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English Reading Curriculum

Reading Curriculum at Dovecote

Vision and Intent

Reading is a priority and is essential for the pupils of Dovecote to succeed in their education. As a school community, we place great importance on the progress of a child’s 'Reading for Pleasure' habits, reading attainment and knowledge acquisition. This is so that they not only build the skills needed to become an effective reader, but also foster a relationship with reading that is enjoyable and that they take pleasure from what they read.

Our chosen Synthetic Systematic Phonics programme is Read Write Inc. We use a phonics-based approach to help young children crack the ‘alphabetic code’; immersion in text to develop word-recognition skills; and the influence of knowledge, processing and cognition on wider comprehension.

When considering the child as a holistic reader, we as a school use The University of Strathclyde’s ‘3 domains model’. This model serves as an organisational structure for observing and understanding the literacy behaviours and knowledge demonstrated by children (Ellis, Carey, Smith and Rowe 2018). It also provides an understanding of cognitive development as well as valuing the cultural and social capital of the community of Clifton, and the identity and agency as a reader of the children at our school. With this in reflection, we aim to provide all children with the skills needed for them to become successful readers, no matter what their starting point, background or additional needs may be.

We aim to meet the expectations laid out in the EYFS Early Learning Goals and the National Curriculum, and when possible exceed these, and ensure children progress appropriately during their time at Dovecote. Alongside ensuring children become secure at decoding, we aim to develop their word recognition, fluency and comprehension so that the child can grow into a confident reader. As well as this, we foster an environment that nurtures reading for pleasure so that children can learn to enjoy and love their reading, and understand the benefits of it. We want every child to identify as a reader, and we endeavour to provide them with every opportunity to see themselves this way.


To realise our intent from the outset of nursery, we have curated a diverse collection of books that feature characters from different cultures and backgrounds. Our reading spaces are designed to accommodate all learners, with interactive storytelling methods and inclusive literacy activities. Children continue to develop their understanding of books, words and how to read. Additionally, we actively involve parents in the reading process and provide resources for extending experiences at home. Our approach is flexible, with continuous assessment and adaptation to ensure that our reading environment remains responsive to the evolving needs of the children. 

The explicit and direct teaching of word reading begins in the early years with phonics. Children will have daily phonics sessions, where they can take part in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their needs. Each facilitator of the phonics programme uses observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are given scaffolding in their learning and also challenged appropriately. This approach fosters the development of automatic and fluency in their reading. Comprehension of the texts they encounter is structured into the early year’s curriculum, with lots of opportunity for the children to build these skills early. Children are read to every single day, to continue to build a love of reading, and to provide opportunities to build book talk and comprehension skills. Regular assessments and monitoring allow for precision teaching and intervention to identify and support pupils before they fall behind.

In year 3, children are expected to be ready to join whole-class reading sessions, which are undertaken 4 times per week. If children are still in need of support in their decoding, they will continue access intervention for their phonological awareness.

These whole-class reading sessions take two forms. There are weeks focussed on explicitly developing fluency. These fluency sessions provide children with the skills needed and opportunities to practice their prosody, phrasing and automaticity in reading. Fluency session take precedent in year 3 and then give way to more development of comprehension as children progress through KS2.

Comprehension sessions focus on building the children’s knowledge of the world. These sessions begin with the class novel, using it as a stimulus for discussion and meaningful thought, and bring in a range of different fiction and non-fiction that links with themes within the class novel as the week progresses. This allows the children to develop contextual knowledge and understanding and create patterns of understanding that can be applied to a range of reading. We use the VIPERS approach to develop an understanding of the specific comprehension domains, and children are introduced to these from an early age by identifying each domain with a corresponding representation (The Dovecote Reading Dogs).

In our curriculum of class novels, we endeavour to provide the children with challenging books that explore many themes and big ideas, reflect the realities of the world we inhabit, and build on the children’s cultural capital. Books are carefully selected around 6 big ideas that run through the learning at Dovecote: Knowing right from wrong, Diversity, Conservation & sustainability, Friendships & relationships, Exploration & discovery, and Changes over time. We also incorporate Doug Lemov’s theory of the 5 plagues of the reader into the selection of the books, which states that there are 5 types of texts that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond a lexical level and demand more from the reader than other types of books (Lemov 2016).

We also pay significant belief in developing an ethos for reading for pleasure. Reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status, and reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success (OECD 2002). Staff are aware of the power of reading for pleasure and are open and honest with children about their reading habits and attitudes.  Reading is extremely visible in the school. We also run a Reading Ambassador programme which endeavours to provide children with peer role-models.


          Impact is measured through lesson visits, pupil/staff/family voice, work scrutiny, formative and summative assessment and data. There are leadership meetings weekly, where the impact and children’s progress is evaluated and reflected upon



Help your child with Reading at home - Read Write Inc

Phonics games for home and school