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English at Cookham Dean


Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


We aim for our pupils to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
  • every child achieves their true potential in every subject which is underpinned by their understanding of the English language, both written and spoken.


At Cookham Dean we encourage all children to become independent, active and resilient learners and be confident in all strands of their learning.

Reading at Cookham Dean


The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to read  fluently, understand extended prose and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Reading is singled out as of extreme importance since through it ‘pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually’ (p13) Reading allows pupils to ‘acquire knowledge’ and to ‘build on what they already know’ (p13).


The National Curriculum divides reading skills into two dimensions:


  • Word reading/ decoding
  • Comprehension


We recognise that both these elements are essential to success and that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, writing, grammar and vocabulary.


In Early Years and Key Stage One pupils learn to read through:


  • daily phonics lessons and activities following the Monster Phonics program
  • regular 1:1 reading to adults in school (using graded reading scheme texts and topic books)
  • guided reading sessions (using graded reading scheme texts and topic books)
  • comprehension and inference activities
  • through sharing stories


In Key Stage Two pupils progress and develop their reading through:


  • regular guided reading sessions that incorporate comprehension tasks, analysis of texts
  • discussion tasks


Across the school pupils are encouraged to:


  • read widely and, where possible, texts that support the class topic, both fiction and non-fiction.
  • read for pleasure using quiet reading time and class readers.
  • recommend and discuss books that they are reading with their peers.


Shared reading experiences are encouraged between upper and lower school. We also have a variety of whole school reading experiences during the school year including a poetry competition, story telling evening and story telling and reading theme weeks. 



What is Bug Club? 


We use Bug Club to support our reading schemes and development of reading. Bug Club is an online reading resource that also has hard copies of books that the children can read in school and at home. 


The children will be reading Bug Club books and using Bug Club books for guided reading and reading comprehension activities and the teachers will be using Bug Club reading assessments to assess your children’s progress and reading attainment. 


The Bug Club scheme provides the children with a user name and password so they can participate in online reading activities and games at home. The children can access Bug Club via the Active Learn Primary Website, where they can select activities and books of their choice. 


Throughout the year, teachers allocate electronic reading books to all children in their classes so the children can read at home via the website. If your child has read all the books in their allocation then please let their class teacher know.

Monster Phonics is the program that Early Years and Key Stage One follow and use to teach phonics and to support the teaching of reading at Cookham Dean. The program is broken down into year groups and phonic phases and is designed to build on and develop phonic knowledge and acquisition alongside developing reading skills through the use of phonics and development of key words. 


The children are grouped and taught by phonic phase, this is to ensure that all children are taught at their own level and can make progress at their own level. 


The lessons and activities are interactive and they use monsters for the different sound patterns, this helps the children to link spelling and sound patterns and gives them a visual cue to help memorise sounds. 


For more information see Monster Phonics website:


This link gives parents access to lots of free resources and information:


- free resources, for example, common exception word flashcards and powerpoints
- free online games
- information about phonics, multisensory activities for home and the screening test
- how monster phonics works
- additional topical resources


Monster Phonics Parents Information: 


Monster Phonics Tips for Parents:   


Here is a link to our Meet the Monsters Video which will be useful to parents too.


Writing at Cookham Dean


The National Curriculum states that pupils should:


  • Develop the stamina and skills to write at length
  • Use accurate spelling and punctuation
  • Be grammatically correct
  • Write in a range of ways and purposes including narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations
  • Write to support their understanding and consolidation of what they have heard or read


The National  Curriculum divides writing skills into two dimensions:


  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • Composition (articulating ideas in speech and writing)


We recognise that both these elements are essential to success. We recognise that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary.


Writing is taught, developed, modelled and supported across the school through:


  • The teaching of daily discrete grammar lessons, grammar objectives and skills are then used during writing through other curriculum subjects. This gives purpose to grammar skills and allows children to apply grammar skills that they have been taught.


  • Extended writing is a feature of our English lessons where children are taught how to plan, write at length and edit their writing.


  • Spelling patterns are taught systematically according to the objectives set out in the National Curriculum and Monster Phonics. Focus spellings are taught and tested on a weekly basis.


  • Extra spelling lists are sent home when required by individual children.


  • Grammar errors are highlighted by the teacher but corrected by the child.


  • Termly topics guide the genre of writing and the writing is closely linked to each topic


  • Children are encouraged to read their work to their peers.


  • We use checklists for pupils to self assess or peer assess, when appropriate so they can evaluate effectively.


  • We use modelling and shared/ collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice.

Cookham Dean Storytelling Week 2020


We have had a fantastic storytelling week with lots of different storytelling activities.


The week started with our dance workshops based on Where the Wild Things Are (KS1) and The Lorax (KS2). The focus of the workshops was to retell the story through creative movement and dance.


On Tuesday, we had Storytelling Evening, run by the PTA. The children loved coming back to school in their pyjamas and listening to a bedtime with their teacher. The classrooms were very cosy and the evening was topped off with hot chocolate the biscuits Thank you very much PTA ladies!


On Wednesday, the teachers swapped classes and went to read end of day stories to different classes, the teachers and the children really enjoyed having a change of scene and change of teacher for a story!


On Thursday it was World Book Day. We started the day with a reading breakfast. The children really enjoyed having their breakfast at school while reading stories with their friends and families.


The children all looked fantastic in their school uniforms but with a hint of their favourite story character. The children’s hints were very creative and it was great fun guessing each other’s characters.


At 10am, we joined in with Maidenhead’s Big Read, Drop and Read. Everyone in the school stopped what they were doing and read for 10 minutes.


To end the week, we had our Everybody Writes Day.  The children were working on Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack and the Baked Beanstalk. 


KS1 focused in retelling and writing their own versions of Jack and the Beanstalk and KS2 focused on writing newspaper reports for Jack and the Baked Beanstalk, writing the story from the giant’s perspective and writing their own, very imaginative versions of the story.


Thank you to all the parents that came along and worked with their children to support them in their story writing.

Everybody Writes!



Throughout the year we have our Everybody Writes days. These are days when the whole school works on the same theme  or stimulus for writing. Each class will approach and carry out the writing in a way that is most appropriate their age group and curriculum aims. Parents are invited into each class to work with their children on their piece of writing. 


We aim to use engaging and stimulating hooks for the writing tasks. We have had a mysterious door appearing outside school, the teachers putting a play for the children based on a well know story and we have alternative versions of traditional tales. 


Look out for the dates of Everybody Writes Days in the school newsletter.




Mysterious door appears outside Cookham Dean!

Mystery Reader!


Reception and Key Stage One love having Mystery Readers!


The aim of ‘Mystery Reader’ is to show children that adults love reading too so we would like to invite parents, grandparents or other family members to come into their child's class to read a children's story. This could be a book you particularly enjoyed reading when you were growing up, a current children's book brought from home or a book selected from the school library. The children will not know who is coming into their class for each session so it will be a surprise when their reader arrives.


Mystery Reader sessions are on Mondays, 2.50pm-3.10pm. If you would like to come in to be a mystery reader then please speak to the class teachers. 


We look forward to seeing you and hearing your stories!

Listening to readers


If you have some spare time during the day and would like to come into school to listen to readers then please speak to the class teacher and the class reps and then Mrs Conibear in the office so she can ensure that all safeguarding procedures are followed. 

Useful Information


Cookham Dean CE Primary School, Bigfrith Lane,

Cookham Dean, Maidenhead SL6 9PH.

Tel: 01628 482734.