Reading across the curriculum

How we read across the curriculum at Blackhorse


At Blackhorse, we recognise that reading is a key skill for learning and therefore it is one of our five elements of 'Expert Tuition': the elements which we try to include in most lessons.


In the daily reading lesson:

Children practice the key skills of decoding and comprehension in the daily phonics or reading lessons. They use a range of quality texts which may be linked to the curriculum enquiry, or may have been selected for the themes which they explore.


In the daily writing lesson:

In the daily writing lesson, children read a text which has been selected to support the learning not just as a model for writing, but also to expand their knowledge of themes and subjects being taught in the enquiry curriculum (see 'Texts used to support writing' below). We teach children that to become a good author, you must first become a good reader.


In enquiry lessons:

Teaching across the wider curriculum, but particularly in enquiries which are led by Science, History or Geography, children are encouraged to read about a subject, concept or theme. This might be reading and interpreting maps, charts or information in a good-quality atlas, reading about an event in history or reading information or instructions about a scientific process or experiment. 


Disciplinary Literacy:


Disciplinary literacy is a teaching approach that enables learners to think, read, write and speak like experts in a particular subject. It enables children to read, write, speak about, listen to and think conceptually and critically as experts in a certain subject.


Teaching disciplinary literacy is asking learners to “think, speak, read and write as a historian, scientist, or mathematician”, as Alex Quigley describes in Closing the Reading Gap. Disciplinary literacy provides children with subject specific tier three vocabulary, subject knowledge, skills and the ability to think critically in each subject area.


In order for learners to succeed in every subject, teachers have the responsibility of teaching them the subject-specific ways experts in different disciplines read, write, think and speak (Shanahan and Shanahan).


There are five main text structures that children will learn to read throughout the curriculum:



With each text teachers will think about how they are going to teach and read them to the children:


Fluency Reading – a text that is above the children’s level of reading and will require an amount of support

Extended Reading – a lengthy text that would be difficult for the children to read and understand on their own

Close Reading – a text with large amounts of tier 3 vocabulary and subject specific themes that are beyond the knowledge of the children


Independent reading – a text the children will comfortably be able to read and understand on their own.


All children need to expect to have to do something with what they have read so the reading is accountable. This could be answering questions, creating a class discussion, writing a short summary, following instructions etc.


Where appropriate, children explore a key book in their English lessons which is linked to the enquiry question/topic they are studying. To support this book, they will study a range of other texts that link to the main text and the curriculum questions. Throughout the term the children will read a wide range of high quality and diverse picture books, novels, poetry and non-fiction texts.