety of fiction and non-fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books. Every child has a book from school to read at home. These are changed once a week.


At Derry Hill, you will see:

  • Learners that develop and build upon their writing skills year-on-year.
  • Stimulating classroom environments, which inspire staff and pupils to explore the skills of language.
  • An engaging English curriculum accessible for all abilities.
  • Exciting pieces of writing, ranging in purpose and audience.
  • Cross-curricular opportunities provided to extend pupils’ knowledge of the world around them.
  • Enjoyable literacy experiences provided both in and out of school

Click on our English at Derry Hill Gallery to see some of our wonderful work in English. 

Support for parents - Reading

At Derry Hill we strive to get children excited about books and stories and develop a love of reading. The Book Trust’s Great Books Guide 2021 provides a list of books for different ages.  The list contains a mixture of titles that are silly, scary, informative and moving (and everything in between).  They believe that the right book is always the book the child wants to read.  Please select your child’s  age from the links below.

Recommended books for 4-5 year olds

Recommended books for 6-7 year olds

Recommended books for 8-9 year olds

Recommended books for 10-11 year olds

Recommended books for 12+


Follow the link below to encourage children to read for pleasure

Encouraging children to read

Oxford Owl is a brilliant website with lots of tips, activities and recommendations for encouraging reading

Oxford Owl

Support for Parents – Writing

Oxford Owl have produced some wonderful information to help you support your child with their writing during their time at primary school.  Follow the links below to find an overview of what is taught in each year, with information, support, and activities.

Year 1 (Mole Class)

Year 2 (Hedgehog Class)

Year 3 (Squirrel Class)

Year 4 (Rabbit Class)

Year 5 (Fox Class)

Year 6 (Owl Class)