English at Northbrook is led by Mrs Spence
Reading and oracy is at the heart of our curriculum and we want our children to value reading in every aspect of their learning. At Northbrook, we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books that they take with them long into adulthood. We know that reading is important for both educational purposes as well as personal development, as it builds empathy, improves imagination and language development.
At Northbrook we also have a keen focus on 0racy and our curriculum provides pupils with a range of oracy opportunities aimed at supporting them to develop key communication skills and allowing them to 'learn through talk'.
By following the Lancashire English Planning scheme to guide our text choices in our writing sessions we aim to ensure that all pupils:
- develop a love of language for language sake and grow an ability to use spoken and written language to communicate effectively.
- listen, speak, read and write both in, and for, a wide range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- read fluently and with confidence, in any subject, by the time they are ready to move to secondary school.
- love reading and want to read for themselves.
- acquire a wide and rich vocabulary that helps them articulate everything they know about the world around them.
Our Curriculum Drivers
- HEART Values – English at Northbrook is designed to open a world of imagination and creativity which brings us happiness through its adventures. We aim high and aspire to be readers who use our love of stories, and ability to find out information to change the world! Our diverse reading program provides us with a window to other cultures and teaches us to respect everyone, no matter their differences.
- Literacy and Language – At Northbrook, Oracy is of the utmost importance and every writing and reading session is built around a program of Language and communication development that strengthens children’s vocabulary and language skills.
- Community and Cultural Diversity- We aim to provide children with a range of texts that show diversity. By reading stories and books from a wide range of diverse authors, and making links with the wider curriculum, our children build on their understanding of the world.
- Global Citizenship- by providing opportunities for our learning to be based in real-life contexts we engage the children’ curiosity and make them want to read by providing a reading spine, and curriculum of books that appeals to their many interests.
Implementation: Our Reading Curriculum
Reading at Northbrook
The teaching of reading is based on children having lots of opportunities to read widely, read fluently, understand what they are reading and have a love of books. In EYFS and KS1, children will be immersed in stories through ' 5 a-day' reading to empower children to be able to “read” and retell stories from a young age alongside phonics teaching.
In KS2, children share a Class Novel daily and engage with a wide range of diverse authors and genre through the Lancashire planning scheme. Through this carefully mapped progression of texts, children will be exposed to a breadth of text types - fiction, non-fiction, poetry and song- and concepts discussed have been designed and balanced to reflect the diverse nature of society and develop their cultural capital.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, our school uses the ‘Phonics Bug’ Reading Scheme. Find out more about our phonics program here
As the progress at Northbrook, Children need to read with an increasing automaticity s that they can move to focussing on the content of what they are reading. Fluency is the speed and accuracy at which a child can decode a text and takes considerable and continuous practise; therefore, we focus on using a consistent approach to phonics and word reading across all Key Stages by using the Phonics Bug Club programme tactics in our English and Guided Reading lessons.
At Northbrook, we truly believe that a strong Oracy curriculum is vital for our children to succeed and learn to articulate themselves and what they know. Therefore, throughout each sequence of English lessons, opportunities for reading that supports oracy are planned for and new vocabulary is introduced. These include (but are not limited to):
- Role play
- Discussion of text (responding as a reader)
- Oral rehearsal
- Performance reads
- Peer review of work
- Celebration of work in class & during assemblies
At Northbrook, we believe that words are powerful, and to support pupils to communicate successfully, we are working hard to build a curriculum that is rich in language and new vocabulary. This starts from the very beginning of a pupil's journey with us in EYFS by providing vocabulary-rich environments and extensive opportunities to explore, learn, say, and practise new vocabulary in a range of engaging contexts.
Across our curriculum, vocabulary & word meaning is explored, and new vocabulary is taught explicitly to support acquisition and application. This includes through our foundation curriculum where key vocabulary is outlined, planned for and taught.
