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Reading and Writing

Our Book Recommendations

Year 3 


  • Why water is worth it by Lori Harrison
  • After the Fall by Dan Santat
  • Tell me a Dragon by Jackie Morris
  • Beyond Platform 13 by Sibeal Pounder and Eva Ibbotson
  • I love this tree by Anne Clybourne
  • The Minipins by Roald Dahl
  • Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson
  • The Adventures of the Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton
  • Firebird by Misty Copeland
  • Elspeth Heart and the Magnificent Rescue by Sarah Forbs
  • Lob by Linda Newbery
  • Cat Tales by Linda Newbery
  • I believe in Unicorns by Michael Morpurgo
  • Beaver Towers by Nigel Hinton
  • Knighthood for Beginners by Elys Dolan
Picture Books
  • The Tunnel; by Anthony Browne
  • Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by
  • Same but Different
  • The Colour Monster
  • The Pea and the Princess
  • Beware of the Story Book Wolves by Lauren Child
  • Frost by Holly Webb
  • Remarkable Reptiles by Jake Williams

  • Quick, Let’s Get out of Here
  • The World's Greatest Space Cadet
  • Paint me a Poem
  • The puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry
  • Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg (performance)
  • The Dragon who ate our school by Nic Toczek (performance)
  • The Sound Collector by Rodger McGough (performance)

Teaching Texts
  • The Snail and The Whale
  • Flotsam
  • Atlas of Adventures
  • Super Joe does not do cuddles
  • Atlas of Adventures
  • Voices in the Park
  • The Barnabus Project
  • Ziraffa Giraffa

Year 4


  • The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
  • Charlottes Web by E B White
  • Oliver Seawigs by Philip Reave and Sarah McIntyre
  • Kensuki’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
  • A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison
  • The Magic Place by Chris Wormell
  • Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo
  • The Book of Anima Super Heros
  • The Artic Fox by Jackie Morris
  • Ice Bear by Nicola Davis

Picture Books
  • The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner
  • It’s a no money day by Kate Millner
  • Flight for Freedom by Kristen Fulton

  • Deep in the Green Wood by Wes Magee
  • Hot Like Fire Hello by Valerie Bloom
  • Sensational! By Roger McGough
  • Being Brave at Night by Edgar Guest (performance)
  • Sick by Shel Silverstein (performance)
  • There’s a Monster in the Garden by David Harmer (performance)
  • The Plight of the Bumblebee by John F McCullagh
Teaching Texts
  • Varjak Paw by SF Said
  • Leon and Place Between
  • The Iron Man
  • The Sounds of Silence (poetry)
  • Teaching Texts

Year 5

  • The Dream Snatcher by Abi Elphinstone
  • The girl of the Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • The Last Wild by Piers Torday
  • King of the Cloud Forests by Michael Morpurgo
  • Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
  • The Train to Impossible Places by P. G. Bell
  • Secret Suffragette by Barbara Mitchel Hill
  • Eagle Warrior by Gill Lewis
  • The Boy who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock
  • Pages and Co by Anna James
  • The lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle
  • Animals Grimm: A treasury of Tales by Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • The Girl who stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook
  • The Apollo Time Capsule
  • Under the Parrot Sky by Rachel Delahaye
  • The Blizzard Wizard: Tales of Ramion by Frank Hinks

Picture Books
  • The List thing
  • The Fantastic Flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore by W. E. Joyce
  • I Dissent - Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her mark
  • The youngest Marcher – The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks a young civil Rights Activist
  • William Shakespeare: Scenes from the Life of the world's greatest writer by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
  • Pax by Sara Penny Packer
  • The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie

  • Lost Magic
  • The Magic Box
  • Juggling with Gerbils
  • Life doesn’t Frighten ne by Maya Angelou (performance)
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alred Lord Tennyson (performance)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (performance)
Teaching Texts
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • The Highwayman

Year 6

  • Deadman’s Cove by Lauren St John
  • Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis
  • Cog Heart by Peter Bunzl
  • Strange Star by Emma Carroll
  • The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange
  • The Horse with Chcken Legs by Sophie Anderson
  • Into the Jungle by Katherine Rundell
  • Return to Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • North Child by Edith Pattou
  • The Princess who flew dragons by Stephanie Burgis
  • The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll
  • Nevertell by Katherine Orton
  • A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis
  • Clockwork by Philip Pullman
  • Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
  • Short by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Picture Books
  • Farther
  • The Tear Thief
  • Can I build another Me?
  • The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong
  • Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
  • The Viewer by Gary Crew

  • Ted Hughes: Collected Poems for Children
  • Charles Causley: Collected Poems for Children
  • The Tyger by William Blake (performance)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (performance)
  • The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (performance)
Teaching Texts
  • Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

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Glossary of Grammatical Terms


A clause is a group of words that expresses an event or situation. It usually includes a subject and a verb  A clause usually forms part of a sentence.

