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How is reading taught at Chestnuts? 

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and forms a key part of all learning experiences. Our curriculum is planned so there is a clear progression of knowledge and skills that enables our children to become avid readers who are motivated and engaged to read, who read fluently and widely and who express their preferences and discuss books confidently within the school community. We encourage children to read for pleasure, provide them with access to a range of genres and text types and immerse children in a language-rich environment that empowers them to become successful readers, both in primary school, into their secondary education and beyond.  

We are Hooked on Books!  

We have introduced a whole school approach to the teaching of reading and have aligned this with the teaching of writing using Jane Considine's 'Hooked on Books' approach. This provides a systematic way to teach reading skills across the whole school, from the point at which the children complete the Read Write Inc Phonics programme. Across a fortnightly period, the children will participate in five Book Talk sessions and five skills-based lessons. In 'Book Talk' sessions, the children will experience reading in a range of different ways: reading by themselves, reading with a partner, reading as a whole class or listening to the adult model the reading. Throughout the lesson, the children explore high quality texts and use the 'Reading Rainbow' to read and respond to texts through different lenses from the three zones of reading: the FANTASTICs, the STYLISTICSs and the ANALYTICs. Together, the three zones of reading are designed to support the children to become confident readers. 

  • The FANTASTICs support the children to identify specific ideas that published authors use to enhance their writing. They represent nine lenses through which the children can discuss the texts that they are reading and the choices that authors make. The children will also encounter the FANTASTICs in their writing lessons as they learn to incorporate these ideas into their own work. At Chestnuts, we believe that the quality of the children’s understanding is strengthened when they have experiences to draw upon. These can be developed by focussing closely on each of the FANTASTICs. 
  • The STYLISTICs are nine key ideas which help the children to demonstrate their understanding of the texts that they have read. They help them to retrieve information from the text, explain their understanding, summarise what they have read and justify their ideas and opinions. 
  • The ANALYTICs are techniques that the children can use to really delve deeply into the texts that they have read, analysing the reasons behind authors’ choices. They allow the children to compare and contrast texts, identifying big themes as well as the fine details.  

Within each of the reading zones, there are nine lenses which provide the children with reasons to read. As we understand the science of learning and the need to revisit and review concepts in order to embed them in the long-term memory, our curriculum planning ensures that these lenses and reasons to read are recapped and applied to a range of different texts and genres.  

Book Talk is key to developing an engaging reading culture for everyone that promotes oracy skills, reading fluency and confidence. Children collaborate in pairs or small groups using sentence stems and high-utility words to develop a Book Talk response. All of our high-quality texts are age-appropriate and carefully selected to suit the interests of our children. This ensures that all children are challenged and have the opportunity to experience the diverse and magical world that reading has to offer.  

During skills lessons, the children are exposed to a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts which they use to develop their reading, retrieval, sequencing and summarising, inference and prediction skills. They will also discuss the vocabulary that they encounter to help continue to build their banks of language.   

The Library and Our Reading Scheme - Home / School Books: 

Our school library is a place that we are proud of here at Chestnuts. It is beautifully decorated with well-known book characters that make it a warm, welcoming and engaging place to spend time embracing books! We have many different genres to choose from and an ever-growing stock of non-fiction texts spanning an array of different subject areas. We have a library full of awe and wonder!  

During their time at Chestnuts, the children have access to a range of book banded books to share at home which support the teaching of reading taking place in school. These texts are age appropriate, offer suitable levels of challenge and are phonetically decodable to support the children’s developing phonological awareness. Within these books, the children are able to select texts that appeal to them from a range of different genre, non-fiction texts and poems. The books are also written by a range of authors, many of whom are popular children’s authors such as Michael Morpurgo.  

We appreciate that reading with your child is a special time and we therefore ensure that the children change their reading books regularly with an adult who can support them with their choice. We assess the children’s reading and comprehension skills regularly to enable them to move through the book banded levels at their own pace. 

In addition to their banded book, the children can also take home a library book of their choice. Through this, we aim to promote a love of reading and encourage children to read books for pleasure. The children can select this book from the wide range of text types on offer in the library and, as a result, they may choose a book that they are unable to read independently. In this situation, we will encourage the children to share these books with you at home and have fun enjoying the choice that they have made.   

If you would like a greater variety of texts or media to read at home, Oxford Owl has an online e-library which you, as parents, can sign up to and use at home. Please have a look at the link below for more information. 

Library 2
Library 1