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English at Roebuck

At Roebuck Academy, English is at the heart of our teaching and learning and essential to every area of the curriculum. We aim to develop a child’s love of reading through widespread reading for enjoyment. We promote and encourage children to discover the value of strong communication and the importance of reading and writing in all aspects of their lives. A strong understanding of literacy skills gives children the building blocks for all their future learning.

Our children are driven to engage with a variety of different texts and genres from Nursery through to Year 6. They use their problem-solving skills from early on in their Literacy learning to decode and later deduce themes from the books they study. Children follow the EYFS and National Curriculum.


In the EYFS, children are exposed to Literacy right from the start through sharing books with adults, listening to, learning and performing nursery rhymes, songs and stories. We recognize that literacy skills are dependent on communication skills and there is a strong focus on the development of listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Children who have delayed language skills are identified early and additional support is put in place to help them to catch up. The EYFS environment offers a literacy rich environment promoting engagement with reading and writing across the curriculum both inside and outside. Systematic phonics teaching is introduced from Nursery through the DFE Letters and Sounds Programme and children are supported in developing their reading skills using books that are closely matched to their phonic knowledge.

Children are given opportunities to develop their gross and fine motor skills in preparation for writing from Nursery upwards. There are numerous activities and resources that promote mark making and when ready children are introduced to letter formation through direct teaching of handwriting. A love of writing is promoted through giving children opportunities to write for a variety of purposes throughout the environment. In Reception more structured activities support children’s writing development alongside these other opportunities. A Pie Corbett approach (Talk for Writing) is being used to support the teaching and learning of writing.


Throughout Year 1 to Year 6 Literacy is taught through a Whole Book Approach. This is an immersive approach to teaching English, allowing for connections to be made to all other areas of the English curriculum. Each year group is taught via class novels/books that are used by the class teacher to underpin the teaching of all aspects of English – speaking, listening, drama, reading and writing. This allows children to study a genre for deeper understanding before applying their knowledge to create their own written pieces. The book will be linked to other curriculum subjects to foster a cross-curricular approach to learning.


The teaching of a genre takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks and follows the teaching sequence below:

Immersion in the text type:

Children study an example(s) of a text type so that they can see what a good example looks like. They will pull this apart to understand the genre features and text level objectives (appropriate to their year group). This phase will involve opportunities to teach comprehension skills, vocabulary clarification and drama opportunities to explore the genre. A learning wall will be created for key learning from this stage.

Building towards a writing outcome:


Children are taught grammar and sentence level objectives in preparation for their final written outcome. Short writing opportunities (note taking, diary entries, character profiles etc.) allow children to ‘have a go’ with their’ new learning’. Activities will be closely aligned with the studied text plot or content, depending on the genre.

Shared writing:

Children write their first piece of extended writing. This is scaffolded by modelling and shared writing.

The final written outcome:

The children now plan and write their own, independent piece of extended writing. Children will have the opportunity to proof-read and edit their writing to create a final piece.


  • The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We believe that this lays the foundations to enable our pupils to become successful readers. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1, Year 2 and those who have not passed phonics screening in Year 3.
  • Teachers follow the Letters and Sound scheme – using Monster Phonics - to deliver phonics as set out by the DFE. Phonics is taught every morning in these classes. Children are regularly assessed for progress to ensure all children are continuously taught to their individual needs. A tracker is updated every half-term to ensure effective assessment. Identified gaps are then addressed. Children in lower KS2 who did not pass their phonics screening at the end of KS1 are given additional phonics support.
  • Monster Phonics is used as the spine for delivery of the phonics sessions. Monster phonics is a multi sensory approach to the teaching of systematic phonics which is increasing the likelihood of rapid progress.
  • All children from Nursery to Year 3 take home a reading levelled book appropriate to their needs to practice their reading at home with parents and family. This also applies to children in Years 4 – 6 who need additional reading support. All books are leveled (Accelerated reader and KS1 reading scheme).
  • Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
  • Intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
  • Pupils will be given reading books which closely match the phase of phonics that they are currently working within.
  • Phase 1 is taught in Nursery.
  • By the end of Autumn 1 Reception should be secure in Phase 2.
  • By the end of Autumn 2 Rec should be beginning Phase 3.
  • By the end of Spring children should be completing Phase 3 which then leaves Summer completing Phase 4.
  • By the end of Autumn Year 1 will be beginning Phase 5 and then by the end of Spring be secure within Phase 5. By the end of summer, they will be completing Phase five.
  • Year 2 will be working securely at Phase 6. By the end of the Autumn term some children will be reading and spelling some of the requirements for Phase 6. By the end of the Spring term many children will be reading and spelling some of the requirements for Phase  


  • Accelerated Reader puts students in the driver’s seat. Pupils are guided, while being engaged with quizzes and activities which help hone students’ reading skills with authentic practice—encouraging growth. Each half term, pupils completes their STAR test which will derive a ZPD range. All books in KS2 are labelled and for their first book- pupils should choose a book from their bottom ZPD. Afterwards, children can choose ANY book within this range. They can move up and down within it. There are a range of Hi-Lo books in Yr4-6 pitched at the appropriate interest level but suitable for children reading significantly below age related expectations. A conversion chart from Accelerated reader to the KS1 book banded books has also been provided for staff. 


In Year 1, Year 2 and reception class (summer term) we use the Daily Supported Reading Programme alongside phonics to teach reading. The Daily Supported Reading methodology has a proven track record of raising reading attainment. Children read in ability groups daily with an adult following a set script. This instils good reading routines and practice from a young age and helps all children increase their enjoyment and maximize their progress in reading.


