For all our children to be confident, fluent, lifelong readers 



For our children to be confident, fluent, lifelong readers 

At Dunston Hill, we are firmly committed to providing an ambitious and exciting English Reading Curriculum which inspires all of our children to become life-long readers. We aspire to have high expectations for all of our learners and encourage them to adopt positive mind-sets and show resilience on their reading journey.  The teaching of Reading is underpinned by our school’s curriculum drivers: excitement, resilience and inspiration. From our first Nursery intake through to our Year 6 children who are preparing for the next stage of the educational journey, we aim for all children to be fluent and ready to use and apply their reading knowledge in everyday situations and across the wider curriculum. We aim to inspire children to be explorative and adventurous; confident and independent and always aiming to dream big through the medium of reading.  


Teaching of Reading in our Early Years Foundation Stage is embedded within the curriculum, in line with the Birth to Five documentation. In Reception the teaching and learning focus is on the specific area of Literacy whereas in Nursery we focus on the prime area of Communication and Language. Both of these strands are embedded into all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. For those children who are ready we begin our Read Write Inc. Phonics programme in the Summer Term of Nursery and this is continued by all pupils when they enter Reception. To supplement the teaching and learning in class every child accesses a home-reader linked to their ‘learnt sound’. We believe in the importance of parental involvement in their child’s learning and parents are encouraged to read regularly and record this in our ‘Reading Diaries’. 

In Key Stages 1 and 2 our teaching and learning of reading builds on the input of the Early Years Foundation stage in line with the National Curriculum Statutory Guidance with a particular focus on fluency word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading). 

Word Reading: At Dunston Hill we believe, that skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Through our Read Write Inc. teaching in KS1 we ensure children have the underpinned understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. 

Comprehension: We believe, that good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with teachers and teaching assistance, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction which are children access through our Guided Reading Sessions, Home Readers and in KS2 use of our Reading Plus Programme and Literacy and Language Scheme.  All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. We maintain that reading widely and often from rich texts increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. In light of this, all pupils read with a member of staff each week and parents / carers are encouraged to read three times per week using our ‘Reading Diaries’ as a point of home – school communication.  When they are ready children from Year 2 upwards access our Accelerated Reader programme to complete comprehension tasks linked to their home reader book. 

Retrieval: We use the principle of retrieval practice to ensure that our children are continually building on their knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of comprehension: retrieval, inference, prediction, summarising, vocabulary and the authors’ intent when using language. These skills are discreetly taught in a progressive manner throughout school allowing children to apply the skills to increasing difficulties of text. These skills are recapped and revisited in Guided Reading, personal 1:1 reading and reading within our wider curriculum.



It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence and hence be ready for their secondary education. This is evidenced through a range of sources: statutory assessments in terms of Phonics Screening Check and end of KS1 and KS2 assessments; work in books, photographs and discussions with children, staff and parents. As a school, we place the highest value on children applying their learning within and beyond the curriculum and thus seeing a recognisable impact on our children in 21st Century society. 



At Dunston Hill our writing curriculum is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. Our curriculum is explorative and adventurous. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful writers, who are aspirational and dream big in order to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society.

Our intent is for all pupils – irrespective of their needs, abilities or background – to learn to write fluently, developing their own writer’s voice.  We aim to meet, and where possible exceed, the expectations laid out in the Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum, with pupils progressing appropriately across school. We recognise that spoken language underpins the development of Writing. The quality of language that pupils hear and speak is vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding Writing.  We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.

We cultivate a love of Writing and communicating through vocabulary rich and high-quality literature, using Ready Steady Write by Literacy Counts. By inspiring and developing an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and providing meaningful and exciting provocations to write, we develop a habit of writing widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their Writing; can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts.



At Dunston Hill our curriculum empowers us to provide high-quality teaching of writing through high-quality literature. These detailed units of work centre on exciting, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities within and across the curriculum. They provide:

  • Clear sequential Episodes of Learning
  • Vocabulary learning and contextualised spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Wider reading for the wider curriculum
  • Example Texts linked to writing outcomes

Our English curriculum is developed around a sequence of high-quality age-appropriate texts. We use each book to create opportunities to:

  • develop grammar and punctuation knowledge and understanding to use and apply across the wider curriculum, through sentence accuracy sessions;
  • explore the Writing structure and features of different genres, identifying the purpose and audience;
  • plan and write an initial piece of Writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of Writing by editing and redrafting.




Building on this foundation, we teach Writing using a range of strategies which include:

  • Retrieval – Children constantly revisit punctuation and grammar learning through the daily Sentence Accuracy aspect of our Writing lessons. Each unit teaches select areas of focus (e.g. colons or formal language) which are embedded to long term memory through short, low-stakes guided, shared and independent activities. These aspects are then applied to extended writing. Each unit contains a focus / foci from previous unit to ensure that it is embedded and can consequently be applied, thus allowing the children’s knowledge and understanding of application to progress.
  • Group Discussion – Children discuss and interrogate new ideas in a small group or whole class setting. They listen to and value each other’s ideas whilst taking on board feedback so as to improve their own explanations.
  • Partner Talk – Children work in partners to discuss their ideas. They are able to explain their ideas about texts they have read and prepare their ideas before they write.
  • Questioning – Teachers use a range of questioning strategies to establish children’s current understanding and develop their learning.
  • Modelled Writing – Teachers model Writing and editing to demonstrate the high expectations they have. They verbally ‘think aloud’ in order to make the Writing process explicit and provide a rich and varied vocabulary for the children to utilise in their own work. This happens daily, through sentence accuracy
  • Shared Writing – Teachers use the ideas from the children to create shared pieces of Writing. This enables the children to see the Writing process in action as well as having pride and ownership over the finished piece.
  • Editing – All children are signposted to regular opportunities for reviewing and editing their own and the work of others.
  • Working walls – Teachers and children regularly update working walls to ensure learning is documented within a unit of work.


This innovative practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out preparing them for their contribution to society and our wider community. This curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met within the environment of quality first teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. In this way it can be seen to impact in a very positive way on children’s outcomes This is evidenced through a range of sources: end of KS1 and KS2 assessments including SPaG and Writing Teacher assessment; work in books, photographs and discussions with children, staff and parents. Developing confidence and independence; providing exciting and adventurous learning opportunities and creating an ethos of “dreaming big” with a sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning. As a result, we have a community of enthusiastic writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas.

Curriculum Documents and information

English Curriculum News

Year 4 English – Manfish

Our final English text is the story Manfish. This is the story of Jacques Cousteau, the inventor of the aqualung, and his dream to discover a whole...
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Wonderful Writing in Year 1!

We thoroughly enjoyed our unit of work around the story ‘The Secret of Black Rock’. We became immersed in the story through a range of clues found...
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Year 5 – English

This half term, the children in 5Co worked hard to write their survival narratives in English. All the children worked hard to use all the features...
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SPaG Revision – Y6

Our children in Y6 have worked tirelessly in preparation for our KS2 SATs! Here we are correcting a paper Miss Parkin completed. It was important we...
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