Aims of the Curriculum
Reading is an academy priority. At Harris Free School Peckham (HFSP), we believe that a quality reading curriculum should be one that is accessible to all, emphasises pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, and prepares children for the general demands of the secondary curriculum by focussing on securing phonetic ability, fluency and comprehension. In every year group, our reading curriculum is underpinned by quality children’s literature that provides a rich context for learning and supports building a reading culture throughout the school.
Children acquire a secure knowledge of the English Language
- Children can read fluently and effortlessly.
- Children can comprehend the meaning of texts.
- Children are given meaningful contexts and opportunities to become proficient readers through the use of rich texts
- Texts are deliberately chosen to champion inclusivity and diversity, and span a range of genres.
- Understanding of text is developed through debate, drama and discussion
3.The reading curriculum will inspire ambition
- Texts will take them out of their daily experience to inspire ambition. Children will be confident to express their thoughts and feelings about a text.
- Reading activities will foster a life-long love of reading and learning.
Our pupils will leave primary school with:
- A love of reading and a more positive attitude toward reading;
- Increased self-confidence as a reader;
- A broad, varied vocabulary;
- Greater understanding of comprehension and grammar; and
- Greater understanding of and empathy for other people and cultures as represented in different texts.
- Children acquire a secure knowledge of the English Language
Children are taught phonics using the Read Write Inc. program. As a school we prioritise the teaching of phonics, ensuring there are enough adults for small group instruction. Children are assessed half-termly and regrouped accordingly. Children are given 1 to 1 catch-up tuition if they do not make their targeted progress. (See appendix 1 for phonics overview.)
Storytime & Retelling – EYFS and KS1
It is important that children understanding the conventions of language and stories, and internalising story language. In addition to phonics, EYFS and KS1 classes have three to five story time sessions per week. Teachers retell a familiar or classic tale, map the story with the children, embed the story through engaging activities and provide children opportunities to innovate on and perform the story. The provision of focussed storytime and retelling sessions provides a foundation for our aim to raise overall reading attainment throughout the school.
All children who are working below national expectation receive support through explicit, structured interventions. The content of the intervention is dependent on the stage and reading barrier (which will be specifically diagnosed). A dedicated staff member for each year group runs reading interventions. Intervention impact is rigorously evaluated on a termly basis.
Children who are working significantly below the curriculum of their peers in Year 5 and 6 (where this is not as a result of being new to English) are taught using the Fresh Start program from Read Write Inc. Fresh Start acts as an effective intervention for low-attaining readers at the transition phase from primary to secondary school. These sessions are led by a specially trained adult.
We understand how crucial it is to ensure that the lowest 20% of our readers make accelerated progress. In addition to target interventions, the lowest 20% of readers read 1 to 1 with an adult every day. The text is mediated and calibrated by the supporting adult, and the intervention is recorded in a reading record maintained at school. These sessions take place in a more relaxed atmosphere, focussing on the National Curriculum aim of ‘feed[ing] pupils’ imagination and open[ing] up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds’.
Explicit vocabulary teaching is a focus across all subject areas. All teachers are trained in effective vocabulary teaching. Vocabulary is taught on the first day of a reading cycle and is revisited at the beginning of each lesson (see appendix 2 Planning Model). Key vocabulary is written on ‘leaves’ and added to the vocabulary tree present in every classroom, which acts as a memory aid and is referred to while new vocabulary is being transferred to the children’s long-term memory. Tier 3 vocabulary is taught across the curriculum and can be found in children’s knowledge organisers.
As a school we prioritise oracy as a way of developing language, reading fluency and reading comprehension. We will have a whole school pedagogical focus on accountable talk partners in Autumn 2. As well as teachers modelling and normalising expressiveness, helping engage and sustain interest in a text, teachers create opportunities for pupils to talk in all reading lessons (see appendix 2 Planning Model). Techniques such as ‘Control the Game’ (accountable whole class reading) provide all children the opportunity to read aloud in front of their peers, in a managed way that boosts self-esteem. In addition, pupils participate in drama and performance activities, providing them the opportunity to demonstrate deep understanding of a text through empathising with characters and their contexts.
66.9% of our pupils are EAL; many children arrive to the school in KS2 with little or no English. We have partnered with the Bell Foundation and Roehampton University to take part in a 3-year project to ensure we have excellent EAL provision across the school, which will support new-to-English learners develop their reading skills (see school EAL policy for further information).
- Children are given meaningful contexts and opportunities to become proficient readers through the use of rich texts
By placing books at the core, we allow teachers to use the text as the context to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, which ‘… is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’
As a school, we work with the Literacy Tree, a Primary English consultancy. In partnership with them, we have created a reading text overview which encompasses a rich range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Texts have been selected to promote a diversity of authors, settings and character voices. The majority of reading instruction and learning is built around the class reading of whole texts to provide pupils the opportunity to better understand character development, story arcs and structures, and thematic development. Teachers and children are encouraged to complete texts, with appropriate scaffolds if necessary, to ensure pupils become familiar with the satisfaction of completing a book. (See appendix 3 FS English Reading Y2-Y6 Overview).
We have specially designed library spaces in the KS1 and KS2 corridors. These are vibrant, inviting, comfortable areas where the children can be helped to select books that broaden their exposure to different genres and authors. These libraries are in the centre off the school, making visible to all the significance of the role that books play in the life of the school. The libraries are well stocked and include a selection of books that speak more directly to the backgrounds and cultures of our diverse school community.
