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Elmhurst School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


"I enjoy reading.  When I read, I feel like I am in a different world.  Reading ensures I am confident and ready for secondary school." - Year 6 Child

Curriculum Intent

We ensure that every one of our pupils can read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and we have a relentless drive to succeed in this mission.​

We want children to aspire to become authors, publishers, editors, librarians and proof readers as well as becoming avid lovers of reading.  Our curriculum ignites a passion for lifelong reading which is promoted through our talk for reading lessons, class reading sessions, effective use of our reading spaces (Book Corners, School Library and Reading CAFÉ) and through our Reading Road Map and by celebrating events such as World Book Day.​  Our carefully curated reading curriculum provides children with a wealth of ideas in which they can respond creatively.

We are aiming for every child to be a successful and thoughtful reader.  We create opportunities for children ‘learn to read’ so that they can ‘read to learn’.  We aim to provide all children with the skills needed to succeed in becoming independent readers.  For children to successfully transition to secondary school and to be able to access other subjects, it is essential that all our pupils have the skills to decode and comprehend texts at an appropriate level.​

Curriculum Implementation

Pupils in Year 3 through to Year 6 (and those without Phonics gaps in Year 2) are taught reading skills through Talk for Reading lessons: objectives are taken from our Reading Progression document which is based on the National Curriculum.  In addition to these lessons, children are regularly heard read on an individual basis, reading is woven throughout the curriculum, we share stories/class readers with pupils daily, and we promote a culture of reading across the school.


We ensure that all our children have access to a wide variety of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts written by a range of ethnically diverse authors.  This is carefully mapped out across the school and linked to our Talk for Writing and Project Guerrilla curriculums.  


Teachers use the Elmhurst Reading Progression document to plan their Talk for Reading lessons.  The Reading Progression document clearly identifies the objectives which need to be taught, provides rationale for teaching these and gives suggestions for how these may be taught.  The Reading Progression document gives teachers clarity of what each objective should look like in each year group.  

Talk for Reading is taught in the following way:


Phase 1: The Introduction Phase | Achieve Basic Understanding

By the end of the introduction phase, the children have a basic understanding of the text and can read it.  It has been reread several times, initial responses logged and core vocabulary considered.  The teacher models fluent reading.  Understanding may be at a basic level, though deeper thinking may have begun.


Phase 2: The Investigation Phase | Deepen Understanding of Comprehension

The investigation phase is where the class begin to 'dig deep' into the core focus for the unit, exploring the text's core purpose.  They may well have to use a strategic approach to clarify meaning.


Response activities such as drama or writing in role as a character may be used to build a close relationship between the reader and the text.


The unit ends with summarising the main ideas, information, viewpoints, events or themes and evaluation.  By the end of this phase, the children can all read the text confidently and fluently with understanding.


Phase 3: Independent Understanding | Independently Demonstrate Different Levels of Understanding

In this final phrase, the children demonstrate understanding independently.  This may be through writing about the text, in a discursive essay style, writing something similar (drawing on the same style and structure) or by answering in depth questions and/or completing a comprehension activity.  

Little Wandle and Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Phonics Programme.  This is a DfE approved programme, which will provide our children with a consistent and systemtic programme for learning to read, for more information on how you can help your child at home with their phonics, you can visit the Little Wandle website here or find more information on our phonics page here.


In line with the Little Wandle programme, we use the Big Cat Collins reading scheme.  The Big Cat Collins banded books are designed for children to be able to read with accuracy.  This means that the children should be on a band where they can read almost all of the words easily and without having to sound them out.  Being able to read all of the words means that you can concenrate on all of the other skills in reading.  Once the children have achieved all of the bands, they become a free reader.  


All children get the opportunity to read two different types of books:

1) A Big Cat Collins banded book

2) A Reading for Pleasure book from the school library


In addition to this, the children in KS2, will also have a book from their Reading Road map.  

Reading at Home | BoomReader

We use BoomReader to log the children's reading in school and at home.  It is an excellent tool to connect pupils, parents and teachers to enable better communication around reading.  

Further Information about the Elmhurst Reading Curriculum

If you would like further information on our Reading curriculum or how to help your child at home then please get in contact with our English leader, Mrs Rachel Lee on 01296 481380 or

Page last updated: 22/02/23