English is taught using our set texts for each year group. These texts have been selected specifically for our curriculum.
The criteria for choosing the set texts are; cultural capital, challenge, vocabulary, variation and conceptual richness. We also consider how these texts build upon knowledge and concepts year after year.
Here’s one example: Aesop’s Fables is read in year 1 - a culturally important, challenging text that teaches us that stories contain messages. This then leads to The Velveteen Rabbit in year 2 which moves us from moral to theme, and from fable to short story. This leads to Charlottes's Web in year 3 which develops the themes found in The Velveteen Rabbit i.e. the transformative power of love and is culturally significant and challenging. This then leads to Philip Pullman’s Clockwork in year 4; again the book develops the theme of love's transformative power but also introduces a contemporary writer and a meta-story within a story (an idea that will come up again and again in fiction). Ultimately, this reading route can carry our pupils to the most complex texts ever written.
Our Literacy Canon
Please see below for a list of our set texts for the current academic year. A copy of each book will be provided to pupils for English lessons but we also encourage pupils to explore these texts at home.
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers (2007)
Pirate Stories by Emma Young (2007)
The Story Tree by Hugh Lipton (2005)
Aesop's Fables retold by Michael Morpurgo (2004)
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (1990)
Poems on a Happy Theme - Selected Poets
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (1921)
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton (1939)
Greek Myths retold by Geraldine McCaughrean (1993)
Look Inside Space by Rob Lloyd Jones (2012)
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (2014)
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1922)
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes (1968)
Traditional Tales by Various Authors
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (1952)
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou (1978)
The River by Valerie Bloom (2000)
Beowulf retold by Rob Lloyd Jones (2009)
The Street Beneath my Feet by Charlotte Guillain (2017)
Journey to Johannesburg by Beverley Naidoo (1985)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
Roman Diary – the Journal of Iliona – a Young Slave by Richard Platt (2014)
Clockwork by Philip Pullman (1996)
The Malfeasance by Alan Bond (1990)
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2000)
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)
Kick! by Mitch Johnson (2017)
Holes by Louis Sacher (1998)
Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce (1958)
Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo (1999)
Skellig by David Almond (1998)
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1798)
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)
Letters From The Lighthouse by Emma Carroll (2017)
Selected Speeches including Martin Luther King and Malala Yousafzai
The Write Stuff
In KS2, writing is taught using the highly successful 'The Write Stuff' approach by Jane Considine. This method allows pupils to improve their oracy and widen their vocabulary in every lesson, whilst deepening their understanding of writing choices. For more information about this approach, please click here
Specific Areas of Learning
Cooks Spinney's English curriculum focusses on the following areas of learning:
We develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.
Speaking and Listening
Pupils are taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication.
Reading and Writing
Pupils are taught to read fluently, understand extended prose and are encouraged to read for pleasure. Classrooms are well stocked with fiction, non-fiction and poetry books; and we set ambitious expectations for reading at home. Pupils develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They are taught the correct use of grammar. The writing they do includes narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.