Tara always eats last thing at night.

Although this is a sentence in its own right (known as a "main clause"), a clause can also represent just part of a sentence.

When a clause does not convey a complete thought, it is known as a subordinate clause.

Trying her hardest to gain weight...
After Tara has eaten her tea...

Main (independent) Clause

A main clause is one that could stand alone as a complete sentence.


Subordinate Clause

A subordinate clause (or dependent clause) is one that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence, because it does not express a complete thought.


Simple Sentences

A simple sentence is one which comprises only one clause.  (Be aware that the clause could be a long one.)


He ran away.
Peter and Mark ran the whole distance in the dark.
Alice and Jenny play tennis every afternoon at the sports centre.

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence comprises at least two main clauses. The two clauses are joined together using a conjunction such as and, but, or, then, yet. 


Complex Sentence

A complex sentence comprises one main clause and at least one subordinate clause.


If the subordinate clause is used to start the sentence, a comma must be used to connect it to the main clause.

Noun Phrases

A noun phrase is a group of related words which play the role of a noun.  Like all phrases, a noun phrase does not have a subject and a verb.


The shopkeeper will only allow 2 children in at once. (normal noun)
The grumpy shopkeeper will only allow 2 children... (noun phrase)
Give it back to the boy. (normal noun)
Give it back to the boy on the boat. (noun phrase)

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are used to join subordinate clauses to main clauses. Common examples include: although, because, since, unless, until and while.


Adverbial Clauses

An adverbial clause is a group of related words which play the role of an adverb.  Like all clauses, an adverbial clause includes a subject and a verb.


The cleaner says she left the printer cartridge here. (normal adverb)
The cleaner says she left the printer cartridge where she always leaves it. (adverbial clause)

Adverbial Phrases

An adverbial phrase is a group of related words which play the role of an adverb.  Like all phrases, an adverbial phrase does not include a subject and a verb. An adverbial phrase answer the questions: how, where, when or why.


Tony decided to move to Reading yesterday. (normal adverb)
Tony decided to move to Slough in June last year. (adverbial phrase)


A pronoun is a word that can be used to replace a noun


Marcel is tall enough, but he is not as fast as Jodie.
(The word "he" is a pronoun.  It replaces "Marcel".)

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are the words I, you, he, she, it, we, they and who. 

Impersonal/Indefinite Pronouns

‘You’ is the most commonly used impersonal pronoun. Indefinite pronouns refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are. EG. Anybody, anyone, nobody, anything, everyone, many, others.

Relative Pronouns

A relative pronoun is used to link one phrase or clause to another word in the sentence.  The relative pronouns are: who, whom, that, which, where, when. (Whoever, whomever and whichever are also relative pronouns.)


1st person – refers to the speaker/writer – I or we

2nd person – refers to the person/people being spoken to – you

3rd person – refers to the person/people being spoken about – he, she, they, it

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs give more information about the function of the main verb that follows it. The function shows that we believe something is certain, probable or possible.
The modal verbs are: must    ought   can  could   may   might   will   would    shall   should


He could swim when he was young.                         Can she really sing?

That might be a problem.                                        Could I ask a question?

Prepositional Phrase

A prepositional phrase is a group of words containing a preposition and its object ( a noun or pronoun)

Preposition                                                   Object

To                                                                  you

Inside                                                            his house

Under                                                            the old bridge


Behind Mrs Grumble’s shed, lay an old, rusty spade.

Among the dark shadows, I could hear deep breathing.

Imperative Sentence

An imperative sentence gives a direct command. It can end in a full stop or an exclamation mark, depending on how forceful the command is:


Clear this desk by tomorrow! 
Please tidy your room. 

Emotive Language

Writing can be classified as "emotive language" when there has been a deliberate choice of words to express strong emotion. Most ideas can be expressed in a manner that is positive or negative, welcoming or threatening, depending on the words selected.


They were killed.
They were executed - murdered in cold blood. (emotive version)

Shades of Meaning

A writer can force an entire image into the mind of a reader by simply choosing the right word with the perfect shade of meaning.

Examples:   He walked along the corridor.

                      He glided along the corridor.

Active Voice and Active Sentences

Active Voice

Verbs are said to be in "active voice" when the subject of the sentence performs the verb in the sentence.


Active Sentences

An active sentence is the opposite of a passive sentence.  In an active sentence, the subject performs the action of the verb.

