Our English Curriculum
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The National Curriculum in England - July 2014
In English, we teach a broad, contextualised curriculum which covers reading, writing, spelling, grammar and oracy.
What is Reading?
"Reading" is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. However, “skilled reading” is a combination of automatic and strategic strands which include: background knowledge, vocabulary, language structure, verbal reasoning, literacy knowledge, phonological awareness, decoding and sight recognition.
- Scarborough (1990)
Reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. Through these, they develop communication skills for education and for working with others: in school, in training and at work. Pupils who find it difficult to learn to read are likely to struggle across the curriculum, since English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching. This is why the government is committed to continuing to raise standards of literacy for all.
- The Reading Framework - July 2021
What is our vision for Reading?
At Crich Carr CofE Primary School we believe that one of the most important jobs we undertake is to teach children to read well. We prioritise reading in our curriculum from the moment they arrive in Reception up until they leave in Year 6. The subject leader's vision for reading is for all children to be able to read fluently and competently by the time they leave us so that they become avid readers and learners for life. To do this, we aim to develop decoding, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge and comprehension strategies whilst promoting a positive culture of reading.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”
– Dr. Seuss
Reading Curriculum Intent
At Crich Carr CofE, we have focused our attention on the “simple view of reading” in which reading comprehension can be understood as a function of two components:
Word reading –
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words (fluency).
Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words (phonics).
Language comprehension –
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world (background knowledge).
Our pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in.
We aim to establish an appreciation and love of reading (reading for pleasure) through the promotion of talk and stories and to gain knowledge across the curriculum (reading across the curriculum).
Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
How is Reading implemented at Crich Carr CofE (including use of schemes)?
Phonics and early reading
The first step for all of our children to becoming fluent and competent readers begins with phonics and early reading. This is why we teach reading through Floppy’s Phonics, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Floppy’s Phonics progression to build on the children’s growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read.
At Crich Carr CofE Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
As previously mentioned, reading is more than just sounding out the letters on a page. Therefore, we ensure we develop our children's language comprehension and deeper understanding of texts in the following areas:
Background knowledge (Facts, concepts, text types, etc.)
Vocabulary (Meaning, links, precision etc.)
Language structure (Syntax, grammar, cohesion, etc.)
Comprehension strategies (Predict, retrieve, question, infer, summarise, clarify, explain).
Prosody (fluency, expression, tone, volume)
All children, from Reception to Year 6, have reading practice sessions at least four times a week. In these sessions, children develop the areas written above by using a variety of texts throughout the year.
In Class 1 (Reception and Year 1), these are small group sessions and use books which are matched to the children's secure phonics knowledge which is based on the Floppy's Phonics assessments.
In Class 2 (Year 2 & 3) and Class 3 (Year 4, 5 & 6)these are whole-class sessions and use a variety of quality texts (including poetry, fiction and non-fiction) which have been chosen based on the class topic in relation to the current stage of the learning journey, an aspect of science, something that links or extends their knowledge of a concept further, the quality of the text, current themes, or linked to our school values. Children all read the same text together, after modelled by an adult, and a rich discussion takes place as children begin to develop their understanding of what they have read and make purposeful connections and inferences.
Reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy:
We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Crich Carr CofE Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
All children at Crich Carr CofE are encouraged to take books home. Books are pitched at their reading ability with teachers discussing reading choices with children to try and ensure that the children develop a love of reading.
Every classroom has an inviting bookcase that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
Children have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
Reading at Home
In order to develop fluent, competent readers we greatly appreciate parental support in this area.
As previously mentioned, all children at Crich Carr CofE are encouraged to take books home each week.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 progress through phonetically controlled colour banded books – these are Phase and Set specific books, which match the children's attainment in Phonics. Adults will regularly listen to children read to assess their fluency and understanding whilst considering their current phase of phonics and then match this to the appropriate book level.
We aim that from the end of Y2, children use Accelerated Reader book levels to select appropriate reading books. Accelerated Reader is a system which gives children significantly greater choice in levelled books that offer appropriate challenge, with this choice giving freedom and choice to help develop a love of reading.
Children are provided with an AR book level range, which highlights a suitable level of challenge for them when reading independently and taking quizzes.
Children need to be aware that choosing books beyond their AR level will require some level of support. Children are encouraged to recommend books to each other and to make suggestions to staff of any books that they’d like to see in school.