At Bessemer Grange, the study of English is used to develop the children’s skills and abilities in speaking and listening, reading and writing in order that the children become confident and competent in communicating their ideas across a range of different contexts and for a variety of purposes.

Speaking and Listening

Children at Bessemer Grange develop their speaking and listening skills across the curriculum. We use Philosophy for Children as a means of providing the children with thought provoking stimuli aimed at encouraging high level thinking and engagement. We follow and adapt Dramatic Progress in Literacy units where the children are immersed in a text and rehearse their writing through talk and performance.


At Bessemer Grange, we use the National Curriculum as a basis for planning our lessons. Lessons are taught through the use of high quality texts which are often linked to the half-termly topic. The teaching sequence begins with the immersion of the children within the text through the use of an engaging starting point, drama, speaking and listening activities, and gathering initial ideas. Word and sentence level skills are then taught and developed in the context of the text with the children then applying these skills by writing a variety of different text types. This includes through teacher modelling, supported and shared writing, and task-led independent writing. At the end of each unit, children are given the opportunity to use the taught structures and skills by producing their own piece of independent writing.


Children at Bessemer Grange have the opportunity to read daily through guided reading sessions lasting 30 minutes. Each guided reading group is supported by an adult twice weekly to develop their comprehension skills and book talk. We use a combination of reading schemes including Collins Big Cat, Rigby Star and PM Benchmark. Children also have the opportunity to read high quality chapter and picture books, e-books, real-life non-fiction texts and topic books linked to their learning. They also use the class’ headphones to listen to different stories by a number of famous authors. Guided Reading sessions are taught discretely outside of the English lesson.

We are subscribed to First News and allow the children the opportunity to read and respond to texts using laptops through Reading Eggs. Children are able to access the Reading Eggs program at home and can access texts that are specifically catered to their ability.

Each week, the children are provided with a levelled Collins Big Cat reading book to take home alongside a book that they select from the book corner. We use a home-school communication book to record observations of children’s reading and to inform parents of the progress of the children’s reading in school. We also reward children with stickers, wristbands, bookmarks and prizes from the lucky dip when they read at home.

Every term, each class will have the opportunity to visit Dulwich Library. During their session, they will enjoy listening to a fantastic story, and get to choose their own books to read in school!

We also have authors who visit the school, to tell us about their new books and give us advice about writing and illustrating our own stories!

What a huge success Book Week was! Well done to all of our competition winners, who designed fantastic bookmarks, book covers, bunting and wrote compelling book reviews. Also well done to everyone who helped us to raise money for our school by dressing up as their favourite book character!

Have a look at us dressed up!

Also for Book Week, many children designed a book cover, book mark, bunting, or wrote a review for their favourite book. The winning entries received a certificate in assembly and won a brand new book from the Book Fair! Congratulations to all of our winners!

We had an amazing time on World Book Day too! We dressed as one character per year group and some of us won prizes for our costumes! We were also visited by authors, who shared their stories with us and helped us to create our own characters.

Reading workshops

KS1 parent workshops are delivered by phase leaders in order to develop a shared understanding of reading and to support the development of reading at home.

Reading Diary Comment tips

Book recommendations for different ages


In KS1, phonics is taught daily for a period of 25 minutes. We have combined the Codebreakers Phonic Scheme alongside Letters and Sounds to create a program tailored to the needs of the children within our school. Phonics is taught through the modelling of sounds, visual clues, actions and repetition. Early Years and KS1 Phonics workshops are delivered to parents to develop a shared understanding of what the children are learning in school.

Helpful Phonics Websites for Parents


In Early Years and KS1, spelling is embedded within phonics lessons, as well as taught discretely in English lessons. Additionally, the children learn spelling patterns and rules through high quality texts during their English lessons. In KS2, we have introduced a ‘Spelling Bee’ where the children are taught different spelling patterns and rules weekly. These are modelled through common words related to each spelling pattern with the children then having to apply the spelling rules to unknown words. Children who regularly perform well at applying the spelling rules then compete in the Spelling Bee Finals.



Handwriting is taught daily for a period of 10 to 15 minutes using the Letter-join Handwriting Scheme. In Early Years and KS1 handwriting is taught alongside phonics, while in KS2 handwriting is embedded alongside word level work. Click on the link below to access the Letter-join Scheme. letterjoinLetter Join