The Spinney Primary School

Teaching and Learning Together

The Spinney Primary School

Teaching and Learning Together




Our Curriculum


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 The Spinney Primary School we are passionate about English as we believe that it lies at the heart of the curriculum. Being able to read, write and communicate, opens doors and lifts barriers to learning for children and will enable them to flourish and grow as they progress through primary school and into their future education and adult lives.


Our children are empowered by a high-quality English curriculum that encourages them to develop a love of reading and writing as well as learning the skills they need to communicate effectively. Our curriculum teaches the children the skills and knowledge that will enable them to speak and write fluently and to communicate and express their ideas, views and emotions to others effectively and creatively and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

How do we teach Reading?


At The Spinney Primary School, we aim to inspire and motivate our pupils to become enthusiastic readers; pupils who read for pleasure and enjoyment and who also have the necessary skills to acquire knowledge and conduct research. We use Pie Corbett's Talk for Reading approach for teaching reading at The Spinney Primary School.


The English curriculum at The Spinney Primary School is delivered using the National Curriculum English Document. The Early Learning Goals are followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Early Years Foundation stage through to the National Curriculum.


Through our curriculum and reading provision, the pupils have the opportunity to experience a wide range of high quality and carefully chosen texts. This selection includes a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books which are often linked to our class topic areas or our Spinney Golden Threads.


Having engaging and challenging core texts is one of the ways we encourage our pupils to develop a love of literature and to read for enjoyment. Evidence from research shows that ensuring our children develop all the skills of language is essential to unlocking access to the rest of the curriculum. Therefore, opportunities to read and write are embedded across the curriculum. This approach also expands our children’s knowledge of the world in which we live. When children encounter words in their reading that they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech, we can systematically teach our children new vocabulary. Therefore, rich and lively vocabulary instruction is an essential component of all our reading lessons. We know that by explicitly teaching vocabulary, we will encourage students to become interested and enthusiastic about words, curious and keen to explore relationships among words and use them in a way that they come to ‘own’ the words.


Children explore texts as part of a daily reading session. These are generally taught in whole class reading sessions or in guided groups, depending on the age/experience of the children and the texts themselves. These daily reading sessions provide opportunities for the pupils to explore texts in depth and further develop their word reading and comprehension skills. Building on their early reading learning, we continue to teach our children to decode unfamiliar words and increase the number of words they can read on sight. We focus on comprehension and teach our children skills such as summarising, posing questions about what they have read and making predictions and inferences. Children are also given time for independent reading and shared reading of class texts as well as regular book talk with adults.


We encourage the children to also read at home regularly whether that is to an adult (for developing readers) or independently (for fluent readers). We provide a reading record book for this reading to be logged and we encourage children to discuss and talk about their reading at home.


At The Spinney Primary School, we promote a love for books and for reading. All classes have a designated reading area that is full of age-appropriate books to engage the interests of the children and that also reflects the reading interests and preferences of the children in the class. All classrooms have access to subject specific books that further develop their curriculum knowledge. We encourage children to choose books from the school library to read and a celebratory ‘Book Week’, to coincide with ‘World Book Day’, is organised each year. During this week, a range of Reading for Pleasure activities are planned to promote enjoyment of reading.


The Spinney 'Reading Spine'


We want our school to be a place where children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with high quality books. These ‘essential reads’ would be a store of classics, creating a living library inside a child’s mind. This is the ‘Reading Spine’. We have provided the Pie Corbett reading spine in our classrooms so that children have access to these high quality texts.


Pie Corbett says…

Great books build the imagination. The more we read aloud expressively, and the more children are able to savour, discuss and reinterpret literature through the arts, the more memorable the characters, places and events become, building an inner world. A child who is read to will have an inner kingdom of unicorns, talking spiders and a knife that cuts into other worlds. The mind is like a ‘tardis’; it may seem small but inside there are many mansions. Each great book develops the imagination and equips the reader with language.

Great stories speak to us as individuals and some children will return to certain books again and again. Great stories also build our language because around 75 per cent of our vocabulary comes from our reading. Reading develops the ability to think in the abstract; to follow lines of thought. Schools that have a reading spine, build a common bank of stories that bind the community together. These are shared and deeply imagined common experiences.


EYFS Reading Spine

Year 1 Reading Spine

Year 2 Reading Spine

Year 3 Reading Spine

Year 4 Reading Spine

Year 5 Reading Spine

Year 6 Reading Spine

    Accelerated Reader


Our aim at The Spinney is to ensure that all children value reading for pleasure and get the time and opportunity to read a wide range of texts that support them in acquiring the reading skills they need in order to "read to learn".  At the Spinney we are beginning to use Accelerated Reader to assess and track independent reading practice.  Year Four is leading the way and will be sharing this journey soon in our school newsletters.


What is Accelerated Reader?

AR is a programme used to motivate children to increase their reading & vocabulary comprehension and guide them to independent reading. AR is a popular reading programme used in thousands of schools. There is a proven link between strong reading skills and academic success – great readers make great learners! This compliments our goal of having each child reading independently for at least 20 minutes per day at school and at home.