Key learning: Comprehension
The Key Learning in Reading and Key Learning in Writing have been identified across the school and included in the LAPS documents we use to assess children’s progress and this progression allows children to meet the criteria set out in the National Curriculum for English.
The Teaching Sequence - Guided Reading
In addition to the books the children read for themselves, they should also encounter wider experiences of books and reading each day, experiences which will contribute to their language development, comprehension skills and love of literature (e.g. books explored through Shared Reading, story-time, library books, familiar books and class book corners). Guided reading is taught every day across both Key stages and focusses on developing children’s comprehension and understanding of texts as well as their love of reading.
Reading to inform writing
At Northbrook, every writing unit also includes an element reading focus outline follows the teaching sequence:
- Reading and responding: Quality text provided and pupils supported to read & understand (this may be the 'quality text' linked to writing opportunity). Pupils have the opportunity to read text aloud to support fluency and key reading skills discussed, taught & practised to ensure pupils can respond to the text as a reader. Any new vocabulary is explored and taught explicitly. Opportunities to write are given and focus on responding as a reader.
Reading and analysing: Exploration of writing genre so pupils understand the structure of the text type and a range of excellent examples provided to support this. In KS1 this may involve learning parts of/full text to support understanding. Pupils will analyse text structure, features and specific vocabulary to help gain a deeper understanding of the writing outcome. Opportunities to write are given alongside the creation of a toolkit and other resources (displayed on working walls).
Reading at Home
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, our school uses the ‘Phonics Bug’ Reading Scheme. Find out more about our phonics program here.
Within this scheme, there are fiction and non-fiction books that the children will regularly bring home to read. When children have completed the Phonics Bug programme they will choose from a vast selection of high-quality home reading books from the scheme, which are carefully graded by reading levels known as book bands. The progression between each colour band is very gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving up through the scheme and maintaining their reading confidence.
At KS2, children progress onto the “Big Cat Books” reading scheme which supports our guided reading program which progresses along matching book bands.
It is really important that children develop their comprehension skills alongside their ability to read the words on the page so you may find that your child is able to read the words fluently but continues on the same Book Band colour to enable them to focus on developing their understanding, before moving on to texts with more challenging content.
Teachers assess the children’s reading on a regular basis and will change their 'Book Band' colour when they are confident that both the comprehension and word reading standards have been achieved.
Our most competent readers have access to carefully selected ‘Free Reader’ books to ensure interest and enthusiasm is maintained whilst extending through more challenging texts. All pupils are encouraged to read as widely and frequently as possible. We set challenging reading targets every term and pupils are rewarded for reaching these by achieving bronze, silver and gold (Pupils who achieve their gold award have an extra special treat at the end of the year).
We also engage in and actively promote local community reading projects such as the Library Reading Challenges and we enjoy celebrating World Book Day as a whole school each year.
Reading for pleasure
We encourage our children to engage with a wide range of pleasure for reading books during their time at Northbrook. Each class has a class read that is chosen from the Book Trust Reading suggestions for their year groups. Additionally, a range of these texts are available in our class libraries and Non-fiction areas.
Assessment of English is a continuous and ongoing process and children are assessed against the TAF endpoints for KS1 and KS2 through a variety of different methods including small write opportunities, grammar and spelling retrieval practice, low-stake quizzes, classroom responses and teacher judgements.
Leaders monitor teaching and learning through pupil voice, staff questionnaires as well as book looks and learning walks and using the online app See Saw to record evidence of learning. The development of the children in school is also monitored through daily informal conversations.
As a result of our whole curriculum, we expect to see all children achieve well by developing knowledge and skills across the curriculum. But we understand that a love of writing brings more than this, and aim to ensure that all children will:
- develop lifelong learning behaviours that help them continue to read with passion and write with purpose
- appreciate the possibility of writing as a career and give them the opportunity to have success in modern Britain.
- be responsible global citizens and courageous advocates of our community through the HEART Values we have instilled in them during their time in school.