‘Reading is such a powerful force for good that it can change people’s lives.’

                                                                                                                                      The Reading Agency

At Highcliffe Primary School, we use reading to expand our children’s horizons, build their creativity and imagination as well as teach them new knowledge and skills. Our passion is to find a book, author or text type for every child and for every child to see themselves as ‘a reader’. We strive to ensure every child can read fluently and with confidence by the time they leave primary education. We recognise that reading improves children’s empathy and understanding of the world they live in. It connects them to new cultures and communities. It improves their future prospects and contributes to positive mental health and wellbeing.  

Our reading curriculum focusses on two dimensions;

  • Word reading
  • Comprehension (both when listening and when reading).

We achieve this through our delivery of Book Talk by Jane Considine. Book Talk is delivered from Years 1 – 6 and it’s a whole class approach to teaching reading, thus ensuring every child is engaged in meaningful learning. At its core, Book Talk focusses on improving the skills of reading such as comprehension, retrieval and evidencing using the text. The children communicate in pairs or groups to discuss their texts, and the use of stem sentences and high utility words adds depth and clarity to their answers. Whole texts or extracts (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) can be explored through Book Talk, allowing us to introduce the children to a feast of literature!

We use Book Talk to develop the children’s social and literacy skills. Book Talk develops this through children reading aloud together and engaging in two-way communication.  The children have the opportunity to improve and apply their speaking and listening skills. 

The children’s reading journey begins in the early years through the explicit teaching of phonics (using Letters and Sounds). This supports the children in sounding out unfamiliar words and pronouncing unfamiliar words with confidence. The books they take home are closely matched to their phonics ability but whilst they learn to word-read they will also continue to listen to and enjoy a wide range of stories that are read to them.

‘There is no set of reading skills that grow steadily more challenging. Instead, the same broad skills and competencies are applied to texts that gradually increase in challenge.’ (James Clements) Each year group develops the children’s skills through the careful selection of more challenging texts to improve the children’s comprehension, speedy decoding and word recognition. The children’s comprehension skills draw on linguistic knowledge, particularly vocabulary and grammar. This is explored in Book Talk through the ‘lenses’ and the depth in which a text is explored. Book Talk enables our teachers and pupils to have high quality discussions which link to other areas of learning such as grammar. Through reading widely the children’s vocabulary is developed because they encounter words they would rarely use in everyday speech. Book Talk introduces children to high utility words which can be applied across the curriculum in other subject areas. 


Useful Information
Word Reading Objectives