Engaging, exciting and empowering lifelong learners through a creative, mastery-based curriculum
Our curriculum is centred around developing the whole child: from their head, to their heart, to their hand.
The characteristics of a reader at East Farleigh Primary:
Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.
Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary.
An excellent comprehension of texts.
The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure.
Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.
Curriculum Ambition: Reading
At East Farleigh Primary School, aim to develop passionate and capable, life-long learners through an engaging, exciting and carefully planned reading and writing curriculum. We understand the importance of literature in acquiring knowledge but also in developing socially and emotionally, and we place a high emphasis on reading for pleasure to foster a love of reading across the wider curriculum. To achieve this, we are guided by seven core principles of ‘Effective English’:
A Happy Place - We strive to create a learning culture that is based on trust and challenge, where environments foster a sense of warmth alongside a focus on high expectations.
Know Your Stuff - We aim to communicate skills and knowledge in an illuminating way that enables pupils to think, talk, read and write clearly, completely, critically and creatively.
Make it Clear - We believe that a strong interaction between the learner and the teacher is at the heart of the reading and writing process. We achieve this interaction through:
Discussing, composing and modelling together with pupils so that it is a lively exchange;
Exposing pupils (as readers) to the writer’s internal voice by verbalising word, phrases and clauses aloud;
Justifying sentence combinations and cohesion, making decisions about spelling and grammar as ongoing smaller chunks of learning;
Editing and redrafting “live” so improvements are transparent and highly valued;
Very clear guidance for pupil’s, with teachers quickly analysing accuracy at word, sentence and text level;
Encouraging pupils to model for each other and memorise strategies to use in different contexts.
Pupils at the Heart - We are attuned to the needs of the pupils by responding sensitively, challenging appropriately and adjusting our teaching accordingly; we always endeavour to respond to pupils in real time.
Links and Layers - We value the power of discovery in reading and writing, and actively promote children to make connections, seek patterns and identify similarities through establishing clear cross-curricular links.
Talk as a Tool - We use talk to emphasise, magnify and make links in learning. We achieve this through many different dynamics including, teacher to pupil; individual pupil to individual pupil; pupils within a larger group.
Review, Reflect, Respond - We always strive to make time in the lesson to review the learning taking place, responding to it specifically and providing enough reflection space for pupils to consider the smaller steps to improve and hone their skills.
We aim to develop passionate and capable, life-long readers through an engaging and carefully planned reading curriculum. Our goal is to ensure all children become readers from an early age, developing the ability to accurately decode a range of texts and demonstrate depth of understanding of what they have read. Our approach to phonics teaching aims to give children the tools they need to become confident early readers and to equip them with skills to decode a range of texts. We understand the importance of reading in acquiring knowledge but also in developing socially and emotionally. We place a high emphasis on developing reading for pleasure and endeavour to foster a love of reading across our wider curriculum.
Our intent to develop proficient readers, as outlined above, is supported by our reading scheme ‘Collins Big Cat' in KS1 and Accelerated Reader in KS2. This is a whole-school reading programme that supports children to learn to read and to love reading. The Big Cat scheme and AR approach supports a journey from phonics to fluency, with levelled readers that systematically increase the level of challenge, vocabulary, and stamina as children work up through the bands and AR levels.
Children are provided with a wide-range of reading experiences. These books are carefully created to facilitate success so that children enjoy and make progress in reading.
Curriculum Design: Reading
At East Farleigh, we believe that education provides a route to empowering children to have the resilience and moral character to overcome challenges and succeed. We aim to provide a happy, caring and stimulating environment that exposes children to the best that has been thought and said, instilling in them a love of knowledge and culture to become the next generation of informed citizens and positive contributors to the society in which they live. Our progression pathway shows how we structure and organise the different curriculum concepts and knowledge categories into meaningful units or ‘topics’ across the school. Through this approach, we aim to engage and excite children’s natural curiosity to make meaningful connections (over time), master concepts, deepen their knowledge and become the empowered, articulate, lifelong learners of tomorrow.
