Soho Parish Primary

Soho Parish Primary

Book Week


At Soho Parish we place a great emphasis on the importance of reading and children’s engagement with texts. We use a range of guided reading schemes and each class has its own library, with a range of books which children can borrow as home-readers. Children are also welcome to bring in their own books.

In addition, we have a main school library which classes visit regularly. Our older children also do buddy-reading with younger children to help them to learn to read.

Finally, to engage children further we run an annual Book Week (see gallery above) which celebrates all things bookish through a range of fun activities such as Drop Everything And Read and Dress up as a Character Day.



We begin a structured phonics programme in the Early Years using the Sounds Write scheme of work and through to Key Stage 1. 

For more information, please visit here


The programme is designed to provide all practitioners with a clear understanding of how the English alphabet code works. We show how to teach it in carefully structured, sequential steps from simple CVC words like sat to very much more complex, five- and six-syllable words like personification. It is designed for the teaching of discrete, daily sessions, progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering all the major sound/spelling correspondences. We believe that the alphabetic principle is also taught most successfully by engaging young learners in vigorous, interactive and enjoyable phonics activities that are also situated within a language-rich curriculum.

Teaching the Initial Code

At the start of the programme, simple, one sound/one spelling, one-syllable, CVC words only are introduced. As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is increased to four-, five- and six-sound words of the structure CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC/CCCVCC, before introducing the most common consonant digraphs.

The Sounds-Write programme teaches pupils to understand the way the alphabet code works. Very often, in the early stages of learning to read and spell, because of the complexity of the code, pupils will not be able to spell some sounds by using the correct spellings. However, pupils taught using Sounds-Write will be able to write almost anything they want to write by using plausible (phonetic) spellings for sounds. In this way, pupils, teachers and parents can read anything the pupil has written. As they progress through Key Stage 1, pupils learn systematically how words are spelled in English. This ability to express oneself in writing from the start of school gives children enormous confidence, which naturally feeds back into the other kinds of learning taking place within the school curriculum.

The Extended Code and Polysyllabic Words

Thereafter, from Y1 onwards, all the remaining common vowel and consonant sound to spelling correspondences are taught until all the common spellings for the forty-four sounds in English have been covered. In parallel with this, pupils are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, progressing from two-syllable to five- and six-syllable words.

A multi-sensory programme

Throughout, Sounds~Write promotes the use of multi-sensory engagement with the materials pupils are working with in a manner that is commensurate with the level and abilities of the children being taught. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities are at all times combined simultaneously to promote learning.

In addition to being multi-sensory, the Sounds-Write programme has pace and utilises an array of stimulating lessons and resources. It also enables practitioners to differentiate the challenges placed before the learner in order to meet their individual needs.

Alongside this the children learn high frequency words or ‘tricky words’ which cannot be sounded out or are words with sounds that the children haven’t learnt yet.

In Key Stage Two, if children still struggle with reading then the phonics programme will continue as necessary.

All families joining us in Reception are given information with the phonemes (sounds) and our Early Years team will lead a session for parents explaining how our phonics scheme works and parents can best support their child/ren at home.



From Reception onwards children read at least weekly to a teacher or teaching support staff using a wide range of exciting reading resources.

As well as individual class book corners & a well-stocked school library, we use a selection of guided reading books including the Oxford Reading Tree series and the synthetic phonics Alphablocks series.

As children become more proficient at reading we develop their skills beyond simply decoding the words and focus on teaching specific reading skills. Children may focus on inference, skimming and scanning the text, finding the meaning of words, or deducing what is happening in the story.

While Guided Reading is taking place other children in the class may be working with another adult or doing other reading-based activities.  If children struggle with reading, interventions are put into place to ensure rapid progress is made.



Through our topic-based curriculum, we try to ensure that children are engaged and enthusiastic about writing across a variety of subjects and genres, and writing is celebrated through published work, displays and awards at every possible moment.

Teachers plan creatively and use cross-curricular links to ensure that children have a solid experience of all text types. Different genres are covered by different year groups and selected wherever possible to fit in with their topics.

In addition to learning the features of different genres, children are gradually taught the skills of writing throughout a unit, for example building up the children’s knowledge of a variety of ambitious vocabulary, understanding the use of connectives and openers and how it affects the sentence structure as well as using punctuation correctly and for effect.

Children gradually work through smaller writing tasks over the unit, building up to a published outcome at the end, for example a story based in a historical setting, a Dinosaur fact-book or a letter to an MP.



Year 6 SATS now include a spelling, punctuation and grammar test. These skills are taught through a combination of specific short focus lessons and as part of their regular English lessons.



We have high expectations for handwriting in all subjects and we expect published work to be of a high standard.

In Reception the children are taught to form printed letters correctly using cursive handwriting. In Year One the children are encouraged to write on the line, begin to make their handwriting smaller, using finger spaces so that their work can be clearly read. In Year One and Two the children who are ready are taught how to join up their writing and by the end of Year Two it is expected that most children will be joining up in all their work.  In Key Stage Two the aim is for all children to be writing in a neat cursive style by starting the join on the line.

More details can be found in our handwriting policy here.



Talk is vital to improving children’s literacy skills. In class we always encourage children to speak in full sentences and to take part in discussions or debates. Examples include our annual class hustings for school councillor elections, where every candidate must prepare and deliver a speech; elections for school guides and our recent General Election.

We also place a strong emphasis on drama, with a variety of projects happening across the school at any one time. Examples include our long-running Year 3 Primary Shakespeare project and an annual play-writing & performing collaboration with Soho Theatre as well as opera projects with the ENO.  We also have many in-school performances throughout the year including termly class assemblies, music concerts and an International Evening.

Above all, we encourage our children how to speak and listen to each other in a respectful way.