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“The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions: word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading).

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

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. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge 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.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.”

Reading: Purpose of Study from the 2014 National Curriculum.

What are we trying to achieve?

Our Reading curriculum is part of our ‘Big Idea’ of Human Creativity.

The way we teach word reading enables our children to become fluent readers by learning to:

  • Decode: use their phonic knowledge to sound out and read words by linking sounds (phonemes) to the symbols that represent them (graphemes).
  • Segment: breaking a word apart into its phonemes.
  • Blend: running the sounds in the word together to read the whole word, e.g. ‘r-e-d = red’.
  • Recognise high-frequency words (also known as ‘common exception words’) on sight. These are very common words that we use a lot but which aren’t always decodable using phonics, for example ‘the’, ‘one’, ‘where’.

The way we teach comprehension enables our children to:

  • Vocabulary: draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts and give and explain the meaning of words in context.
  • Retrieve: retrieve and record information from a text and identify and explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information.
  • Sequence: identify and explain the sequence of events in texts.
  • Summarise: summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph.
  • Infer: make inferences from the text and explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text.
  • Predict: predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far and from details stated and implied.
  • Author: identify and explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases.
  • Commentate: identify and explain how information and narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole and make comparisons within the text.

Reading Themes

  • Word Reading:
    • Decode
    • Segment
    • Blend
    • Recognise
  • Comprehension:
    • Vocabulary
    • Retrieval
    • Sequencing
    • Summarising
    • Inference
    • Prediction
    • Authorial Intent
    • Commentating on a Text
Reading Web

Across the school, whole class reading books are selected from our Reading Web which is made up of high-quality texts selected to ensure a good coverage of a range of genre, text complexity and our ‘Six Big Ideas’.

  • Genre:
    • Comedy
    • Crime and Mystery
    • Adventure
    • Realistic Fiction
    • Historical Texts
    • Fantasy
    • Science Fiction
    • Traditional Literature
    • Biographical Texts
    • Information Texts
  • Text Complexity (Lemov’s Five Plagues of Reading):
    • Archaic Language – from texts over 50 years old where the vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural references are very different and often more complex than texts written today (for example, Beowulf; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Raven).
    • Non-Linear Time Sequences – where time moves in fits and starts and may double back on itself (The Ghanaian Goldilocks, The Explorer, A Christmas Carol).
    • Narratively Complex – books that have more than one narrator or where there are multiple intertwined and apparently (for a time) unrelated plot lines (War Horse, Clockwork, Lemony Snicket).
    • Figurative/Symbolic Text – texts which happen on a symbolic level (The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Owl Babies).
    • Resistant Texts – texts that are written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers where you have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues (for example, Sonnet 18; A Monster Calls; Caged Bird).
  • Six Big Ideas of the Combs Ford Curriculum:
    • Planet Earth and the Universe
    • Civilisation
    • Human Creativity
    • Innovation and Exploration
    • Identity and Diversity
    • Personal Growth

In EYFS, the books that children read and learn about are in the EYFS Reading Web.

Reading Webs for the rest of the school are coming soon!

How do we organise learning?

Our Reading curriculum is organised in different ways in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Click on the link below for our non-negotiable for each Key Stage.

Subject Leader: Miss Alix Vanderzanden


Page reviewed on 19/02/24 by KJD.