At Ash Green, we stand firm in the belief that every child is a reader, no matter what their journey or background. Our vision is to create a world where reading and storytelling are an integral part of growing up. We believe that reading and story telling improve the life quality of children and young people from all abilities and backgrounds by giving them a better understanding of the world and its many cultures. Reading helps to develop children’s capacity for imagination, creativity and invention. It helps children to relate to others, share their experiences and learn from them. In this way, we can become more tolerant, solve problems together, appreciate the misfortune of others and create a better world.
We strive to craft a lifelong love of language and literature through a novel based curriculum and a strong appreciation for key reading skills. The aim for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading.
We aim to ensure that all children have chance to follow an enriching curriculum and have the skills to read effectively for information in their everyday lives. At Ash Green Primary, we recognise that English skills underpin all elements of the school curriculum, and are an essential life-skill. Considering the fundamental importance of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing in everyday life, we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s reading ability, thus enabling them to play a full part in society. Because of this we follow a bespoke, English curriculum, tailored to the needs of our children and designed with them in mind.
In Reading our intent is:
- For children to leave our school with a strong awareness of the key reading skills required to be able to unpick a range of different text types (Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence and Summarise), with skills explicitly being taught as part of everyday teaching
- To drive reading knowledge through the following areas: word reading, understanding and interpretation, knowledge of structure and organisation, writerly style, writers viewpoint and knowledge of audience
- To develop a strong appreciation of the power of vocabulary amongst our pupils
- To eradicate misconceptions around the true meaning of what it means to be a ‘great reader’
- To deliver a reading curriculum which is multi-dimensional, allowing children to simultaneously work on key reading skills alongside reading curriculum objectives
- To create opportunities to develop a love of reading through a progressive curriculum which gradually builds on children’s prior knowledge of reading skills
- To help every one of our pupils foster a love of reading through a culture which promotes reading as a luxury afforded for us to enjoy
We have developed our ‘Rights of the Reader’ to drive our mission of every child being a reader at Ash Green.
Subject Leader Introduction
My name is Alice Worthington and I am the English subject leader at Ash Green Primary Academy.
English Language and Literature is my background and is an irrepressible passion of mine. I am fascinated by the abundance of opportunity a literate individual has access to. I am an avid reader and I strive each and every day to positively impact on our children’s perceptions of reading. I am a strong believer that, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary” (Jim Rohn). For me, reading is the backbone of society, those who read are the people capable of making our world a better place.
In every aspect of the curriculum, English can be found. Our children need to be confident speakers, listeners, readers and writers and need opportunities to use and practice these skills in every subject. The English curriculum and the teaching of it has never been more flourished and I am dedicated to ensuring that our children leave this school having the knowledge and skills to be literate citizens in our fast paced, ever changing world.
The main priority for me, as the English lead, is that our intent of delivering an English curriculum that is about a love of language that is well embedded. I want my subject to be a medium to transport our pupils to places and contexts outside their realm of knowledge and empower them to question and challenge the world around them. I want every child to leave Ash Green, feeling the same way about language and literature as I did as a child. I want the children to know which characters in a book taught them a lesson, which authors inspired them to chase their dreams alongside an appreciation for how literature shaped them as individuals.
Curriculum Content and Progression
Our reading curriculum is driven by our key reading domains: VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Summarising and Sequencing). It is a two pronged approach. Through a progressive and sequential curriculum, children are taught national curriculum reading objectives alongside a wealth of different reading skills which are built upon each academic year.
Genre coverage is also mapped out to ensure a balance of fiction and none fiction texts within each year group. We refer to reading lessons as simply ‘reading’. This is because we believe strongly that reading is not a ‘one size fits all approach’. In reading lessons you will see a strong focus on:
- VIPERS reading skills
- Strategies to support comprehension, decoding and fluency
- Vocabulary and language
- Intervention marking
- Text talk
- Modelling of ‘thinking out loud strategies’ by the class teacher
We are passionate about driving standards in early reading to ensure that our children have the best start in their own reading journey. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, phonics sessions are taught daily. We follow the DfE validated Twinkl Phonics scheme and deliver this through a whole class phonics approach. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, book bands have been organised into subsets to provide further recognition of sound sets and to tighten our offer of which 1:1 decodable reading books our children get to take home.
Each child takes home 2 phonetically decodable books matched to their individual phonics assessments and this is tracked and monitored by the class teacher. We follow a two pronged approach to reading books which go home with children:
- 2 phonetically decodable reading books (hard copy books)
- 1 phonics ‘focus sound’ mini book which can be accessed online from home and which correlates with the sound that children are focusing on that week in phonics
Because of this, children receive books which are matched to individual phonics assessments and the whole class phonics sound.
In addition to this, children also receive 3 stand alone reading sessions a week and daily story time at the end of each day.
Key Stage 2 Reading
Children in key stage 2 are encouraged to read 4 times per week, in line with school policy. This is promoted throughout the course of the school week by class teachers. Any child struggling to hit this target can request to read with the class teacher, or with a member of the support team. Children who have not met this weekly target are also encouraged to join reading club with their teacher on a Friday.
