At Freemantle, we recognise the enduring power of reading to shape and develop minds, in the classroom, and beyond it, for life, which is why we have placed reading at the core of our curriculum, our day and the very building we learn in. All subjects depend upon rigorous reading ability and excellence across the curriculum depends upon it; we therefore prioritise the teaching, learning and development of a genuine love of reading in every Freemantle pupil.
We are united in our belief that the key to a pupil’s holistic academic and personal success, in school and beyond, is tightly bound to their reading attitude and ability.
Our reading curriculum, based on many of the principles outlined in Reading Reconsidered (Doug Lemov), was designed with the intent that every Freemantle child develop the skills and knowledge required to be confident, fluent and insightful readers with the background knowledge, vocabulary and understanding to tackle the increasingly challenging texts both at Freemantle and beyond.
Our core goals for developing readers at Freemantle are:
Developing confidence in phonics skills to allow pupils to make excellent progress
By prioritising the teaching of phonics every day from the start of Reception, matching books precisely to the sounds pupils know to give them daily opportunities to practise their reading, placing reading at the heart of our day and our timetable and through our determination that every child will be a successful reader.
Developing a deep working vocabulary - closing the vocabulary gap and developing our pupils' communication skills,
By teaching thematically linked vocabulary through precise and explicit sessions in every reading lesson and across the curriculum from R-6.
Developing a deep knowledge of literature - genre, conventions, themes, our literary heritage,
By reading complete books at every opportunity and embedding more non-fiction into our reading teaching to help develop Freemantle pupils’ understanding of their world, local and beyond, and to build a stronger foundation of knowledge to support their understanding of the texts they read.
Developing a genuine love and respect for reading that stays with our pupils for life and supports them to be successful in preparing for the next stage of their learning and ultimately achieving their aspirations,
By sharing with all pupils our own passion and love for reading, prioritising reading in the timetable and exposing pupils to the wonders of the best books possible through our reading spine
We deliver a reading curriculum which:
Our reading is sequenced carefully from Nursery through to Year 6 in terms of both what children read and what skills they develop at which points. We sequence texts purposefully to develop our pupils' deep knowledge and understanding of the themes and conventions of a wide range of genres that they may not choose to read themselves. Take a look at our reading spine to see what this looks like.
Take Year 3 as an example and you will see pupils read Cakes in Space and The Iron Man during the Autumn term. This extended introduction to the world of science-fiction and fantasy allows them to develop deep knowledge of the genre over the course of a full term. That knowledge is then built on in Year 4 when they read The Way Past Winter and The House With Chicken Legs. This is then developed further in Year 5 with Skellig and Brightstorm, and then again in Year 6 with The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Equally, in EYFS, pupils are introduced to familiar tales and fairy stories, such as Rapunzel (Nursery) and Little Red Riding Hood (Year R). This knowledge is then built upon in Key Stage 1, where pupils explore modern, subverted versions of these classic stories such as Little Red and Rapunzel (Beth Woollen). At this point, they're able to draw on the characters and plots of the originals to compare with the new, modern versions.
This constant building upon prior knowledge allows our pupils to develop a deep and broad understanding of quality fiction and enables them to analyse, explore and extract deeper meaning owing to their understanding. Look further down the page for evidence of some of this in our reading journals.
You will also see in our spine our skills coverage and sequencing; pupils do not simply acquire 'inference skills' for example. A pupil may be able to infer in their favourite book series because they have the knowledge to do so, but may yet struggle to do so in an unfamiliar text. We revisit skills regularly throughout every year group and build on them over time.