We use Literacy Counts, ‘Steps to Read’ to support a whole-class approach to the teaching of reading comprehension from EYFS through to Y6. Early reading fluency and phonics is taught using Letters and Sounds. Teachers adapt the schemes of learning to match the needs of individual classes. The units are written to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, KS1 and KS2 programmes of study .
Whole-class and shared reading
East Farleigh uses the research-based, ‘Steps to Read’ programme to ensure a balanced and progressive approach to the teaching of reading from EYFS to Y6. The scheme facilitates the systematic delivery of essential comprehension skills through high-quality texts that aim to broaden children’s reading repertoire. Each unit has a range of texts that have been chosen to expose children to rich and ambitious vocabulary that is clearly contextualised by building on the knowledge and skills they will be learning across several foundation subjects as part of our ‘connected curriculum’.
A range of genres are covered through this whole-class approach - fiction, non-fiction and poetry – which introduces children to language, concepts and content that they might otherwise find too demanding to decode independently or fully comprehend without adult support.
Research tells us that ‘working vocabulary’ is developed through books that are read to and explored with children. New, irresistible vocabulary (non-decodable and decodable) is carefully introduced alongside the beautiful illustrations which illuminate meaning in order to promote and secure a deep level of comprehension. We have ensured that there is a clear structure adopted within each lesson (Read, Model, Practise and Apply) which supports the explicit and cumulative coverage of the fundamental skills and strategies of reading comprehension, this consistent approach aims to ease cognitive load and allow all leaners to share a deep sense of enjoyment on their individual journeys to mastery in reading.
Developing independence in reading
Key Stage 1
Book Bands - Collins Big Cat Reading Scheme
What are Book Bands?
We use Book Bands through our Big Cat reading scheme to provide a variety of texts to keep children engaged and motivated in their journey to reading fluency and understanding. Books bands also help to give teachers a means of assessing progress in reading, particularly in Key Stage 1. We have carefully selected Big Cat as our scheme of choice as it provides precisely levelled and skilfully written books that support reading development through ‘real’ books (the kind of children’s books found in bookshops).
Why use Book Bands?
Banded books ultimately provide children with a colourful stairway of progression in reading. Teachers can make book-buying decisions to meet the needs of individual pupils, catering to their interests and bringing variety and breadth to children’s reading whilst monitoring and evidencing their progress using a highly graduated progression throughout each key stage that moves on termly at expected levels of progress.
The book bands philosophy has not changed and at its heart is the opportunity it gives children to read a mix of reading scheme and ‘real’ books from a range of publishers whilst being consistently and appropriately challenged. Using banded real books, pupils are able to choose freely from within a structured range, making reading more independent and enjoyable.
Key Stage 2
Children in Key Stage 2 at East Farleigh use the Accelerated Reader (A.R.) program to support their independence in selecting books that are appropriately pitched to promote fluency and comprehension skills at exactly the right level. This helps to secure the very best progress from each and every child, whilst still allowing plenty of choice and autonomy is being able to select books that appeal to their individual interests.
It has proved to be a very effective system for motivating children and ensuring good progress in reading. Children have access to a range of beautiful books in their class libraries; these are regularly replenished from our school library by nominated reading ambassadors.
It is vital that you and other family members continue to listen to your child read as they progress through the school. This not only helps support their fluency and comprehension, but it can also lead them develop a true love and enjoyment of reading as they will see first hand the pleasure you take in listening to them share their stories with you. It is important that you capture these moment by writing in your child's reading record book; this also gives us a useful measure to see how regularly children are reading.
If you have questions about reading or AR, please contact your child’s class teacher who will be happy to help.
Parents as Partners
Parent Reading Workshops
Thank you to all of those who attended our parent workshops. We so enjoyed spending time with you and your children, exploring texts and discussing how we can support our children's reading.
Curriculum Concepts: Reading
Meeting Milestones: Reading