Tony is trimming the hedges all week.
("Tony" - active subject, i.e., doing the action (trimming))

Passive Voice and Passive Sentences

Passive Voice
A verb is said to be in the "passive voice" when its subject does not perform the action of the verb.  In fact, the action is performed on the subject.


The bridge was blown up by engineers.
          subject       verb (in "passive voice")

Passive Sentences

In a passive sentence, the subject does not perform the action in the sentence.  In fact, the action is performed on it.


Anita was driven to the theatre.
(In this example, "Anita" is the subject of the sentence - subject of the verb "was".  However, she did not perform the action of the verb "to drive".  The action was done to her; she was the recipient of the action.)
Nowadays, kites are protected.
("kites" - passive subject, i.e., the action is being done to them)
The olives are stoned and crushed in this area. 
("olives" - passive subject, i.e., the actions are being done to them)

In a passive sentence, the person or thing doing the action is often preceded by the word "by".


Determiners include many of the most frequent English words, e.g, the,a,my,this.

Determiners include:

Articles  - a/an, the

Demonstratives – this/that, these/those

Possessives – my/your/his/her/its/our/their

Quantifiers – some, any, no, many, much, few ,little, both, all, either, each, every, enough

Glossary of Gramattical Terms Continued


a phrase where adjacent or closely connected words begin with the same phoneme: one wet wellington; free phone; several silent, slithering snakes.


a word with a meaning opposite to another: hot - cold, light - dark, light- heavy.

 A word may have more than one word as an antonym: cold - hot/

warm; big - small/tiny/little/titchy.


words which have the same meaning as another word, or very similar: wet/damp.

Avoids overuse of any word; adds variety

Auxiliary verbs

These are verbs that are used together with other verbs. For example:

we are going               Lucy has arrived            can you play

Coherence and cohesion

An effective text needs to be coherent and cohesive.

The term coherence refers to the underlying logic and consistency of a text.

The ideas expressed should be relevant to one another so that the reader can follow the meaning.

Compound word

A word made up of two other words: football, headrest, broomstick


A conditional sentence is one in which one thing depends upon another.

Conditional sentences often contain the conjunction if:

I’ll help you if I can.

If the weather’s bad, we might not go out.

Other conjunctions used in conditionals are unless, providing, provided and  as long as.

Direct speech and indirect speech

There are two ways of reporting what somebody says, direct speech and  indirect speech.

In direct speech, we use the speaker’s original words demarcated with inverted commas.

Helen said, “ I’m going home.”

In indirect (or reported) speech, we report what was said but do not use the

exact words of the original speaker.

Helen said (that) she was going home.

Figurative language

Use of a metaphor or simile to create a particular impression or mood. A writer may develop an idea of a character’s military approach to life by using phrases and words which are linked with the army, such as:  he was something of a loose cannon (metaphor); he rifled through the papers; his

arm shot out; he marched into the room; he paraded his knowledge.


words which have the same spelling as another, but different meaning: the

calf was eating/my calf was aching; the North Pole/totem pole; he is a Pole.

Pronunciation may be different: a lead pencil/the dog’s lead; furniture polish/

Polish people.


words which have the same spelling or pronunciation as another, but

different meaning or origin. May be a homograph or homophone.


words which have the same sound as another but different meaning or

different spelling: read/reed; pair/pear; right/write/rite. A homonym.


words which echo sounds associated with their meaning: clang, hiss, crash,



use of language to create a vivid sensory image - often visual. May include:

Vocabulary choice of synonym, for example sprinted/ran/raced, selection

of adjectives and adverbs

simile he ran like the wind

metaphor his feet had wings


a form of metaphor in which language relating to human action, motivation

and emotion is used to refer to non human agents or objects or abstract

concepts: the weather is smiling on us today; Love is blind.

In School Events 

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  • Sponsored Read

    Published 24/05/24

    I am sure children have been telling you all about the wonderful new books that have landed in our class libraries over the last couple of weeks. Our Year 6 HTAs have been working very hard getting these labelled and distributed. We have still have some books left to arrive which will be delivered after half term. This week in assembly, children were presented with their certificates of participation and our winners were announced…

    Lower School Winner – Idris in Year 3

    Upper School Winner –Ahyan in Year 5

    Both winners selected a book of their choice as a prize. Happy reading!

    Read More
  • Year 3 had a fantastic inspirational writing day all about pirates!

    Published 10/05/24

    Lots of us dressed up for the occasion as we learnt all about real pirates and story book pirates. We asked lots of questions so we could learn all about the jobs, food, weapons and what pirates wore. We made our own treasure maps, wrote a pirate code for our own pirate ship and designed our own pirate flags. We also got to play a game of 'Pursuit' - a pirate ship chase game! We had a fabulous time and are very excited to start writing our own non-fiction text all about pirates.

    Read More
  • Cosy Reading in 6C

    Published 17/04/24

    6C had a cosy reading morning to celebrate reading over 100 books this year! Well done!

    Read More
  • World Book Day

    Published 07/03/24

    Some selected children from Year 6 were invited to go to Letchmore to read with younger children. This was a reward/positive consequence for their contribution to the school e.g Reading Mentors and Headteacher Assistants. 

    Read More
  • Our Writing in the Community

    Published 01/03/24

    Mrs Lyons has coordinated another wonderful display in Stevenage Library showcasing some of the fantastic poetry that has been written in class. Please go and visit this with your children and hopefully borrow some books at the same time.

    Read More
  • Writing Project Awards

    Published 13/02/24

    We have just completed the North Herts and Stevenage Schools writing project based on the picture book, 'Here We Are' by Oliver Jeffers. The children wrote some fantastic poems and also produced some excellent art projects. On Thursday 8th Feb, pupils from all year groups proudly represented Almond Hill at the awards evening held at the Broadway Theatre in Letchworth. Congratulations to everyone but a huge well done to Danny in year 5 who won runner up for best writer and Aahana in year 6 who won best writer.

    Read More
  • Year 4 and 5 Writing Days

    Published 08/02/24

    Year 5 had a wonderful 'inspire writing' day on Monday. Our two visitors re-enacted the story of Beowulf and Grendel (our year 5 class reader and English book), then discussed typical weapons that would have been used in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking times and then re-enacted (with some excellent volunteers) a famous battle before ending the day with a Q&A session. The children listened incredibly well and had some brilliant questions at the end. We will definitely use all our new knowledge to help our writing and history lessons. 

    On Tuesday, Year 4 had a visit from Time Capsule Education. The children were introduced to their own fantasy adventure - a journey through a portal to Castle Courageous! We visited the local emporium to properly equip ourselves for an adventure, designed a companion to accompany our quest and planned our fantasy worlds where our stories will be set. We are looking forward to using these ideas next to inspire our writing.

    Read More
  • Year 6 Writing Day

    Published 25/09/23

    Last week, Tim and Jon from Time Capsule Education spent an exciting day with our year 6 pupils training them to be spies! They cracked a secret code, carried out some undercover surveillance, investigated a miniature stately home and even cracked open a safe! The children enjoyed all of the activities and can't wait to start writing their own spy stories! 


    Read More
  • Poetry by Heart Competition

    Published 14/03/23

    Poetry by Heart is a national poetry speaking competition for schools in England. It is open to young people in Key Stages 2-5. Pupils choose a poem, learn it by heart, and perform it. 3 classes at Almond Hill took part in the competition and received certificates for their entries. 

    Comments from the judges: 

    To achieve this in a national competition is something you can be very proud of. To help take your poetry performance further, the judges have offered this advice, just for you: 

    5C - Endandgered (John Mole) - Highly Commended
    Well done for learning this poem so well and contributing to a strong performance. We loved the actions, but make sure the words are not lost - you can afford to slow down a little, and vary the emphasis in the lines. 

    3A - From A Railway Carriage (Robert Louis Stevenson) - Commended
    It is lovely to see that you all made such an effort to learn this poem together, and perform it so confidently. You worked well to express the poem's rhythm but see if you can vary this a little bit in places.

    6S - Invictus (W.E Henley)  - Commended 
    We found this moving, especially the way your performance emphasises the power of the final line. This would be even more effective if you could vary the pace and emphasis within lines. 

    Read More
  • Pre-Loved Book Sales

    Published 01/11/22

    I am very grateful to the parents and children who are engaging in our monthly preloved book sale. I am incredibly pleased to tell you that these book sales (which were first brought in by a previous school government) funded the purchase of new books for the classes which were given out in assembly this week. We are dedicated to sustaining and improving our class libraries. I purchased the books from David's bookshop in Letchworth who give us 20% discount and delivery free of charge! It is a really lovely bookshop where I selected some books this month for those more reluctant readers, diverse novels encouraging wider representation and picture books with a moral or personal development message. I hope the children will enjoy reading them. We have a book sale once a month.

    Read More
  • 'Reading and Phonics Workshop'

    Published 10/10/22

    On Thursday 6th October, we held a 'Reading and Phonics Workshop' where we outlined our aims and expectations for reading and phonics at Almond Hill. During the workshop, we shared the ways in which we teach reading and comprehension, the additional provision that we provide to further develop the children and the information and resources that are available to support at home.

    Read More

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