In key stage 2, all classes have their own class library and their own ‘key stage 2 library’. Our reading heroes are based in Key Stage 2 and they drive reading opportunities across the school week. At break times and lunch times, they can be found on the playground, in their super hero capes, hearing other children across the key stage read.
Classes also have a 2 week rotational timetable in which to attend the key stage library. The library is organised into different genres and promotes the following:
- Culture and diversity to promote cultural capital
- Black lives and history
- Appreciation of nature
- Subject specific titles
- Reading for pleasure
In addition to the key stage library, we have the Ash Green Virtual online library which children are encouraged to access from home. This is also utilised during our end of day story time across school.
All key stage 2 children have a reading diary that they take home each evening and return to school the next day. Class teachers are responsible for monitoring the 4 weekly read expectation to make our mission of ‘every child a reader’ a reality.
In addition to the above, children also receive weekly stand alone ‘reading lessons’ and daily story time.
In our school, we adopt a ‘novel based curriculum’. We have core texts which sit at the heart of all aspects of our curriculum – they are our key drivers for learning and wider curriculum topics. Over the course of the academic year and within English Writing lessons, teachers plan around a ‘core text’. This core text is a vehicle for writing opportunities and wider curriculum exploration. There are three core texts per year group – one per term. Find our whole school novel overview below.
Helpful Links and Ideas
I am exceptionally proud of our reading achievements at Ash Green Primary, even more so at present with the development of our very own Reading Heroes:
Our Reading Heroes are our vision and our voice for reading at the academy – a group of children who have an unshakeable belief that reading is magic. Our young reading leaders are a group of children who meet regularly with myself in order to continually strive ‘for more reading’ for our children. We believe that the beauty of reading at Ash Green is that it is completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Every child’s voice counts, and everyone has the chance to paint the world from their own perspective – which for me, is the most important thing of all. The roles of the reading heroes include:
- Supporting myself with ‘whole school reading initiatives’ to raise the profile of reading
- Supporting with holding our teachers and children to account – they are exceptionally fantastic at checking learning environments!
- Creating 1:1 reading opportunities for key stage 2 children to read at lunch times and break times
- Leading whole school assemblies to reward children for ‘reading for pleasure’
- Having a voice and meeting regularly with myself to discuss how the subject can be improved even further
Best of all, they wear super hero capes!
- Sponsored Readathon – 28th October, 2019
- Launch of a new Key Stage 2 Library – December, 2019
- Launch of the ‘Ash Green Reading Heroes’ – 5th January, 2020
- A special visit from globally successful author, Eamon Reilly – Monday 20th January, 2020
- Grandparents’ Reading visits for all year groups – Week commencing Monday 2nd March, 2020
- Author visit from Graham McLachlan, all children will study his locally published book ‘The Pottery Painters Mouse’ – Thursday 5th March, 2020
- World Book Day – Theme: Hard Working People of the Potteries – Thursday 5th March, 2020
- Christmas Story Advents – December, 2020
- World Book Day – Theme: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Kindness – March 2021
- Relaunch of the new Ash Green Reading Heroes – September, 2021
- Christmas Story Advents – December 2021
- Grandparents’ Reading Afternoons – Week commencing Monday 28th February, 2022
- World Book day – ‘A Scientific Story’ – A revamped approach to World Book Day with cross curricular links – March 2022
- Key Stage 1 Reading for Pleasure Assembly – 9th May, 2022
- Reading for Pleasure Competition – Parent Communication – 13th May, 2022
- Key Stage 2 Reading for Pleasure Assembly – 13th May, 2022
Ash Green Primary Book Spines
Policies and Supporting Documents
We believe that one of our main reasons for having such wonderful success in reading is the partnership we have created with parents to help their child read and provide continuity between home and school. We are heavily invested in continuing professional development and continue to strive to educate our community on the benefits of reading. Parent engagement has involved and continues to involve many different forms: regular letter communication, reading workshops, reading CPD videos, parent information evenings and grandparent reading afternoons which are mapped into our annual academic calendar. You will find some examples of our reading education videos below.
Parent Communication and Engagement timeline:
- New book band launch in KS1 and KS2 – January 2021 and July 2021
- Parent letter regarding automaticity in reading – October, 2021
- Parent letter regarding progression in book bands to support home reading – October, 2021
- Parent letter regarding best reads for each year group – November, 2021
- Parent communication regarding VIPERS question progression to support 1:1 reading – January 2022
- Parent support videos uploaded to Facebook page and YouTube channel, modelled support for 1:1 reading – January 2022
- Parent communication regarding Grandparents afternoons’ – February, 2022
- Parent communication regarding World Book Day Theme – ‘Ada Twist Scientist’ – Cross Curricular Reading Approach – March 2022
- Parent communication regarding Whole School ‘Reading for Pleasure Competition’ – May, 2022
- Parent communication regarding newly updated ‘Recommended Reads’ – May 2022