All children from Years 3-6 have a time-tabled half hour Guided Reading lesson four times a week. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher and their peers through Guided Reading using a rich range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts.  Children are exposed to texts with challenging or new vocabulary and words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.


Project focus: To improve the trajectory of Year 6 pupils (summer term Year 5) towards the expected standard in reading at the end of KS2.

The Herts for Learning KS2 Reading Fluency Project incorporates the strategies of:

  • modelled expressive reading,
  • echo reading,
  • repeated re-reading,
  • skilled questioning,
  • challenging text selection
  • modelling comprehension skills

Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.

Project structure:

  1. Identify children who are at risk of not meeting EXS at end of KS2
  2. Work with this group of pupils for 20 minutes, twice a week over an 8-week period
  3. Asses pupils at the beginning and end of the 8-week project using YARC reading assessment

Although this is a targeted intervention being run with 2 groups in Year 6, all other year groups have had training in fluency and are using the strategies within their own guided reading sessions. Where possible, children at risk of not meeting age related expectations are being targeted group in the same way as in Year 6.


All Roebuck Academy all children are encouraged to develop their love, enjoyment and enthusiasm of reading. This is achieved through the positive promotion of reading both at school and home. All children are read to at least once daily by their class teacher. Every class has access to a high quality, well- resourced book corner. Children have opportunities to visit the school library. Parents and children are encouraged to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge at their local library. This term we have launched The Roebuck Reading Road Map and encouraging children to read a core set of books in each year group. Children are encouraged to read books both at school and home and are incentivised by certificates and badges celebrating reading milestones.

Reading is high profile in the school and events such as World Book Day celebrate this positive reading culture. Community Partners provide additional funding that enables the school to gift books to children. Example: Partnership between Roebuck and Stevenage Family Centre.

Parent workshops are held annually to engage families with the school’s approach to reading. Engagement has increased. Workshops included focused work on phonics, spelling and reading.


  • Ensure that every child becomes a reader, a writer and confident speaker by the time they leave Roebuck Academy.
  • To promote and instill a love for reading, writing and high-quality literature into pupils at all ages.
  • To derive an English curriculum which is sequenced to develop the acquisition of knowledge and skills. 


  • Reading forms the core of our curriculum. All children read and are read to so that they develop a love of Reading. Books are selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other areas of the curriculum. Examples of this are located in book corners as well as the school library selection. The school also has a bespoke Reading curriculum which has been designed in consultation with pupils to engage and motivate learners.
  • Reading Scheme – the school uses a variety of different reading schemes to provide a wide variety of appropriate quality texts for children to read covering all genres. The schemes incorporated into our reading provision include: Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat, Star Reading, Pearson Bug Club, Rigby Rocket and Lighthouse. Book corners contain a range of text types including poetry, non-fiction, graphic novels and newspapers.  All home school books are Book Banded in order to ensure progression and challenge for all.
  • Books are carefully selected by adults from a range of high-quality recommended text lists. For example: Herts for Learning, CLPE (Centre of literacy in primary education) and Pie Corbett reading spine.
  • Classic Texts – all children will have classic texts read to them in all year groups. This may include traditional fairy tales / rhymes in FS and KS1 to established classic novels in KS2.
  • Individual Reading – all children in Foundation Stage read individually to a trained adult each week. Throughout school a minority of children will read 1 to 1 with an adult as a form of intervention.
  • Home Reading – all children are expected to read at home and take home ‘home’ reading books. Expectation is five times minimum per week. This is tracked in school and forms part of a reward during celebration assembly.
  • Reading Areas All classrooms have class reading areas with subject specific books and other age-appropriate reading for pleasure books. All classrooms have access to themed mental well-being books outside the classroom.
  • Library - All children visit the school library each week and choose a book to read at home for pleasure.
  • Reading Buddies - All children from Y1 are listened to or read to their reading buddy once a week.
  • Teacher reading every day
  • Weekly poetry focus
  • Reading in additional subjects
  • Reading forms part of the implementation of additional subjects across the curriculum. It underpins learning and enquiry focus in these areas.
  • Reading themes days.
  • The Write Stuff approach to the teaching and learning of writing: brings clarity to the mechanics of the teaching and learning of writing and ensures children never have that ‘I don’t know what to write’ moment. The approach focusses on 3 elements from the Writing Rainbow: The FANTASTICS, which help children to have an idea for every sentence that they write; The BOOMTASTICS, which helps children’s writing to explode off the page; and The GRAMMARISTICS, which provide children with the tools for writing.




There is a continued improvement of high-quality writing throughout the school with children using more adventurous vocabulary accurately to add interest to their writing. Staff training has shown a clear impact on teacher’s level of confidence in the teaching of reading and writing including high-quality shared and modelled writing, effective marking and feedback as well as accurate teacher assessment. The writing theme days have produced high-quality writing from children, including speeches about racism in football linked to whole school Martin Luther King Day. Pupil voice shows that children are being exposed to a range of ‘exciting and gripping’ texts; teachers are reading often to their class and that children value this time and have the opinion that teacher’s value this time too; children know where to access books and make use of both the class book corners and school library; and children say they enjoy reading in one form or another (reading to themselves, listening to stories, reading for information). Staff voice taken about DSR shows that children in KS1 are reading a greater quantity of books; there is an improved staff knowledge and understanding of early reading; it ensures that every child reads every single day (a particular benefit for children with SEND); and helps children recognise high frequency words building confidence through consistency.