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Damson Wood Nursery and Infant School

‘Learning and Growing Together’

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Subject Leader – Mrs Hume


At Damson Wood Infant School we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We want all pupils, regardless of ability, to have the opportunity to; acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they have learnt throughout their time at Damson Wood. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. All good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both grammar, spelling and composition skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.




At Damson Wood, we teach English by following Literacy Tree. Literacy Tree is a complete, thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. 

Literacy Tree immerses children in a literary world, therefore creating strong levels of engagement to provide meaningful and authentic contexts for primary English.

Children become critical readers and acquire an authorial style as they encounter a wide-range of significant authors and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Literacy Tree provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, reading comprehension, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. All units of work lead to purposeful application within a wide variety of written outcomes.

Literacy Tree is a whole school approach which we adopt from Key Stage 1. Within Reception, children will engage with some of the suggested Literacy Tree texts, alongside others which link to their individual interests, project themes and Drawing Club.


Drawing club is a time for children to choose to come and be creative with their imagination. After listening to a traditional tale, a well-known story or an animation from the past, the children are taken on an adventure with words, actions and descriptive drawings. The children use their imagination to create a theme, object or character from the story and they use their stories as a conversation starter to talk about what their picture means to them. They then choose a ‘code’ of numbers, letters or even words to bring magic into the drawing with their creative ideas!


Within the summer term in Reception, children will follow more of the Literacy Tree units of work in preparation for effective transition into Key Stage 1.




The intended impact is that all pupils at Damson Wood Infant school will enjoy writing across a range of genres. That pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all English lessons because learning will be appropriately scaffolded. All pupils will have exposure to a vocabulary rich environment in order for them to independently utilise in their writing in order to support their ability to adapt their writing based on the context and audience for the piece.











Pencil grip

When children start at Damson Wood their pencil grip will be assessed. Teachers will then, if needed, plan accordingly to support children’s development of a tripod grasp.

The pictures below show the developmental stages that a child may go through when learning how to hold a pen or pencil.



If a child is not holding their pencil correctly below are some ideas to help support the development of fine and gross motor skills.


Gross motor

Fine motor

Dough gym

Playing with balls and beanbags

Painting on an easel- up and down movements

Wall push ups

Shoulder spirals


Using tweezers and picking up small objects

Cutting activities

Peg board activities

Finger painting


Pre- writing skills


Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write. These skills contribute to the child's ability to hold and use a pencil, and the ability to draw, write, copy, and colour. A major component of pre-writing skills are the pre-writing shapes.


We allow children the opportunity to make marks and develop their pre-writing skills by:

  • Colouring
  • Drawing- using pencils, chalks, pens,
  • Painting
  • Using buckets of water and paint brushes
  • Using streamers and making large movements


Below are some examples of shapes to support the development of pre writing skills.




Handwriting is a skill which children must develop to allow them to be able to write with ease, speed and legibility. Handwriting skills should be taught regularly and systematically


Early Years

Children take part in activities to develop their fine and gross motor-skills and recognition of patterns, for example, to form letters using their index finger in sand or using paint. Children should begin to learn how to correctly hold a pencil. Then how to use a pencil, and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters most of which are correctly formed. They should be given the opportunities to develop their handwriting, using print, to their full potential at that age.


The non-statutory guidance states children in the Early Years should be taught to:


Three and four year olds

Use large muscular movements to wave flags and streamers, to paint and make marks

Use one handed tools and equipment

Sometimes give meanings to their drawings and paintings

Makes continuous lines or shapes and symbols from left to right

Attempts to write their own name or other words using lines, circles, curves or letter type shapes

Begins to make letter type shapes to represent the initial sound of their name

Shows a preference for a dominant hand


Develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently. Suggested tools: pencils for drawing and writing, paintbrushes, scissors, knives, forks and spoons.

Use their core muscle strength to achieve a good posture when sitting at a table or sitting on the floor.

Develop the foundations of a handwriting style which is fast, accurate and efficient.

Begins to use anticlockwise movements and retrace vertical lines

Begins to form recognisable letters independently

Uses a pencil and holds it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed

Early Learning Goal

Physical development- Fine Motor Skills: Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases; Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paintbrushes and cutlery; Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing

Literacy — Writing: Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;


Key Stage 1

Children will continue to develop fine and gross motor-skills with a range of multi-sensory activities. Handwriting should be discussed within and linked to phonics sessions. Teachers and support staff continue to guide children on how to write letters correctly, using a comfortable and efficient pencil grip. Children should now be leaving spaces between words accurately. By the end of Key Stage 1 children will be able to write legibly, using upper and lower-case letters appropriately and correct spacing between words. By Year 2 children will be learning to use a cursive style whereby children will be joining letters as a series of flowing movements and patterns.


The National Curriculum for Key Stage One states children should be taught to:


Year 1

Sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly

Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place

Form capital letters

Form digits 0-9

Understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (ie letters that are formed in similar ways) and to practise these

Year 2

Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another

Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined

Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower-case letters

Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters