Southborough Church of England Primary School

Southborough Church of England Primary School


At Southborough, high quality texts are at the heart of our English learning; to develop a love for reading  is the gateway to creativity, greater knowledge and universal exploration.


The Power of Reading is the teaching programme we have adopted to inspire, motivate and develop the teaching of writing through engaging teaching approaches and promoting a love of reading and writing.  The Power of Reading explores the core components of developing a vibrant piece of writing and ignites our enthusiasm of writing as we immerse ourselves in a range of settings, characters, roles and the real world! The excitement of revealing the text through to reading the final page is palpable; classes have been known to create drum rolls, applaud and even give standing ovations!


In all classes we introduce, practise, develop and embed the following elements of the writing curriculum:

- Handwriting

- Phonics and spelling knowledge

- Grammar

- Sentence Building

- Text Building

- Authorial Effect


As a school we use the No Nonsense Spelling resource as a basis for our spelling progression. Children have short spelling lessons throughout each week to learn new spelling rules through a range of interactive activities and are expected to demonstrate these in their writing. Children in Years 1-6 take home a list of words each week to learn which directly link to the spelling rules they are learning in class. 


Spelling: Common Exception Words

Common exception words are everyday words that break the phonic rules taught at school.

Whilst these words will always be part of each child’s common vocabulary, they will eventually cease to be ‘exception words’ when the child understands the rules behind their pronunciation and spelling.

In Read Write Inc. we call these 'red words'. 


Common exception words are important because they are just that: common. They are words that appear frequently in texts and that help readers understand what they are reading.


If your child is struggling to read and write common exception words, there are techniques you can use to support them. Mnemonics can be useful. For example, many children learn to spell the word ‘because’ by remembering the mnemonic ‘big elephants can always understand small elephants’. The tricky ‘eau’ grapheme in ‘beautiful’ can be bypassed by creating the statement ‘be a utiful’, which seems so much more straightforward, although you may then find yourself wondering what a utiful is and what it looks like!


Many common exception words share the same letter strings, so grouping them by these patterns can be a useful approach. Your child can then learn a pattern once and apply it to each of the grouped words. For example, if they can read could, they should also be able to read should and would.