Ashwicken C of E Primary School

Ashwicken CE Primary School Caring for Each Other
and Caring for Our World

Ashwicken C of E Primary School

Reading, Writing and Poetry Spine 2023-2024


From the earliest ages, reading is much more than decoding. From the start, reading is also accessing and further acquiring language knowledge and domain knowledge. This means that instruction and practice in fluency of decoding need to be accompanied by instruction and practice in vocabulary and domain knowledge. If we want to raise later achievement …, we need to combine early instruction in the procedures of literacy with early instruction in the content of literacy, specifically: vocabulary, conventions of language, and knowledge of the world.’

D. Hirsch, Jr. (2003)

Reading, writing and poetry spine 23/24


The aim of this reading spine is to provide an extensive list of books that teachers can draw upon to support the teaching and learning of reading and writing at Ashwicken. These are books to use as class reads, study books for writing and whole class reading, recommendations for reading corners or for extracts (taken from them to look at in greater detail). 



The intention is that by the time children reach year 6 and beyond, they have developed a wide, rich vocabulary and broader knowledge of the world and, as a result, are able to access the more complex books expected of them in secondary schools. It should be noted that book and text selection in school not only considers narratives and poems but also recognises that a good balance of topic-appropriate non-fiction should also be read to help further develop children’s background knowledge of the subject they are studying. 


Learning to Read

These are books which are particularly supportive for children who are learning to read.  Books are included here because they help children to behave like readers. They may be: 

  • memorable texts that feature repetition and encourage predictions 
  • texts within which rhythm and rhyme are important 
  • texts that allow children to practice and apply their phonic knowledge 
  • books with strong story shapes and structures 
  • texts which positively reflect children's interests and backgrounds 
  • books with supportive illustrations 
  • books that draw attention to written language and to the way books work 


Literature Collection – High Quality Texts for All

These are books which will form the basis of a literature curriculum and the collection has been designed to introduce children to a growing range of texts. Whilst some children in the class may not be able to read all the books independently, an important function of the collection is to give them access to a wider range of titles, authors and genres that they might not otherwise meet.  For more experienced readers, this collection offers an increasingly challenging range of material for individual or group reading. Books in this collection are likely to be: 

  • texts that are multi-layered - capable of being read at different levels 
  • books that deal with important themes 
  • books in which language is used in lively, inventive ways 
  • books by skilful and experienced children's writers and illustrators 
  • traditional and contemporary 'classics' of children's literature 
  • stories with different cultural settings  
  • texts that promote discussion and reflection 


The reading for pleasure fiction collection was developed from Doug Lemov’s work ‘Reading Reconsidered’. In his book, Doug Lemov points out that there are five types of texts that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond a lexical level and demand more from the reader than other types of books. The selection in each age group aims to guide children (and staff supporting text selection) in ensuring children read books from these ‘5 plagues of reading’: Archaic, Non-linear, Narratively complex, Symbolic/figurative and resistant. 


Information Texts 

These are high-quality information texts which are interesting and enjoyable. All the information books promote how the text and pictures can work together to provide comprehensive information and an enjoyable reading experience whilst broadening knowledge, vocabulary and experience of the world. 


These texts have been selected through recommendations: National Literacy Trust, CLPE, The Book Trust as well as consideration for areas of learning covered in areas of the curriculum to encourage wider reading.

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