To support the development of motor skills, children in Reception and Year 1 take part in Dough Disco on a daily basis. While dancing to music, the children manipulate dough to exercise their fingers in preparation for writing.  It’s really easy to do and the benefits are AMAZING!

Developing Early Writing – Squiggle While You Wiggle

Squiggle While You Wiggle is a kinaesthetic approach to stimulate early writing. Children use movement with music to develop their motor skills in preparation for writing. Through Squiggle While You Wiggle, children begin using ‘Flipper Flappers’ to rehearse a range of shapes, which lead to children mark-making with chunky pens, in preparation for more formal writing.

Here is an explanation of the philosophy behind Squiggle While You Wiggle:

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Daily English Lessons

Lessons for children in Years 1 to 6 follow the National Curriculum for English and are usually based around high quality books. At Simonside Primary School, we immerse ourselves in a range of texts. Using a novel, short stories and poetry develops children’s understanding of story structure and encourages learners to consider the meaning and impact words can have. Through high quality texts, children will learn writing and grammatical skills within varying contexts. They will see skills being applied and modeled in the text. During English lessons, children learn skills which include speaking for different audiences and listening for a purpose. Problem solving is promoted as children are engaged in activities, which mean they have to form predictions based upon evidence found in the text, and draw inferences.

In reading activities, children learn how to decode words and understand a range of text (including play scripts, stories and non-fiction writing). In writing activities, children focus on creating text (including poems, stories and factual writing), learning word patterns and effectively presenting their work by hand and using IT.


When children first begin to form letters at Simonside Primary School, they do so using a range of strategies, focusing particularly on motor skill development, allowing children to write large letters in the air, sand, foam, paint and other sensory materials.

When children are developmentally ready, they begin to write formally with pencils following our own handwriting policy, which is based around rhymes to aid children’s memories as to how letters are formed.

The rhymes and picture cards we use in lessons for letter formation can be found here:

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We use a cursive handwriting style, which is introduced through simple ‘flicks’ in Year 1 (when children have mastered basic letter formation), and taught explicitly from Year 2 upwards.

Exciting Sentences

In order to develop the quality of our written work, children of all ages build their own repertoire of exciting sentences, based on the works of Alan Peat.  These sentences are explicitly taught from Year 1 to 6 and children quickly become adept at deciding when and where it is appropriate to use each sentence type.  As children move through our school, the complexities of the sentences taught increase.  Wherever possible, examples of these sentence types are found within existing texts to provide children with a high quality model, and the opportunity to discuss the effects of this writing before applying it to their own written work.

The posters we use in school to support our work with exciting sentences can be found here:

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Progression in English at Simonside 

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Additional Information for Parents/Carers

For further information about English, please use the following links:

National Curriculum Documents