Our Intent for Reading

At Cold Harbour, reading is a priority.  We are relentless in our approach to ensuring our pupils learn to read and keep reading.  We deliver daily reading sessions across the school where all children are taught to read and comprehend text.

Our reading journey begins with Ruth Miskin’s phonic programme, Read, Write, Inc. (RWI).  We are passionate this scheme and work with Ruth Miskin’s RWI trainers throughout the year to ensure we implement high-quality, daily RWI sessions where pupils learn to read well within groups targeted to their individual needs and ability.

Below you will find our Early Reading Progression document which sets out expectations of progress for children if they have followed the RWI programme from Reception.  All children should achieve these expectations; others may well be in advance of this.  The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year Two. However, some children may need extra support and will remain on the RWI programme until they can achieve our goal where they are able to:

  1. Work out unfamiliar words quickly – including new vocabulary and names.
  2. Read familiar words speedily – that is, words they have been taught.
  3. Read texts – including the words they have been taught – fluently.

When children are secure with their phonic knowledge and have developed a fluent and competent pace with word reading, children are taught to further develop their comprehension skills and understanding of vocabulary using Reading VIPERS.

In Reading VIPER sessions, children are taught one key reading skill each week.  They are taught the skill using explicit modelling through an ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach.

In addition to daily reading lessons, we use interventions for children who require further support with reading, which are implemented by Class Teachers, Teaching Assistants or HLTAs, and we have recruited reading volunteers to hear children read in the afternoons.

We are determined to ensure that all pupils at Cold Harbour gain the fundamental skills of being able to read words and understand what they have read.  This is important because:

  •         Children who read widely and often get better at it!
  •         Reading exercises our brain – it strengthens and builds new connections.
  •         Reading improves concentration.
  •         Reading teaches children about the world around them.
  •         Reading improves vocabulary and language skills.
  •         It develops a child’s imagination and helps them to develop empathy.
  •         It is a great way to spend time together.
  •         Studies show that children who read, achieve better in school.  Reading promotes achievement in ALL subjects, therefore children who are good readers tend to achieve more across the curriculum.

For this reason, we are working hard at Cold Harbour to motivate our pupils to read regularly at home.  We use reading workshops in the Autumn Term to provide guidance on how to read with children at home and we set the expectation that children read their school reading book aloud at least four times a week.  Individual reading records are monitored weekly and children are rewarded with class dojos for reading regularly at home.

As well as developing the skills of reading, it is important to us to instil a love of reading.  Children enjoy weekly visits to the library where they are hooked into new books by our school librarian who leads a reading for pleasure session and children are invited to take a book home to enjoy.  We also celebrate our love of reading through whole-school events such as ‘World Book Day’, book fair visits and reading across the curriculum.

Our Intent for Writing

At Cold Harbour School, the curriculum for writing is designed to enable children to become creative, independent and motivated writers who can express their knowledge, thoughts and imagination through legible, cursive handwriting.  

Our journey begins in the EYFS where children learn the first most important skills of how to hold a pencil correctly and learn to form letters.  It is here where they will learn to write their first words and how words combine to make sentences.  We strive to develop a love of writing from the start and encourage children to write by providing purposeful writing activities.  

From Key Stage One and throughout Key Stage Two, we deliver the English National Curriculum through a Writing model that combines objectives within: writing, reading and spelling, punctuation and grammar.  The aim of this approach is to teach and embed learning techniques, providing pupils the opportunity to make links in their learning by analysing texts and practising using word/sentence level skills in a variety of contexts.  

The principles of the writing model are to:

  • Implement a structured approach to teaching writing, where children build stamina for writing by regularly completing extended pieces.
  • Provide opportunities for children to read and respond to texts as models for writing.
  • Plan for connections to be made across objectives to facilitate and embed new learning e.g. teaching a grammar objective that will then be analysed in a text and implemented into pupil writing.
  • Use individual writing targets to personalise learning and challenge all pupils to make progress in writing.
  • Adapt planning due to assessment of learning and/or assessment for learning.
  • Make reading and writing experiences more purposeful and cross-curricular e.g. school trip recounts, letters to Pen pals/fundraising, take advantage of real moments such as thunderstorms, snow etc.
  • Model and scaffold – to guide children through their writing and reading experiences.
  • Widen vocabulary with rich and powerful language.
  • Provide children with the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and to support their work with a variety of resources, such as dictionaries and thesauruses.  


To ensure that our writing curriculum drives pupil progress, we have worked as a team to create our own Writing Progression Maps.  These maps organise learning outcomes to set clear teaching and assessment points which build from term to term, year on year, to make certain that our pupils know more and remember more over time.  

Our Intent for Handwriting

‘With Handwriting, good teaching lasts a lifetime!’ (NHA, 2005)

At Cold Harbour we believe that handwriting is a fundamental skill.  Children need to be able to write without thinking about how to write, this enables them to concentrate on what to write.   Handwriting is a skill like reading, spelling and mathematics, which must be taught to enable children the opportunity to become automatic writers in order to access all forms of written communication across the curriculum.  Our aim is for every child to develop a legible and fluent style of handwriting which can be used at speed.  

In order to meet our aim, we follow national guidance to ensure children are first taught to form letters without a lead-in from the line so as to not provide unnecessary difficulty for beginners.  However, cursive script is introduced as soon as the children have mastered correct formation of lower-case letters and are ready.  We promote the use of cursive script for the following reasons:

  •  By making each letter or word in one movement, children’s hands develop a ‘physical memory’ of it, making it easier to produce the correct shape and therefore supports the learning of spelling.
  • Because letters and words flow from left to right, children are less likely to reverse letters which are typically difficult (such as b/d or p/q).
  • The continuous flow of writing ultimately improves speed and spelling.
  • It is recommended by the British Dyslexia Foundation as the best method of handwriting for children with Dyslexia.

We understand that handwriting is a movement skill and thus best taught by demonstration, explanation and practice.  For this reason, we follow a systematic and consistent approach of good teaching, modelling and practise of Handwriting from Reception to Year Six.  


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For Information on how to contact us see below:

Cold Harbour School
Highland Close
Bletchley, Milton Keynes

Phone: 01908 270 377

Email: office@coldharbour.milton-keynes.sch.uk

If you have any comments or queries please contact Mrs Julie Prosser, Business Support Manager - office@coldharbour.milton-keynes.sch.uk or 01908 270377 Option 4 and she will be happy to help.


Our SENCo is Mrs Michelle Laskey, she can be contacted on office@coldharbour.milton-keynes.sch.uk or 01908 270377 Option 4


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