Children visit Peckham Library every half term, [subject to social-distancing restrictions]. During these visits they meet the librarian, enjoy a reading related group activity and ask questions. [In the event that large group sessions are not permitted from September 2020, virtual meetings will be arranged]. Through visiting the library, we hope that children feel empowered to access books beyond school and encouraged to take increased responsibility for their reading progress.
Recommended Reading Lists
We have recommended reading lists for pupils in all year groups. These reading lists are intended to support children in selecting a range of different authors and genres from our library and other sources, as well as support families with understanding what books are appropriate for each age group when encouraging reading at home.
Poem of the Week
SLT visit classes throughout the week to read a ‘poem of the week’. As well as increasing pupils’ exposure to this important literary form, this is an opportunity for SLT to visit classes whilst assemblies are not taking place, model expert reading and engage with the children through a rich text.
Children are expected to read at home every evening. Every child in the school receives a reading record which is taken home and updated regularly. The reading record is a critical tool in ensuring that participation in reading is the most important academic activity parents engage in. Teachers regularly review and sign-off individual reading records, celebrating those pupils that show a sustained commitment to improving reading fluency and supporting those pupils and families that need it with additional interventions and advice.
We endeavour to engage with parents about reading with their child as much as possible. Appropriate support is in place to help parents and those children that do not live in text rich households, including ‘Introduction to Phonics’ seminars for Early Years parents and ‘Reading Strategy’ seminars for KS2 parents, and EYFS Parents Into Reading (a standing invitation to parents to read with their children in the classroom every Friday morning). Communication is also be maintained through reading records, ‘Reading top tips’ in the newsletter, our school website and social media.
- The reading curriculum will inspire ambition
All classes are named after authors. Class teachers have selected an author who is meaningful to them. Each classroom includes a reading space which is designed to reflect the class author and has a selection of their books. The names reflect a diverse mix of ethnicities and genders.
The Peckham reading curriculum is structured around the experience and exploration of different literary themes (thematic units) across high-quality texts and a diverse range of authors, identified in our text overview (see appendix 3).
Each half-term, children compete in a reading challenge. The children are set the task of reading 6 books. The first book is from a whole class set, so that the majority of children read the same book; some children will be given a more targeted text to match ability. The following 5 books are chosen by the child, with support from the adult who will mediate books choices to ensure pupils are reading ‘goldilocks texts’. Pupils must complete a review before moving on to next book. The reading challenge is displayed in all classrooms, with the display used to monitor / arbitrate progress. Children that successfully complete 6 books will take part in a celebration.
Reading Across the Curriculum
We recognise the role of reading across all subject areas. Reading is embedded in other subject areas where possible through the inclusion of short texts, articles and non-fiction books. Subject leads will build a bank of relevant material to support various topics across their subject area. As part of our pedagogical professional development in 2020/21, we will focus on ‘Everybody Reads’ in summer 1; this is a teaching tool which supports teachers facilitating children reading more regularly, as a way of sharing knowledge.
In school, we foster a culture of privileging reading, enjoying reading, sharing reading, celebrating reading and better understanding reading. Teachers are exemplar readers, modelling the reading strategies of reading experts, engaging children in book talk, and creating (and encouraging the use of) inviting reading areas within their classrooms based on their class author. The termly Reading Challenge creates an environment of competition around reading and enables every child to enjoy a level of reading success; school-wide celebrations highlight the success of the pupils‘ completing the challenge. Reading and literacy are celebrated with ad hoc (national and international) events throughout the school year (for example, World Book Day). We have visiting authors who work with all year groups. Finally, we have started a partnership with the National Theatre who perform a different Shakespeare play for year 4 – year 6 every year, with pre- and post-workshops to support the learning (all non-essential visitors are subject to our Covid 19 risk assessment).
Assessment and Impact
A robust reading curriculum makes a profound and positive impact on the outcomes of every pupil, not just as they tackle the rest of the primary curriculum, but as they journey through secondary education and beyond into adulthood. We will continue to measure the impact of the reading curriculum through improved reading comprehension scores and teacher assessments.
More importantly, the true impact of this curriculum will be on our pupils and their futures in terms of their:
- increased self-esteem;
- improved emotional regulation and ability to articulate themselves and their feelings;
- greater opportunities and improved cultural capital; and
- future wellbeing and financial security.
Formative assessments take place daily during dedicated phonics and reading lessons and other shared, guided and independent reading sessions. Children complete an unseen reading comprehension weekly to develop their resilience when encountering new texts independently (see appendix 2). Summative assessments take place on a half termly basis (see assessment booklet).
Children are assessed in phonics every half-term and regrouped accordingly. Assessments check that children can:
- Successfully sound out and blend graphemes;
- Read phonetically decodable one-syllable and two syllable words; and
- Read a selection of pseudo words (nonsense words).
Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Test in Year 1 will be extensively supported to retake the screening check in Year 2.
As part of the evidence acquired for the end KS1 teacher assessment, children’s reading age is assessed using PM Benchmark.
In KS1 and KS2 the primary method of formal assessment for reading each term will be a summative assessment using Rising Stars Reading Assessment resource. These assessments will measure pupils’ ability to decode and comprehend text, ensuring pupils are making expected progress against the programme of study.
Children who are working significantly below the curriculum of their year group are assessed using Pivats. This measures the attainment of the pupils and each term progress can be tracked.
Children’s home reading is assessed in a reading record that is checked by the class teacher. In school, 1 to 1 reading with the lowest 20% is recorded in school reading records.
Tier 1 vocabulary: common words of everyday speech (e.g. come; table). Tier 2 vocabulary: high-frequency words that occur across contexts, more common in writing than in everyday speech (e.g. endure; despise). Tier 3 vocabulary: domain specific, technical vocabulary (e.g. atom; sedimentary).