At Kestrel Mead we love to read and write! We believe that language is developed through being exposed to rich vocabulary and quality texts. Therefore, we take a ‘Novel Study’ approach to the teaching of English. 

Early Years and Year 1 use ALS Phonics, Shared Reading and Shared Writing in English lessons. We read a range of books including Big Books that help us to use our Phonic knowledge and then our reading and writing outcomes are based around the Book. We incorporate ‘Talk for Writing’ into our sessions, so children have plenty of time to get to know a story and develop their listening, speaking and language skills. It also encourages them to become confident speakers and performers. We also encourage writing for pleasure and so have a range of writing resources available around our learning environments. 

At the beginning of Year 2, as part of transition, we focus on alternative traditional tales, before moving onto the Novel Study approach like the juniors. Children in Year 3 to 6 follow the Novel Study approach to English. The text is explored through the use of immersive learning experiences, drama, speaking and listening activities, language development, grammar sessions and reading activities. All of these then lead up to a carefully planned writing outcome that the children get to draft, edit, and improve and then polish. We encourage the children to continually make improvements as authors never use their first draft. Polished writing can come in many different forms including podcasts, videos, leaflets or writing for a display. 

Grammar sessions are embedded into our Novel Study teaching sequence. Children are taught the grammar and punctuation which is relevant to their year groups and the writing outcome they are working towards. These sessions are mostly collaborative, allowing children the opportunity to explore and apply various grammar skills. 

Spellings are key part of our writing journey at Kestrel Mead. Throughout their time with us, children are explicitly taught how to spell key words and apply various spelling rules. Weekly spellings are given to children in line with the National Curriculum expectations. In Year Reception and Year 1, the children also learn spellings that link to the phonics they are learning in class. 

From Year 2 through to Year 6, we use Spelling Shed which is a scheme that provides children with a progression of spellings. Each child has their own login that allows them to practice online at home and school through different games. Children complete a weekly spelling test on a Friday. 

We ask that you support your child in learning their spellings in preparation for weekly spelling tests. This helps children become more confident and creative when they are producing writing to share with others. 

We love reading at Kestrel Mead. 

Children at the infants have many opportunities to read throughout their school day. We focus on whole class, small group sessions and independent reading within the provision. The children have opportunities to choose books to read for pleasure and we aim to read stories at least three times within every school day. Children take home a levelled reading book and a library book, which are both changed weekly. In Reception and Year 1, children also have a phonically decodable book every week that links to the sounds they are learning in class. 

Children at the juniors also have lots of opportunities to read through class shared reading sessions, group guided reading sessions and reading for pleasure. Children take home a levelled reading book and a reading for pleasure book each week. When children are ready at the juniors, they move onto Accelerated reader, this allows children to read a variety of books and take quizzes to test their knowledge and understanding of the book. 

We also encourage reading for pleasure at home through our STAR reader and Accelerated reader incentives. 

If you have any questions about the English curriculum, please see Mrs Brown or Miss James 


Trips and Enrichments

Our Reading Area

Artwork Celebrating our class novels

Reading Corners

Our Books


Picture books: I love Animals – Flora Mcdonnell, Rosie’s Walk – Pat Hutchinson, Come on Daisy! – Jane Simmons , Mixed – Arree Chung, Super Duper You – Sophy Henn, The Train Ride – Jane Crebbin, Mrs Wishy Washy – Joy Cowley

Traditional Tales: Goldilocks and the three bears, The three little pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Nursery Rhymes: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Incy Wincy Spider, Humpty Dumpty


Picture books: Monster pet – Jan Pienkowski, Whatever Next! – Jill Murphy, Perfectly Norman – , Handa’s Surprise – Eileen Brown, I looked through my window – Michaela Morgan, How to catch a star – Oliver Jeffers, Kakadu Jack – Brenda Parkes

Traditional Tales: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gingerbread Man

Poetry: Room on the broom – Julia Donaldson, Zim Zam Zoom – James Carter

Year 1

Picture books: Yum Yuk – , Billy’s Bucket – Kas Gray and Garry Parsons, Ada Twist and the Scientist – Andrea Beaty, Our Whale Watching Trip – Vicky Graham, On The Way Home – Jill Murphy , The Runaway Pizza – Brenda Parkes , Lubna and the Pebble – Wendy Meddour , The way back home – Oliver Jeffers,

Traditional Tales: The Three Little Pigs, The Enormous Turnip, Little Red Riding Hood

Poetry: The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright, Ian Bland

Each Year group also gets to select 3 choices of text across the year, focussing on children’s interests.

Every child is exposed to many more stories across story times, guided reading and through the learning environment.

Year 2

Picture books: The Dragon Machine, Amazing Grace, Into the Forest, Alternative traditional tales

Novels: The Owl who was afraid of the dark, The Accidental Prime Minister

Poetry: The Magic Box – Kit Wright, Ning, Nang, Nong – Leigh Hodgkinson, Granny is – Valerie Bloom

Year 3

Picture books: Leon and the place between, Lost Happy Endings, What we’ll build, Here we are

Novels: The Iron Man, Me and Mister P, The Griffin Gate

Poetry: The World Awaits – Tomos Roberts, My dog likes to disco – Kenn Nesbitt, The Sound Collector – Roger McGough

Year 4

Picture books: Wisp: A story of hope, Atlas of adventures

Novels: The Wild Robot, Asha and the Spirit Bird, The Storm Keepers Island

Poetry: Still I Rise – Maya Angelou, From a Railway Carriage – Robert Louis Stevenson, The Listeners – Walter De La Mere

Year 5

Picture books: Sometimes People March

Film study: Soul

Novels: No Ballet Shoes in Syria, The Night Bus Hero, Malamander

Poetry: If – Rudyard Kipling, The Undefeated – Kwame Alexander, Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll

Year 6

Picture books: Rose Blanche, Romeo and Juliet

Novels: Letters from the Lighthouse, Deadly Dare, Trash

Poetry: Not – Erin Hanson, I dream a world – Langston Hughes

Subject Champion/s
Clare James

Subject Leader/s
Lauren Brown