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At London Colney, we provide an appropriate, inclusive, engaging English curriculum. The development of children’s language is crucial to their success across the curriculum. We want all children to be excellent communicators, to listen actively and to speak with confidence. At London Colney, children are helped to develop a love of reading and to become skilful and imaginative writers. During all lessons across the school, children have the opportunity to develop their spoken language capabilities and improve their listening skills through a wide range of activities


“The way reading is prioritised and organised in this school is highly inspirational and will lead to high quality outcomes across the school, which will further enhance achievement across the curriculum. Senior leaders are excellent role models in the teaching of reading and are well placed to coach others.” – Hertfordshire Improvement Partner

Reading is placed at the heart of all we do here at London Colney. We know the importance of not only getting children reading fluently as early as possible but also to enjoy what they are reading. We know that the ability to read unpins the rest of our taught curriculum and that enjoying stories and texts allows our pupils to journey within and beyond what they know.

Reading is taught both discretely and as a component of the Teaching Sequence for Writing. Children are given the opportunity during some English lessons to read texts for meaning, infer perspectives and authorial intent, use what they have read as a model for writing and build vocabulary. As well as this, strategies recommended by the CLPE are also used in teaching, linked to our core texts. To enhance this, reading is also taught during daily, 30 minute Book Look sessions or Daily Supported Reading (DSR) sessions. and within our daily phonics lessons. In these sessions, children are taught to develop their higher order reading skills.

Other opportunities for reading include:

  • Dictionary skills – in all subjects
  • Library skills; Children are taught to use the library system and to care for the books and make sure they are always returned to the appropriate place.
  • Research skills including use of contents, index, etc. They are taught to use a wide range of sources so that they become competent and confident users of a variety of resources. We also ensure that the resources we provide contain the information they are searching for and are updated regularly and include the use of ICT for research.
  • All children are read aloud to regularly from a selection of contemporary and classic texts.
  • Each week, children have timetabled slots to read texts from the book corners. Book corners contain a wide variety of texts and the school subscribes to several magazines and newspapers which are used in book corners. Children are regularly consulted about texts they would like in their class.
  • Each child has a reading record book, which is signed weekly by the class teacher and parent. It is expected that the children will read at home with their parents for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. As a school, we use home reading texts linked to our Daily Supported Reading sessions and Ruth Miskin RWI texts that link directly to our teaching of phonics.
  • In order to enhance the reading culture in school, the London Colney has forged several effective partnerships. Book fairs are regularly held in school and several classes visit the local library. International and national book days are celebrated in school and authors and poets visit school.

You may find the following documents useful with helping your child with learning to read, reading to learn and developing a love of reading:

Core Texts

As a school, we work hard to carefully select, plan for and use quality and enriching core books across our curriculum. These books are at the centre of our units of work and topics within each year group and we aim to ensure that our pupils know these books well before they transition to the next academic year. Following a review of our English curriculum, we have worked to ensure that the books we use are rich, inclusive and diverse, allowing our pupils to see themselves in the books we use and stories we read. Here are our core texts for each year group …

Our Reading Skills

Within our English lessons, Book Look sessions and Daily Supported Reading (DSR) sessions, we teach, develop and refer to the key skills necessary to make children confident and successful readers. These skills are linked to reading characters who the children know well by the time they leave London Colney. We are pleased to introduce you to …

Years 1 and 2 Years 3 and 4 Years 5 and 6
Rex Retriver
  • I can explain the title
  • I can find important information
  • I can talk about what characters have said and done
  • I can spot time openers
  • I return back to the text to find evidence
  • I can scan for key words
  • I can find information in tables and charts
  • I can use my knowledge of when something happened to find facts
  • I can say why I think the author has used particular words
  • I can explain how a character has been built-up
  • I can spot how an author shows changes in time, place, viewpoint
  • I can track words and phrases linked to a theme within a story
Doug Detective
  •  I can say why a character does something or says something
  • I can spot how a character has changed because of something that has happened
  • I know that different characters have different thoughts and feelings
  • I can suggest reasons why characters say and do certain things
  • I can say how different settings create different moods
  • I can think of a time in my life when I was in the same position as a character or felt the say way
  • I can tell the difference between fact and opinion
  •  I can explain how and why characters change through a story
  • I can explain why different characters have different opinions and viewpoints
  •  I can explain the meaning of figurative language
  • I can spot changes in a characters’ behaviour and suggest reasons for these
Victor Vocab
  • I can say what a word means, using clues in the text to help me
  • I can spot story language such as Once upon a time or happily ever after
  • I can spot good words and say why I liked them
  • I can work out what new words mean
  • I can suggest why an author chose a particular word
  • I can identify the words used to link events and ideas together
  • I can spot words which create a certain mood
  • I can work out what new words mean
  • I can suggest why an author chose a particular word
  • I can identify the words used to link events and ideas together
  • I can spot words which create a certain mood
Pippa Predictor
  • I can say what I think will happen at the end of the story
  • I can use clues from the opening and the setting to work out what is going to happen
  • I can say what might happen next, using clues in the text
  • I can explain the reasons for my prediction
  • I can suggest what a character might do next, based on their feelings
  • I can say whether events in the story matched or exceeded my expectations
  • I can return to my predictions and say whether characters behaved in the way I expected
Anna Analyser
  • I can explain the structure of a non-fiction text and say why it is organised in that way
  • I can compare the plot of different stories
  • I can spot when an author is giving more detail
  • I can spot changes in time and genre
  • I can identify similarities and differences in texts with a common theme
  • I can give my opinions about the way stories are resolved
Sam Summariser
  • I can say what happens at the beginning, middle and end of a story
  • I can give the order of events
  • I can say how a non-fiction text is ordered
  • I can spot the main ideas in a text
  • I can retell a story, including all the main events
  • I can identify themes in a text (like friendship, good and evil and romance)
  • I can discuss the main ideas from more than one text
  • I can explain both sides of an argument
  • I can identify the purpose of dialogue

Reading Challenges

As well as teaching children how to read, we also want them to be inspired to read and develop a love of stories and books. To support with this, we have devised our own Reading Challenges for each year group. We have worked to carefully select quality, inclusive and diverse texts for each year that will promote a love of reading. Children in each year group are set the challenge of reading all of the reading challenge texts for their class by the end of the year. Want to help your child further? Why not purchase or borrow some of the texts from your child’s reading challenge to have at home?


Planning writing is organised around the Teaching Sequence for Writing. This provides a clear learning sequence using a model text as the starting point to engage, exemplify and practice skills before progressing into extended writing episodes; this includes opportunities for drafting, editing and publishing writing.

Writing has a high profile in the curriculum and opportunities for writing are frequent and varied. Writing forms a key part of all subjects across the curriculum. All children get the opportunity to write for an extended period of time each week. As well as this, the writing curriculum is such that at times, writing is taught directly to pupils. This includes the teaching of writing and language skills for example technical vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation. As with the reading, writing instruction is differentiated according to the needs of the children.

The teaching sequence includes opportunities for several different styles of teaching.
These include: modelled writing, shared writing, guided writing, paired writing and individual writing.