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Norbury School

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English - Reading

"Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes and fill up my heart." - Oprah Winfrey

An introduction to Reading at Norbury

At Norbury, we are proud that our community is multi-lingual, however this means that many of our pupils need support in learning to read English. We ensure we do this is many ways-including a programme of assessment and support from day one- so that children are able to read English fluently, at age related expectations, in order to access the full curriculum offer.

As a school, we take every opportunity possible to enhance the cultural capital of our learners and equip them with the knowledge and experiences needed for society. One way in which we promote cultural capital via reading is by providing and exposing our children to a range of texts, from different genres, that have been written by authors from a wide range of backgrounds. We spend time looking and learning about authors of the books we read in English and reading lessons.

All year groups, from Nursery to Year 6, have a text library in their class. It is a selection of books that have been hand-picked to ensure a coverage of a variety of genres including non-fiction and poetry. The other texts have been specifically chosen because they have rich vocabulary, are written by famous authors, teach diversity or are recommended. All teachers read and re-read these texts to children throughout the year so that at the end of the school year, pupils have a breadth of knowledge and understanding about famous authors and literature. In the future, they can then build on this and eventually have the ability to engage with high culture literature.

Reading is valued as a core subject; it is taught each day and teaching and learning begins in the Nursery. All pupils, regardless of background and prior knowledge, develop their word reading and comprehension knowledge and become skilled and confident readers for both pleasure and purpose. We assess reading regularly to ensure a good pace of progress for all pupils as they move through the curriculum. Interventions are in place for pupils not working at age related expectations.

Our curriculum has been designed to take account of the expectations of the Early Years’ Framework, National Curriculum, up to date research, our high aspirations and professional expertise, particularly our understanding of the local context and how our pupils learn best and achieve well. Pupils are taught through explicit instruction, using evidence-based strategies consistently across the different key stages.

We teach pupils to become skilled readers so they can read words aloud, understand the written word and communicate their learning confidently to a variety of audiences. We provide pupils with opportunities to discuss, debate and form opinions about their reading. Pupils are taught to develop positive attitudes to literature and this is modelled by their teachers and learning support assistants. Our curriculum introduces pupils to a range of fiction including poetry and non-fiction including reference books, different genres such as fairy stories, myths and legends. We explore both contemporary and classic prose and poetry and appreciate our rich and varied literacy heritage. When selecting literature, we consider the importance of literature that promotes inclusion, equality and diversity. We are keen that our pupils are able to identify with the literature selected and be provided with an introduction to other cultures, views and beliefs. We recognise reading as important in the teaching of all subject areas. We teach pupils to become increasingly independent in their learning through the development of study skills including the selection of reading materials to extend their subject knowledge at school and at home. In other subjects, pupils have access to a variety of texts; different non-fiction books and textbooks to widen their scope of different genres and widen their knowledge. This increases their ability to read and understand complex academic texts throughout the school curriculum. We value our partnership with parents/carers in encouraging their child’s enjoyment of reading, sharing books at home, developing a reading habit and supporting home learning.

We work with parents/carers to share information about our reading curriculum and how they can support reading at home.


Photos of Reading at Norbury


Promoting reading

At Norbury we work hard to promote reading in school in a range of different ways.  These include:

  • weekly reading assemblies to promote a range of genres, authors and reading activities
  • displaying books around the school encouraging the children to read theses
  • posters of books recommendations are displayed all around the school so children can be encouraged to see a book and then read it
  • mobile libraries are taken out to the playground at lunchtime
  • children are read to every day by their teacher;
  • inviting book corner in each classroom
  • time in class to talk about books they have read and recommending books to each other
  • weekly library trips to ensure all children sign up and know how to use their local library
  • links with local bookshop (Waterstones in Harrow)
  • reading champions- a group of children across KS2 who meet regularly to discuss reading developments and how to promote reading across the school
  • reading scrapbooks allow the children to chart the texts read to them throughout the year
  • book fair visit to school
  • promotion of national events such as World Book Day


Book Clubs

Staff at Norbury run book clubs which are promoted in our reading assemblies.  These give the children an opportunity to enjoy reading the same books as their friends and then having time to discuss the books in school.  This has encouraged children to read and talk about books with their peers.

So far, we have read The Elemental detectives by Patrice Lawrence, The Star Outside my Window by Onjali Q. Rauf and The Twig Man by Sana Rasoul

Reading at home

Reading or being read to has astonishing benefits for children: comfort and reassurance, confidence and security, relaxation, happiness and fun. Giving a child time and full attention when reading them a story tells them they matter. It builds self-esteem, vocabulary, feeds imagination and even improves their sleeping patterns. 

Watch the video below of a child explaining how reading impacts him.


Children at Norbury take home at least two books: A learning to read book which is closely matched to their current fluency level and a reading for pleasure book which children have chosen from their class book corner or library. Books in book corners are updated every half term so that children have a wide range of high-quality texts to choose from, carefully selected to match their age and interests.


 Norbury Reading Spines

Within this document there are four reading spines which are used to support the teaching and learning of reading and writing.

norbury reading spines.pdf

 These lists are intended to be a guide to books suitable for children. Covering a range of genres, the lists are drawn from a number of sources including teachers own recommendations; suggestions by respected authors; reading lists suggested by other schools and the National Literacy Trust’s website.

Some of the texts are more difficult to read than others and care should be taken when choosing those which your child might enjoy. Try the ‘Five Finger Test’ – open the book at random and ask your child to read aloud, holding out a finger for each word they do not know or cannot pronounce. Just one finger and the book is probably too easy; two or three fingers is an appropriate level; four might be too challenging and perhaps a book to read with an adult; five fingers suggests this is a book to leave until they are a little older.

For more information on how to support your child’s reading, please read the following documents:
Top tips for reading


At Norbury, we provide various different support programmes (intervention programmes) to ensure that our children are given the right support at the right time.

The term 'intervention' is often used to describe a short-term, focused teaching programme with specific intended outcomes aimed at individuals or small groups of pupils with particular needs.  In KS2 we use the Little Wandle Rapid Catch Up programme to provide tailored support to any children who have not secured their knowledge of the correct sound to graphemes for all of the 40+ phonemes.

Children who are working below age related expectations for reading in KS2 but have secure phonic knowledge will receive additional support bespoke to their area of reading difficulty-this may be a fluency intervention, comprehension monitoring or pre-teaching of vocabulary and key concepts so that they are able to access the reading curriculum in their classes. These interventions are fluid and assessed every 4-6 weeks to track progress.


KS2 Reading Curriculum

In all classes we read our class novel for 15 minutes every day (separate to our reading lessons) and study this book twice a week. This ensures children have access to and study a text in its entirety from start to finish and build the skill of following a text through. We also use these lessons to focus on the rich, challenging discussion of themes and concepts which arise from a given text.

In addition to this, three reading practice sessions a week are for ‘linked texts’ to ensure children are getting a strong diet of poetry, non-fiction and picture books and our curriculum exposes our children to a wide range of representations in literature. These texts may be linked in terms of being about a topic being studied in the wider curriculum-The Romans in History, Electricity in Science etc. or linked in the fact that they are three days of poetry or three extracts from children’s classic literature.


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