Reading Curriculum Intent

At Hale Academy Reading is at the heart of our thematic curriculum and engaging, high-quality texts form the focus of our half termly units and drive the curriculum. We aim to provide children with a Literacy-rich environment and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books;
  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Reading Curriculum Implementation

At Hale we use the Power of Reading scheme as the source of many of our quality texts and the scheme informs the sequence of lessons that we teach to pupils. Pupils develop skills in inference and prediction at the start of units before reading, and then take part in engaging and immersive drama activities linked to the book. The chosen texts are then shared fully with the class and are used to drive learning relating to both reading and writing. The Power of Reading texts cover a wide-range of genres and these are plotted over our whole school curriculum mapping to ensure broad and full coverage.

In Years 2 to 6 a whole-class guided reading approach is used to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to explore high-quality texts together. Relevant background information is taught to pupils to give context and key, unfamiliar vocabulary is pre-taught before whole-class reading. This enables pupils to have a firm grasp of the new material that they encounter. Excellent reading and use of expression and intonation is modelled by the teacher, as well as metacognitive skills such as asking questions aloud whilst reading in order to aid comprehension. Teachers model how to apply comprehension skills effectively in written answers to questions. As part of this approach peer reading and paired reading enables pupils to support each other in developing these core skills.

Pupils who are still developing their phonic skills read fully decodable books from the ELS scheme and read the same book five times over the course of a week. This enables pupils to develop fluency and confidence, before moving on to a different book that closely matches their phonic level. Pupils who have passed their phonics screening check are carefully assessed using a benchmarking tool and given suitable colour banded books for their reading level (turquoise and above). As part of our school day, we timetable the last half hour for story time in class; this is an opportunity for teachers to share stories, enthuse pupils and promote reading for pleasure. All class teachers set the expectation that pupils should read at least five times a week at home and this is monitored closely to ensure that suitable support is provided for those receiving less at home.

Reading Curriculum Impact

The impact of our Reading curriculum:

We want to instil a love of reading in all children. By using engaging texts in English lessons and in learning across the curriculum, children are exposed to a range of genres and styles. Through creating reading rich environments, setting high expectations and enjoying reading celebrations across the school year, we want children to understand that we are all readers and it is a core skill we all need to learn.

As a result of this culture, ethos and rigorous approach to the teaching of Reading, our children will:

  • Read widely and often across the curriculum and be able to extract information from different genres of text. Children will be able to apply their phonics knowledge to decode unknown words and by re-reading texts, will gradually build their fluency.
  • Reach their potential in all areas of the curriculum as they will be able to apply their reading skills to different subject areas.
  • Learn new pieces of vocabulary and gain creative ideas from fiction texts. After listening to inspiring stories, children will be able to transfer ideas into their own writing and be motivated to use higher level vocabulary.

Writing Curriculum Intent

At Hale Academy our thematic curriculum is driven through the use of engaging, high-quality texts which form the focus of our thematic units and are pivotal in the teaching sequences that we develop for English lessons and Writing. We want all children to be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing and reach their full potential.

Our aims are to:

  • Guide and nurture each individual on their own personal journeys to becoming successful writers.
  • Provide exciting writing opportunities and experiences that engage and enhance all pupils.
  • We want all children to acquire a wide vocabulary and to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school.
  • We want all children to have a solid understanding of grammar and apply it effectively to their writing.
  • We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a legible, cursive, individual handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
  • We want every child to have a good knowledge of phonics to support children in becoming fluent writers.
  • To plan a progressive curriculum to build upon previous teaching, with regular assessment to ensure each child’s needs are met to reach their full potential.

Writing Curriculum Implementation

At Hale we use the Power of Reading scheme as the source of many of our quality texts and the scheme informs the sequence of English lessons that we teach to pupils. The engaging scheme focusses on developing and raising attainment in language, vocabulary, reading and writing. Core texts drive both reading and writing and our thematic curriculum ensures that pupils have ample opportunity for writing in different subject areas during each thematic topic. Each class studies a different high-quality text or texts, lasting from a few weeks to a whole term depending on text type, length and year group. In KS2, this text is often the same text that is studied during daily Guided Reading sessions, although teachers supplement these core texts with additional texts which offer breadth to a topic area. We passionately believe that reading and writing are inextricably linked therefore studying the text in both reading and writing sessions encourages children to make links and become ambitious writers who are able to apply features and devices from exemplary texts. We ensure full coverage and a range of writing genres through our carefully structured topic maps, whole school curriculum mapping, progression of skills documents and medium-term plans. Key vocabulary is explicitly taught and pupils are taught to independently use the classroom resources such as word mats, phonics mats, dictionaries and thesauruses to check their spelling and broaden their language choices.

Within each unit of work, sequenced lessons ensure that prior learning is checked and built upon and that National Curriculum objectives are taught through a combination of approaches and/or opportunities e.g.

  • Opportunities to participate in drama & spoken language activities
  • Exploring the features of different text types and modelled examples
  • Handwriting practice
  • Vocabulary practice
  • Shared writing (modelled expectations)
  • Discrete Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar lessons
  • Independent writing
  • Planning, drafting, editing, up-levelling and presenting
  • Performing

Writing Curriculum Impact

The impact of our Writing curriculum and this chosen approach is that pupils are both motivated and engaged readers and writers who are able to apply the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a specific purpose and audience. They are able to write across a range of genres and recognise and apply the features of these. Pupils have a clear understanding of the processes and skills involved in planning, drafting and editing their work and apply these skills regularly in their written class work. A focus on developing our approach to the teaching of Guided Reading has resulted in pupils becoming more confident in using key, previously unfamiliar language in their verbal and written responses.

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