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Rationale / Intent

At Downs Junior, we are passionate about developing a love of reading in all our pupils.  We provide a wide variety of literature and texts that celebrate diversity, appeal to all and inspire creative thinking.

Our Reading curriculum is designed to enable pupils to:

  • become confident, independent readers, who understand that books of all kinds are a source of pleasure, information and new insights.
  • become critical, reflective readers.
  • read and respond to a wide variety of stories, novels, poems, plays ,non-fiction and media texts.

The ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners in all subjects.  In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment, pupils need to achieve the standards within the National Curriculum. We explicitly teach key reading skills throughout our curriculum.

Reading development is closely related to that of writing. It is by reflecting upon and talking about the texts they encounter that pupils come to understand how writers write and the special relationship which exists between author and reader.  



Book-led English

At Downs Junior, we teach reading in a variety of ways. In English, we have redesigned our curriculum to include book-led units based on quality texts that appeal to all genders and inspire writing.  During these lessons, the whole class will study and read one quality core text.  When appropriate, this text will be adapted or pre-taught based on the needs of the cohort or the individual learners.

When sharing these rich texts, the teacher acts as an expert reader providing a high level of support.  Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and high levels of collaboration.  The teacher’s role is that of the expert reader, who models how the text is read. The pupils, the learner readers, join in where appropriate with the reading of the text – singly and/or chorally. 

Guided Reading

At the start of each academic year, class teachers spend two weeks engaging in ‘Book Talk’ with their pupils. This involves finding out how children feel about reading, what they read and how often. Reluctant readers are flagged up and staff help these children to find books they enjoy, which are appropriate for their level.  

Guided reading takes place across the school in the first term of each year however there will be a greater focus on guided reading for years 3 and 4 throughout the year. We recognise that as children develop their reading skills over the years, the model can be adapted to suit the class’s needs. For example, teachers can choose to follow a carousel model, working with a group while others complete appropriate, quality follow-up tasks, or teachers may prefer to allow the rest of the class to read independently. Whole-class guided reading also takes place, particularly in our book-led English units. Texts are carefully chosen to ensure that children are exposed to a range of genres - for example stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction. Children who are below age-expectations will have additional support.

Addtional Support

For children, who are working towards age releated expectations or who have specific needs, there is a range of support available.  These include:

  • Catch-up Literacy
  • Nessy
  • Dyslexia screening
  • Assembly book group
  • One-to-one reading support
  • Phonics support
  • Book Buzz Club
  • Banded books 

Class Book

When selecting a book to read to the class, it may be appropriate to occasionally select texts that are more challenging and beyond the current reading ability of the majority of the class.  This will expose children to more complex sentence structure, character development and richer vocabulary.

The role of the teacher is:

  • to foster a love of reading as an enjoyable, stimulating and worthwhile activity
  • to follow the school’s policy with the aim of helping pupils to become independent readers
  • to create a supportive environment for reading
  • to model the act of reading through shared reading and to provide focused support through guided reading
  • to assess the pupil’s progress as a reader and provide guidance for their development
  • to promote the use of reading for research purposes.


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