Reading is always a key focus at Ben Jonson Primary School, it is taught from day one and is at the heart of our curriculum. We want to enable all of our children to become skilled and confident readers.

We use the Read Write Inc phonics programme to teach early reading.  Phonic skills are essential for the decoding of and spelling of words. The children are taught to develop their knowledge of spelling patterns and how to apply grammar rules during daily, systematic and enjoyable sessions.  It is our aim that by the end of Key Stage 1 the children will have developed fluent word reading skills and have a good foundation in spelling and comprehension.

Comprehension skills are a huge aspect of reading and these skills are developed through whole class reading lessons, whole class story sessions and one to one reading. Adults read with all children on a regular basis to help them secure their word reading and comprehension skills. During reading lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to secure the core elements of reading: summarising, vocabulary work, questioning, inference and prediction skills.

All children take home reading books. Children at Ben Jonson are encouraged to read at home daily and record the reading that they do at home in their reading records. We have a library filled with a wide range of reading books to match the needs, ability and interests of the children at Ben Jonson Primary School. Through our Reading Canons, we motivate and encourage children to read high quality texts.  We want our children to become proficient readers to enable them to access all areas of the curriculum and so that the children can develop a lifelong passion for reading.

Throughout the year we promote reading widely by holding a book fair, celebrating World Book Day, inviting special guests to inspire our pupils and have book clubs.


At Ben Jonson Primary School, it is our aim for the children to develop the necessary skills needed in order to communicate effectively in their spoken and written language.  We aim to teach these skills by providing experiences in speaking and writing opportunities which engage and excite our children to communicate both verbally and in the written form, whilst also opening them up to experience and value different cultures and history, and ignite curiosity in the world around them. 

Each term, each year group focuses on a range of rich and diverse texts in order to create opportunities for cultivating a rich vocabulary and both technical and compositional skills in writing, ensuring that all our children write for a range of different purposes and audiences. This aim for our pupils is supported by the links between the English curriculum and the wider curriculum on offer at Ben Jonson Primary School.


Our children are taught handwriting through the use of the Penpals for Handwriting programme.  Penpals for Handwriting is a complete handwriting scheme, offering clear progression through five developmental stages. It teaches children a fast and fluent handwriting style to help them achieve their potential in writing. The children are encouraged to write neatly and present their work to a high standard in all curriculum areas. Children that have developed their own consistently neat style of writing are awarded a pen license in Key Stage 2.

Speaking and Listening

Having good communication skills are an important life skill and enable the children to better access all areas of the curriculum.  Speaking and listening skills are taught and integrated into our English lessons where speaking frames are used, when necessary, to help children formulate appropriate and well-structured verbal responses as well as ‘good’ listening skills being referred to and encouraged within lessons. Drama is used to support and encourage the speaking and listening skills our pupils are taught.

What will our children be able to do when they leave us?

Our goal is that children will leave Ben Jonson as avid readers with a genuine love of reading, articulate and confident communicators. Children will read fluently and confidently and, as a result of the literature they have been exposed to, they will have developed culturally, intellectually, emotionally and socially.  Children are empowered by a high-quality, structured and creative English curriculum so that they can communicate not just ideas, but also emotions and concepts to others. Our children understand the need to adapt how they communicate according to their audience and purpose. Our children leave us understanding the process involved in writing effectively: how to plan, to draft and to edit before being ready to publish. Our children will have a genuine love of language and the written word, writing independently and recognising what a powerful tool writing can be. Ultimately, they know that reading and writing can be used to widen their own experiences and make the world a better place to be.

Ben Jonson’s Writer in Residence

David Lucas

As an author-illustrator, I have published 20 children’s books, translated into 12 languages, and I am currently writing a YA (Young Adult) fantasy novel in my spare time. I am a class teacher at Ben Jonson Primary School. My move into teaching was a natural development of my many years as a visiting author, and my work with literacy charities like CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education). My best stories are about the search for meaning and belonging, and I have always felt that I had a vocation for teaching – helping others find meaning and direction in their lives.As a teacher, writer and artist, I have a particular interest in the way children view the world, how at ease they are with metaphor and symbolism, and how they are so often far more imaginative than adults. A key role for teachers is to recognise that spark. ​www.davidlucas.org.uk


 Useful Information:   

Ben Jonson Reading Canon   Information on Read Write Inc  Books your child will read in school  Reception high frequency words
Books read by staff members

Top tips for home reading

Oxford Owl website (includes free ebooks)  Books for Topics website