Online Programme

With the AR Online programme, children will not only be able to quiz on the books available through our school library and in our classrooms, but also books at home, in any library and in any book store. You can check whether a book is on the AR programme by visiting   ( link below) or by downloading the AR Bookfinder app.  



How does AR work?

  1. Each child is tested  using the Star Reading test which gives a reading age and a ZPD  (zone of proximal development) range.  The books in our library have been labelled with the ZPD to support children’s choices.
  2. Children then choose an AR book based on their interest and reading level.
  3. When they have finished reading the book, they take the AR test on the AR website to assess comprehension. This will be done at school.
  4. The child earns points (based on how many words they have read) for showing an understanding of what they have read. They earn full points by answering all test questions correctly. (Children who average at least an 80% on tests taken are considered to understand what they read at an average level.) In the next few weeks the children will be set point goals so that they can challenge themselves.



How can I help my child?

  1. Promote reading at home: encourage them to read; read to them, let them see you reading & encourage them to carry their book wherever they go – so they are always ready to read!
  2. Ask about the current book they are reading and their point goals. Congratulate them when they reach their goal.


Can my child read books outside of their ZPD?

Yes, your child can choose to read anything they like and we encourage a wide and varied reading diet.  The most important element of AR is practising reading skills so only quizzes linked to books within your child's ZPD will be added to their ongoing points scores and word reading levels however.  Your child should be able to quiz successfully and consistently above 90% in order to show their comprehension skills are at a secure level.  They will complete the Star Test every half term and following all their targeted reading practice, their ZPD will be adjusted accordingly.  


How do I find out if a book is in my child's ZPD?

If you wish to check if a book is within your child's ZPD and therefore will update their word total/ quiz score you can find out by going to AR Bookfinder  ( link below)






What is Accelerated Reader and how is it used?




Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.


At The Spinney Primary School, we seek to provide a range of exciting and engaging opportunities for children to develop their writing skills. Carefully planned, regular writing opportunities are planned for using class texts or cross-curricular learning as an engaging stimulus. Each week our children write at length for a range of real purposes and audiences and are given many opportunities to write about the things that interest them. The pupils are taught how to plan their writing by exploring and collecting ideas, drafting and re-reading their writing as it flows. Each class has an interactive writing working wall where ideas for writing are gathered and displayed to support children with their own writing.


Talk for Writing


We use Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approaches to teach writing. It is a creative, yet rigorous approach developed by the author Pie Corbett.





Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language patterns they need for a particular text type orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them to rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.

We begin the teaching and learning process with a ‘cold’ writing task. This means the children ‘have a go’ at writing in the text type they will learn about. Teachers use this piece of writing to identify strengths and set individual or class targets and it informs planning.


A text is introduced and read to the children. This is the model text. Together the class learn to tell the story or learn the non-fiction text.


To help the children remember a multi-sensory approach may be used particularly with KS1 children:

-A visual story map/ text map


-Using an animated, lively expression


The children learn the stories word for word, they develop the use of specific sentence structures and language patterns that suit the text type.


The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story. During this first stage we also use a range of drama games to develop an understanding of the story and begin to build up a working wall and or a washing line in our classroom with posters reminding children of the learning journey so far.



The children explore different ways they could change aspects of the original text, for example changing characters, setting or writing from a different point of view. They then make changes to their story map and orally tell this new story.

Through shared and guided writing, the children write this new version in manageable sections. During this week, we teach spelling and grammar in the context of the story.

This stage is very supportive so children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.



In this final stage, the children use all the skills they have learnt so far to write an independent ‘hot’ piece. We call this the ‘Show what you know’ task.

There is a freedom to draw upon their own ideas, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the original shared text should they need to. Teachers use this task to assess how much progress the children have made.


The children present their work by either publishing, presenting or reading out loud to peers to celebrate their successes.


Punctuation, Grammar and Spelling


The teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar is embedded within reading and writing lessons so that children learn these skills and use them in context, however where necessary, discrete sessions are taught. Explicit knowledge of grammar and punctuation is important to enable the pupils to have a more conscious control and choice of their language. Once the pupils are familiar with a grammatical concept or punctuation markings, our teachers encourage them to apply and explore this concept in their own speech and writing.


In Key Stage 1, spelling is a focus of phonics, which is taught using the Story Time Phonics programme. In Key Stage 2, children follow the No Nonsense Spelling programme.


Each week the pupils have a set of spellings to revise and practice at home. These spellings are linked to the spelling focus taught that week.




As a school, we know that writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription so handwriting is taught frequently in short handwriting lessons. We use a fully cursive style of handwriting from EYFS upwards, based on the ‘Letterjoin’ programme. This enables the children to communicate clearly and effectively. 


Our teachers spend time explicitly teaching and modelling handwriting across the school and children are given regular opportunities to revise and practise correct letter formation. In the Early Years, our children begin this journey by mark making and drawing patterns, which develops their fine motor skills. This develops through our EYFS with ensuring correct pencil grip by the children when they begin to make letters and string letters together to make words. As soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation, we begin teaching continuous cursive script using the ‘Letterjoin’ programme. We continue to teach handwriting as the children progress from Key Stage 1 to 2 with the aim of increasing the fluency with which children are able to write down what they want to say.


Talk for Writing Whole School Plan