Cowley Hill English Reading Curriculum Statement


Curriculum Intent:


At Cowley Hill, we believe that all of our children should receive a high- quality English education, which teaches children to read, speak and write fluently and with confidence. We aim to nurture a deep-rooted love of language in every child through our rich and varied English curriculum. Our intent is that all children can articulate their learning through five strands; Describing, Explaining, Convincing, Justifying and Proving, enabling them to communicate effectively with the world around them.


We enable all children to learn to read and we encourage them to read to learn. We strive to foster a love of reading in all children and, through our exceptional school library, expose them to a wealth of literary texts to further enhance their other curriculum experiences.


Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:


read easily, fluently and with good understanding

develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language

appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas

are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 



Curriculum Implementation:


Reading in Nursery


As children enter nursery, staff begin to work on Phase 1 phonics following the Letters and Sounds scheme of work. This involves helping children to identify and differentiate between specific sounds such as body sounds, instruments and sounds in the environment. The children are involved in activities such as rhyming and alliteration games to support their learning. As the year progresses children are encouraged to hear initial sounds in words and begin to orally blend and segment if ready.




Reading in Reception


At Cowley Hill, we teach reading through Letters and Sounds. In Reception, the children are taught Phases 2 – 4 with the expectation that most children will be secure in these phases so that they are Year 1 ready.


Reading books are matched carefully to the phonics phase that the children are working using the Collins Big Cat reading scheme. The children receive 1 book per week and keep these books for a full week with the expectation being that they re-read the books to increase fluency and understanding. Children also take home a book of their choosing from our library to develop their reading for pleasure.


All children are read 1-2 times per week in a small group during guided reading and on a 1:1 basis with the class teacher or Teaching Assistant.




Reading in Key Stage 1


Our teaching of phonics through Letters and Sounds continues into Key Stage 1. Teaching is a mixture of whole class alongside guided groups, with teachers regularly assessing their children’s phonics ability. For those children who struggle with phonics, we have a dedicated teaching assistant who takes small groups in order to reinforce missing sounds.


Children are also given the Year 1 and 2 Common Exception Words to take home and are frequently assessed on the reading of these words. Where appropriate, focused phonic sounds are also sent home for reinforcement.


Home reading books are carefully matched to each individual child’s phonic ability using the Collins Big Cat Scheme. Like Reception, each child takes two books home for a week, rereading them to encourage familiarity, fluency and understanding (one of these books will be a book which can be read for pleasure from our school library)


All children read 1-2 times per week in a small group during guided reading and on a 1:1 basis with the class teacher or Teaching Assistant.




Reading in Key Stage 2


Reading in Lower Key Stage 2 continues with children moving towards free reading status. Those children who still need phonics reinforcement still receive two phonics matched books per week and have 3-4 phonics sessions per week taught explicitly. However, most children have moved through these books are now reading Collins Big Cat books which are non-phonic based, or are free readers who are supported with appropriate book choice weekly.


 In Upper Key Stage 2 the children are given the freedom to choose their own book to use as their reading book which enables them to investigate and develop their own interests. All children are expected to change their books at least once a week unless they are choosing their own, as these books may require more time.


All children read with an adult at least once fortnightly. Children who are not yet fluent will receive extra 1:1 reading sessions 3-4 times per week led by an adult. All classes have dedicated reading lessons 5x per week.


Teaching is a mixture of whole class and guided groups where necessary. Teachers focus on developing children’s fluency skills alongside key comprehension skills necessary for the children to understand and analyse a text appropriate to their year group expectations.






Phonics is taught daily in EYFS and KS1. Children will learn up to 5 sounds per week. Our teaching sequence follows Letters and Sounds and our reading scheme books are from Big Cat (Collins) which is aligned with Letters and Sounds. Within our Year groups we stream phonics in order to closely match the needs of our teaching to the needs of our children. As a result of our high quality first teaching, our children make excellent progress in phonics and reading.




Curriculum Impact:


At Cowley Hill, it is clear that children enjoy reading regularly, for information and for enjoyment. Children discuss books with excitement and interest. They enjoy writing and use the features of different genres and styles. Children can confidently write for different purposes and audiences. 


Half-termly, teachers moderate children's work in school to ensure accurate assessments are made. The quality of writing in English and curriculum books is evaluated by learning walks, drop ins, child conferencing and work scrutinies. These inform future areas for improvement and the impact of new initiatives. The English subject leader provides an action plan for the subject and addresses areas for development and improvement, which is then shared with all staff. 


Children will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our children will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education. 


By the time children leave Cowley Hill, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience. 


The impact of our curriculum is under constant review and development to ensure that it appropriately meets the needs of our children, supporting and challenging pupils to achieve their full potential.




Our curriculum is regularly monitored by:


Assessing children’s existing understanding and vocabulary, before and after the unit is taught.

Assessing children’s’ learning behaviours working towards an objective such as confidence, engagement, self-motivation, resilience, curiosity.

Moderation of effective planning and lesson sequences.

Summative assessment of children’s discussions about their learning.

Assessment of recorded work, which may include work in books, images of practical activities, electronic work stored on Google Classroom.

Interviewing the children about their learning (pupil voice).

Moderation staff meetings where children’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work. 

Progression of Skills - Work in progress


Progression of Skills 

Curriculum Learning Outcomes