At Elmhurst, we teach literacy through a number of different strategies and across a wide range of subjects. Some aspects of the literacy curriculum are taught through discrete literacy lessons; others are taught through cross-curricular approaches. The reading curriculum is delivered through a combination of guided reading sessions, shared reading and independent, individual reading.

All children take part in whole-class guided reading sessions led by the teacher. These focus on the skills of comprehension through the model of VIPERS – Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising. Shared reading happens both at the whole class and group level and encourages the children to see reading for information as an integral way to gain further insight into the topics they are studying. All children have access both to the school library and to class book corners during independent reading sessions. These are designed to encourage reading for pleasure and stock is refreshed on a termly basis to allow access to a wide range of high-quality children’s literature. Those children who need extra support with their reading use the Letters and Sounds programme to help them develop their phonic knowledge. This takes place either as a one to one intervention or as part of a small group depending on the needs of the individual child. We use a variety of reading scheme books that support the delivery of the letters and sounds programme. 

The writing curriculum is delivered through units of work based on high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts. Talk for writing principles that encourage children to learn writing through the stages of imitation and innovation as stepping stones to independent writing are also used. Children learn, through the use of high-quality model texts, how different genres work both in terms of the overall structure and in terms of the language patterns that make them distinctive. This allows for an integrated approach to grammar teaching as the skills of sentence structure are taught within the context of an overall piece of writing. Grammar may also be taught through discrete top-up lessons where appropriate.

Writing is a focus across all subjects at Elmhurst – we look for as many opportunities for both short and extended writing tasks as possible outside of the literacy curriculum and expect children to apply the skills they have been taught. Spelling is taught discretely using the scheme of work produced by Spelling Shed and is delivered through a weekly spelling lesson and follow up work on a daily basis.

Take a look at each of the year group pages to find out more about the year group specifics.

Elmhurst writers 2020

We have worked very hard over the last few years to improve the standard of writing across the school and are very proud of the children and their achievements.

Here are some particularly impressive pieces of work.

Phoenix by Lena Eva (y5)

“That night, I had been going to the fish and chip shop to get some food. The high street was strangely quiet and I paused to watch the sun setting behind tower two. Glancing up at the sky, the glittering silver stars pierced the grey mist in the midnight velvet dusk. Aries One seemed larger than normal, glowing red, scorching like a harsh fiery eye watching and waiting. The whole universe, hundreds of galaxies linked together, still in breathless silence. Looking at the screen on my phone, I walked round a corner heading home towards my small apartment. There was a group of groundlings loitering by the cycle-charge station. I knew I was in deep trouble as soon as I spotted them. They were waiting for a fight and I could see it even at a long distance. One of them was staring at a screen on a wall of the apartment block – images of people being carried on stretchers, thousands of hopeless eyes standing, staring.”

Writing by Ava Warren (y3) based on the book, ‘The Lost Happy Endings.’

Templeton jumped. An unwanted goblin with wrinkled skin stood in front of her. ‘What’s in that lovely bag?’ ‘Please could you let me pass said Templeton?’ The odious, hag-ridden goblin grasped her by the arm and spat purple spittle in her face. Templeton fell back. The evil goblin took the sack of voices. Faster than fury he disappeared into the distance. She lay on the leaves and quietly wept away. The next morning, the village was completely silent. The only voice that could be heard was the nasty goblin’s.

The lost items by Emily Carombayenin (y3) – a small section of a long story!

Then she climbed up a palm tree on the beach, opened the bag and some dreams flew away like seagulls, while others flew like fireflies. They all reached the adults and children on time. The tide was coming in, splashing up Emily’s boots. The clouds were grey; I think it may rain tonight Emily thought to herself. The waves were splashing and crashing like a hand trying to grab the beach. It made Emily shiver.

“I think I’m going back home now,” said Emily.

Just as she turned to go back, somebody behind her said, “Hello my small child!”

Emily jumped. the creepy voice had made her nervous and worried. An angry wizard ran in front of her.

“What’s in that sack, my stupid girl?”

“Let me pass!” said Emily, politely.

The mean wizard grabbed hold of her arm. His arm stung like stinging nettles.

Helina and the Heiden by Sidney Cady (y4) – a small section of the story

Not long after, Helina stood next to the pitch black ravine, forged by the monster, in the centre of the desert. Though they were far away, Helina could smell the sickening stench of poisoned, scorched bodies. From further up the man-made landscape, she could hear rumbling and growling, obviously caused by the Heiden.

The Egyptian goddess, Hesat, offered the young maiden a golden retriever, named Rover, and a small sword made of pure silver, laden with rubies in the handle. She stroked Helina’s hair and gently encouraged, “Good luck, Helina. We’ll be there if you can believe!”

How to Make a Mummy – Bryce Philips (y6) and Arthur Oakley (y6) – extracts from their brilliant instructions.

Firstly, wash the body carefully using palm oil and water from The River Nile. Then, place the body on a slanted table letting the fluids slowly drain into a bucket.
Next, take the organs out of the body except for the heart because this helps them travel to the afterlife; there they will live a happy life.
After that, poke a long hook up the nose of the dead body, smash the brain and tip the body up to allow the slushy mess to come streaming out!

Next, slide the silver hook into their nose accessing the head. Once you have accessed the head, break the skull and you should be in the brain. After you move around the hook the brain should be liquefied. Then position the body on an oak wood slanted table; this will allow all the brain liquid to seep through the nose.
After that, dissect the torso and take out the stomach, liver, intestines and the lungs and place the stomach in a jar with a jackal’s head (Duamatef). Place the liver in a jar with a human’s head. Position the intestines in a jar with a falcon’s head (Imsety). Finally, plot the lungs in a jar with a  baboon’s head (Hapi).

Suspense by Dylan (y5)

Walking from the gadget shop with a smile on his face, Frollix had just tricked someone into giving him free tools. Suddenly, he stopped! He saw a V shape in the sky. An icy chill ran down his back.

How to Polish a Unicorn’s horn – Oscar (y3) – an excerpt

Does your unicorn have dirty horns and is your unicorn’s horn dull all around it’s horn? Polishing a unicorn’s head is a terribly risky job. Don’t worry, these instructions will get your unicorn’s horn sparkling beautifully.

What you need:

Some shoe polish, tissues, sponge, a bucket of water, some liquid cleaner and a hair dryer. These things light also help: a pair of gloves and a treat.

Help with reading at home:


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