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Reading at Diamond Academy

Diamond Academy rigorously and systematically follows the synthetic phonic programme, Letters and Sounds. We also supplement this with additional sessions to cover new elements in reading and writing in light of the new national curriculum. The children receive daily discrete phonic teaching at their age related and ability level in all classes in Year 3 and 4. In addition to this, phonic intervention groups deliver targeted support for those children working at a lower than expected level in Year 3,4 and 5. KS2 teachers use national curriculum expectations and national strategy resource to teach reading and spelling at age related levels across KS2.

KS2 children also receive Letter and Sounds phonics intervention to address gaps in their phonic knowledge in small targeted intervention groups/1:1. KS2 teachers and TAs continue to use strategies from Letters and Sounds to support reading and writing in classes. All teachers and TAs have regular training to develop their knowledge of the Letters and Sounds and its application.

Some children still need support in reading individual words and will need support with sounding out the individual sounds in words. We currently follow Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. The video below demonstrates the sounds and mouth shape that support your child with reading.

Guided Reading

All children across the school receive timetabled guided reading sessions each week. A variety of reading schemes are available to the children for example Bug Club from Pearson’s. These include fully decodable, fiction and non-fiction and some high interest, low ability books. Book bands are used to level the books and to link them to Letters and Sounds phonic phases. At Key Stage 2, teachers use book banded books, short reads and also longer chapter books to support the teaching of reading. Teachers also use examples of real texts, such as recipes, news reports and poetry to provide broad and balanced reading experiences.

All teachers and TAs have training on guided reading strategies.  We follow the Reciprocal Reading structured approach to teaching strategies (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) that students can use to improve their reading comprehension. Individual and Home Reading. The children use a range of reading scheme books as individual and home readers. Parents are encouraged to hear their children read at home.

Children also have access to a well-stocked library where they can choose both fiction and non-fiction texts to take home and share. There are also a developing number of dual language books to support EAL readers. The library is in the process of being audited to ensure that we have a full updated range of interest and reading for pleasure books aimed at all children.

For further ideas about how to support a child with reading at home, please the Supporting your child read at home leaflet.

Writing at Diamond Academy

We teach writing through the Talk for Writing approach, developed by Pie Corbett. The aim is to develop imaginative, creative and effective writers, who are able to independently write for a variety of audiences and purposes. Throughout the year the children will cover non-fiction, fiction and poetry texts.


Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need, before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.  A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading to analyse it. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.


Talk for writing is taught in 3 stages referred to as the 3 I’s, Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application. The stages are explained below:


Cold Write– Teachers provide the children with a stimulus in which the children write from without any initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing helps the teacher work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. From this a main focus for the unit of work will be identified.


The Imitation stage

Text mapping. To begin the unit, the children internalise a whole text or the selected focus section from the model text. The model text is pitched well above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.

Reading as a reader – Here the children unpick the writing to understand what the author has intended. Vocabulary is magpied and added to the class magpie walls alongside unpicking the structure of the text. All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns.

The Innovation 

Reading as-a-writer – Here the children innovate the focus section along with short burst writing activities to embed skills and the chosen focus. Shared writing allows the children to have modelled the use of the focus skills and to ‘have a go’ themselves. Class toolkits for how to be successful with their piece of writing are created.
Independent application

Eventually, students move on to the Independent Application, which is when they apply what has been taught and practised. Here, the children will plan and write their ‘Hot Write.’ Students are guided through planning, drafting and editing their work independently.