We follow the National Curriculum. Our curriculum will develop pupils’ reading in all subjects to support their problem solving efficiently. Children will be taught to read fluently, understand a variety of texts and to read for pleasure. Our curriculum will do everything to promote wider reading, including setting ambitious expectations for reading at home. We have daily phonic sessions up to year 2 and for some year 3 children too. We use the validated systematic synthetic linguistic scheme, Sounds Write. The majority of teaching reading is explicit and through phonics lessons, guided reading sessions, individual practice and whole class teaching.


Phonemic awareness-

Phonemes are the smallest units making up spoken language. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to identify and manipulate these phonemes in spoken  words.  It is also the understanding that the sounds of spoken language work together to make words.

Using phonics-

Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (the sounds of spoken language) and graphemes (the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language). Readers use these relationships to recognize familiar words and to decode unfamiliar ones.

Vocabulary development-

refers to the knowledge of stored information about the meanings and pronunciations of words and phrases necessary for communication. Vocabulary development enables pupils to determine if a word/phrase makes sense based on their understanding of the context.

Reading fluency-

Fluency is the ability to read words accurately and quickly. Fluent readers recognize words and comprehend them simultaneously. Reading fluency and phrasing is a critical factor necessary for reading comprehension. If children read out loud with speed, accuracy, and proper expression, they are more likely to comprehend effectively on the run.


(both listening and reading) allows pupils to summarise, infer, deduct and retrieve effectively. Comprehension is an active process that requires an intentional and thoughtful interaction between the reader and the text.

At Barlow Hall we use the researched principles from EEF, Reading Recovery and our systematic synthetic phonics programme, Sounds-Write, to shape our reading curriculum and teaching. Our teaching aligns to the model of “The Simple View of Reading.”

We use a balanced and engaging approach to developing reading, which integrates both decoding and comprehension skills.


Both decoding (the ability to translate written words into the sounds of spoken language) and comprehension (the ability to understand the meaning of the language being read) skills are necessary for confident and competent reading, but neither is sufficient on its own.

We teach explicitly so that we provide an appropriate balance of:

  • problem solving skills required to work strategically when reading.  
  • reading using a range of reading resources, including (but not consisting entirely of) some phonetically decode-able books in addition to a wide range of texts from various publishers. This is facilitated to allow exposure to a range of language structures.
  • Matching books to our children’s instructional and decodable level, which are continuously assessed and refined based on teacher observations and assessments, in order that texts are not too easy and not too hard.opportunities for children to study a range of good quality and interesting fiction and non-fiction texts from a variety of genres. They have the opportunity to read ‘real’ books and newspapers, big books, posters, ICT based texts, on individual computers, iPads and interactive Whiteboards, large texts, information booklets and Reading Recovery level banded guided reading materials.
  • We introduce well-known texts across year groups, to build our children’s knowledge about the world and ensure they are exposed to the very best writers of fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry from the past and current authors.

We use concepts to give meaning to our reading:

In all subjects at Barlow Hall we use six Thinking Concepts:

  • Continuity and Change over Time
  • Inter-relationships
  • Perspectives
  • Similarities and Differences
  • Analysing and Interpreting
  • Cause and Effect

Our reading subject concepts are:

  • Concepts about print (CAPs)
  • Word reading, including phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Phrasing and fluency

Our reading skills:

  • Decoding
  • Retrieval
  • Interpreting
  • Organisation
  • Choice
  • Viewpoint
  • Context
  • Oral retelling and performance

Our curriculum is designed so children are taught the knowledge and skills then use their knowledge. We build knowledge and skills from one year to another, moving from a basic understanding to an advanced model where understanding is applied to fluency and then a deep and automatic understanding. In our lessons we build on prior knowledge and link back and forwards to embed our knowledge. We return to key concepts so that are children know more and remember more.

 English is both a subject in its own right and integral to developments in every other subject.