*English - Reading

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‘Aspiring to achieve, determined to succeed’

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


At Sandy Hill, our aims for reading are to ensure that all pupils:


  • 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

  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

Please see the document links at the end of this page to learn about the full English and Reading Curriculum at Sandy Hill Academy.


In Nursery our early reading learning journey begins by sharing stories together and participating in our daily phonics sessions. Children in Nursery are taught Phonics through activities that involve listening and attention, focusing on their ability to distinguish different sounds. These basic skills are vital to enable the children to progress onto more structured Phonics learning in Reception. 
"I can hear birds in the trees." Nursery child, aged 3.
"Phonics helps us learn to read and write." Nursery child, aged 4.
Reading is at the heart of the Early Years Curriculum at Sandy Hill Academy. We encourage and foster a love of reading and ensure reading and books are everywhere. 
Our Topics throughout the year are centered around books. We revisit and share these books throughout the year. Within the Early Years environments books of different types and genres are placed within all areas of the classroom to support and ignite learning in these areas. 
We send reading books home within the first week of the children starting school. The books are carefully matched to the phonic programme 'Letters and Sounds' that we follow. 
 "I love reading so much. My favourite books are dinosaur books. There are lots of books in my classroom at school." Reception, age 4. 
"I can read books by myself now. I'm really good at sounding out and blending!" Reception, age 5. 
Year 1
In Year 1 we have enjoyed sharing books from our recommended reads and using them in our English lessons. Our new phonics reading books are helping us to practise our segmenting and blending skills outside of our phonics lessons and our reading is becoming more fluent as we become increasingly familiar with the sounds we have learned. We have been working on improving our comprehension skills in class, answering a range of questions linked to both the texts we read independently and those we read as a class. 
"I enjoy reading and I already have my 500 reads certificate." Year 1, age 5.
"I like it when we go on Oxford Reading Buddy because once we read the book we get to do a quiz. Last time I got 100%!" Year 1, age 5. 
Year 2
In Year 2 we have enjoyed reading the 50 recommended reads for Year 2. The books have been the basis for much of our English work this year and we have enjoyed retelling them, sequencing them, answering questions on them and reviewing them.
"My favourite book is 'The Owl Who is Afraid of the Dark.' Plop is funny and I like that he isn't afraid of the dark at the end." Year 2 pupil, age 6.
"I like non-fiction books as I can use the contents page to find the bits I want to read and they are full of facts." Year 2 pupil, age 7.
Year 3
Year 3 have been working hard developing their reading skills during guided reading lessons and have been focusing on retrieving evidence from a text to answer a question.  The children have also really enjoyed applying their reading skills when completing quizzes on Accelerated Reader.  We have been really lucky to receive the set of Year 3 recommended reads and have enjoyed reading and sharing these as a class. 
'The 'retrieval' Reading Viper reminds me to go back into the text and catch the evidence to answer a question.' Year 3 child, age 7.
Year 4
In Year 4, we enjoy reading across the curriculum. We were particularly excited this term when our recommended reads arrived! We have been reading James and the Giant Peach as our class novel and have enjoyed some other texts as a class such as, 'Where the Poppies Now Grow', 'The Day War Came' and 'Escape from Pompeii'. We have also enjoyed reading some of our topic books about the Romans and Celts! 
"If I was one of the characters in James and the Giant Peach, I'd definitely be the Centipede because he's so funny and mischievous!" - Year 4 child, aged 8. 
 "Listening to our class book being read is my favourite part of the day." - Year 4 child, aged 9. 
Year 5
In Year 5, we have loved receiving our class set of the 50 most recommended reads for our age group! The range is incredible: from new and classic novels, to informative non-fiction books and stunning picture books. In Guided Reading, we have also built on our knowledge of the different reading VIPERS to enhance our comprehension skills. We have also enjoyed reading a range of texts during English lessons (and not to mention how thoroughly we are enjoying our class novel).
"I love our class reading time!" Year 5 pupil, aged 10.
"I know that to infer you need to look for clues - like a detective!" Year 5 pupil, aged 9.
Year 6
Year 6 have been developing their retrieval and inference skills. They have worked hard on finding evidence in a range of texts to back their answer up and applied their skills to range of subject matter, including: the American election, In Flanders Fields poem and an information text about Mo Farah. 
'In guided reading my inference has improved through looking at the clues in the text' - Year 6 pupil. 

Useful websites for Pupils and Parents/Carers

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Document Links

Teaching and Learning Principals
Curriculum Overview
Progression Overview
This document below is an example of skills progression in Reading with a focus on utilising phonics and decoding from Year 1-6.

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