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Our Curriculum for English


Reading is at the heart of everything we do and we want children to develop a life-long love of books. Moreover, we want children to experience a range of genres, authors and build on their personal development. Reading is essential to this aim as it builds empathy, improves imagination and improves children’s vocabulary.


At Chatsworth we want all of our children to develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and through Talk for Writing we believe we can achieve this. In addition, we think it is vital that we equip the children with the necessary skills to communicate confidently and eloquently.  Our aim is to ensure that children develop a love of both reading and writing and develop a strong command of both the written and spoken word.


    We follow Talk for Writing which is an innovative approach developed by Pie Corbett. It uses high quality, short model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types, which they then learn off by heart and scrutinize with a writer’s critical eye. They learn the underlying structures, sentence types and the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings. A broad range of genres are covered so that the children experience writing in a variety of styles that cover both fiction and non-fiction pieces.

    Talk for writing is fully embedded at Chatsworth and starts in Nursery all the way up to year 6. The children are familiar with the structure and process which accompanies every unit. There are three key phases which develop knowledge, confidence and independence:

    Cold task: Each unit starts with a cold task where children are given a small prompt and asked to write about whichever genre is being covered. This is to assess their gaps in knowledge of features, vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation. It is also useful because it is used to show how much children progress when they complete their hot task at the end of a unit.


    Imitate: This is the first stage where students develop their vocabulary and internalise the text through the rehearsal of actions to go with images which are drawn by the teacher. Time is also dedicated to creating a toolkit with the emphasis on how it affects the reader. With each unit, teachers try to focus on a different aspect of the toolkits such as the development of characters, settings or dialogue.


    Innovation: During this stage, the children will change one or two things from the original text. Through lots of discussion and input from the children, the teacher’s model shared writing on the board and the children write their own piece using word banks and the working wall to help them.


    Invent: This is the most exciting stage where children get to show off the progress they have made from their cold task!  Independently, they write their own version using their own ideas. At this stage they plan first and then write making sure they hit their intended target audience.


    To support Reading across the school, we use ‘Bug Club’ which is a structured reading scheme. Bug Club is a finely levelled, phonically based reading scheme, which ensures that each child can find a book at exactly the right level for them. Each child has a personalised homepage where they'll find the eBooks they've been allocated by the teacher and motivating rewards. The online reading world ensures children can access independent reading resources anywhere at any time. Bug Club books are graded into colour-coded Book Band levels, and within each level there is a carefully planned progression of books. This fine progression gives children plenty of opportunity to develop their reading skills and master each fine step while moving through the reading programme. Guided reading, in KS1, follows a ‘five different group’ model and takes place daily. Children are expected to complete a comprehension every week and are also given time to read books for pleasure which is included in sessions.  All pupils are exposed to a wide variety of literature and genres which deepen their understanding of the written and spoken word. Every child is heard reading by the class teacher once per week. This allows the teacher to track the progress and developmental needs of each child in the class.


    Key Stage 1

    As mentioned, children are put into 5 groups and follow a rota of 5 activities including: reading comprehension, phonics, reading for pleasure, grammar/ writing activity linked to their book and reading on a kindle. During this stage, teachers will conduct small group reading in which they;

    Introduce the LS

    Show or discuss the outcome for the session and give an example of how to achieve the LS e.g. refer to strategies or skills.

    Discuss the book

    Front cover, genre, clue to what the book is about.

    Sound and new words

    Open the front cover and go through the sounds and new vocabulary as shown on the page. Discuss and explain any new words for meaning and examples of use.

    Book walk through

    Flick through the book page by page. Highlight any new words that can be spotted and point out the general themes from the book from the pictures etc.

    Test new words

    Show the children little cards of the new words from the book and test them again before they start reading.


    Show the Chatsworth reading poster and go through each strategy. Focus on any strategies that will be most suitable for the group being read with. By the end of year 2, the aim is for the children to be able to confidently relay the strategies they use and should be automatic.

    Children read

    Children should start reading their own book independently. They should read aloud but quietly. The teacher will then go around the group and focus on listening to each child briefly. Posters should be in front of the children for them to refer to.

    Follow up questions

    Ask either the questions from the Bug Club cards or ask your own which may come up as you read.


    Key stage 2

    Whole class comprehension 

    By the time children reach KS2 they should be confident and competent readers. In both year groups, children are taught as a whole class and focus on solving a variety of questions involving the main reading domains such as inference, summarising and finding the meaning of words in context. Pupils use the Chatsworth Skills posters to help them. In years 3,4 and 5 children read and answer questions based on the different objectives. In Year 5 they cover texts such as The Ironman, Krindlekrax and many more. In year 6 children are taught using SATs style shorter texts and to begin with focus on one skill at a time. Once the children have mastered the skills they then conquer comprehensions by looking at a variety of genres.



    At Chatsworth Primary we follow the Lesley Clarke Phonics

    Sessions are lively, fast-paced and fun. In a session, children are taught either phonemes/ digraphs/ trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. There are lots of opportunities to speak and listen, as well as to read and write the sounds.

    At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Test which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and nonsense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus more on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.