Dalton School Junior Infant And Nursery

From little acorns, mighty oaks will grow

Mayfield Avenue, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD5 9HN
Contact: Mrs H Valentine (Office Manager)

01484 538729





Following the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum, the school endeavours to engender a life – long love of reading. We provide children with the skills and knowledge in order to enjoy the art of reading.

Our curriculum is structured through high quality classical and contemporary fiction and this drives its design. Similarly, non-fiction is layered across the curriculum in order to give children a broad understanding of why writers have chosen particular language or laid out text in a specific way. Moreover, books are sequenced in order to expose children to a variety of social, moral, spiritual and cultural themes so that they are able to develop cultural capital. As a result, texts are selected to challenge prejudice and broaden children‘s understanding of their roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

Different text types are carefully selected, across all year groups, so that children are systematically exposed to a variety of genres.  Moreover, in understanding text variety, children recognise purpose and organisation and learning is carefully planned to enable children to debate, reason and empathise. This is particularly important in closing the speech, language and vocabulary gap, identified upon entry into nursery. Furthermore, through this, timely opportunities are seized to enhance empathy and thus, develop reading comprehension strategies and vocabulary extension.

Upon entry to foundation stage, it is our intention to accelerate the progress of the lowest 20% by ensuring children’s phonological accuracy is relentlessly addressed. It is our professional ambition that all children will leave school as fluent, confident readers with a desire to read and enjoy a range of texts.

It is our intention that all literature promotes school values of love, compassion,  hope, ambition, equality and  tolerance, thus embedding characteristics of effective learning and citizenship.

Through our sustained approach, children become inquisitive about language and its structure and actively read for meaning. They also develop widening knowledge and use this to make connections between subjects and aspects of learning. As a result of this, children develop an enquiring mind, which leads to children’s enhanced creativity and ability to reason and problem-solve.


Mastery in phonics is fundamental to children being able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts, across the curriculum. This is achieved by teaching phonics systematically daily, with a relentless drive to address the needs of all learners. From the outset, parents are invited to workshops and practical sessions to demonstrate letter to sound correspondence and promote consistent use of the school’s scheme – ‘Letters and sounds’.  Those children struggling in phonics are never left behind because the school employs a range of strategies to close the gap, including precision teaching, direct phonics and web-based interventions.

 Children are expected to read at home and the school reading scheme ( made up from Oxford Reading Tree, Project X and Collins Big Cat) is carefully matched, in the first instance, to children’s phonic phases.  As children become more fluent, we help them make book choices, related to their interest and ensure that questioning is carefully scaffolded.  In order to ensure precise use of questioning, professionals have carefully analysed Bloom’s and Barrett’s taxonomies and the assessment focuses for reading.  As a result of this, all staff use the same question stems and, where possible, children use reciprocal reading strategies.

Within our context, ensuring children have the cultural capital and experiences to become engrossed and immersed in reading is vital.   This is achieved by selecting specific texts to build upon children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and thus help them to make connections to ideas within texts.  Developing a sense of awe and wonder, through selection of appropriate texts, which promote cultural and moral themes, is core and embedded across the curriculum.

In order to develop reading for meaning, we teach all the reading strands from the National Curriculum as follows:

  • Decoding
  • Retrieving/record information
  • Summarising
  • Inference
  • Predictions
  • Identifying and explaining information
  • Meaning and its enhancements
  • Comparisons within and across texts

Professional research and analysis of children’s outcomes has led the school to adopting a whole school reading strategy, from year one to six, which progressively deepens children’s knowledge and understanding of these elements, through the consistent use of reading journals. This allows children to develop ‘book talk’ and explain, retrieve, interpret and summarise their learning, across a wide variety of narrative and non-narrative texts.

Shared reading of whole class texts is consistent across school and takes place at least three times a week.  This gives teachers opportunity to use a ‘sub-conscious’ voice and model characteristics of an effective reader, particularly questioning authorial intent, use of vocabulary and tone.  Moreover, teachers engage children by modelling effective story-telling techniques including intonation and pace.  Differentiated guided reading ensures that assessment outcomes are used to target and extend children’s knowledge and understanding of texts. Individual reading takes place for all children in foundation stage and targeted for the lowest 20% in KS1 and KS2.

One successful implementation strategy is to consistently ask children to ‘zoom in’ and then  ‘zoom out,’ i.e. literal meaning moving to inferential meaning.

Wherever possible, children’s vocabulary is acquired and enhanced as part of shared, guided and individual reading.

Planning incorporates performance poetry, drama and debating opportunities in order to hook children and develop empathy.

The reading environment is planned to engage and promote a range of books (to include high quality authors) with a strong emphasis on parental partnerships.


On-going formative assessment takes place within each reading session against the assessment focuses.  This includes: teacher observations, questioning, discussions and marking and feedback of reading journals. These outcomes are fed forward into timely teacher intervention and subsequent planning to ensure gaps in knowledge are closed and progress is not limited.

End of term assessments are used to track progress and to identify gaps in the following reading strands, as follows:

  • Inferences with evidence
  • Retrieval
  • Words in context
  • Summarise main ideas
  • Enhanced meaning
  • Comparisons within a text
  • Related content

Outcomes from formative assessments are used to identify gaps in knowledge and will inform future planning.  Pupil progress will also identify precise actions and objectives for targeted focus children, including the lowest 20% who are not likely to meet end of year expectations and/or not making expected progress. 

We recognise that quality first teaching in reading is the essential first step in improving outcomes for all children.  With this in mind, we ensure that teachers and teaching assistants are kept up to date on the latest initiatives and news.  This is through continuous professional development by outside providers and within school (such as local authority networks, TA training and SHINE partnerships).  In response to monitoring, evaluation and review outcomes, weaker areas in staff subject knowledge and pedagogy are developed through the school’s coaching/mentoring programme.


What children say about reading at Dalton School:

“I love reading because you can go to a different world.”

“I used to hate reading but I have read every day and I am now a good reader.”

“I love reading because I love book reviews.”

“I love choosing new books”

“Reading affects children’s education because there are new words to learn.”

“Challenging books help me read because I push myself to learn new words and the more you read, the more you get used to it and the more you enjoy it.”

“ERIC time is amazing because it makes me feel calm after chaos.”

“I love reading because it lets you escape from this world into another.”

“I love reading because it is relaxing.”

“The overlay makes me read faster and this helps.”

“ERIC is great because it gives us a space to read when we can’t find one at home.” 



At Dalton, we strive to ensure that high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. We maintain through each key stage and year group that we want our children to develop their vocabulary understanding, write in a range of different genres and continuously develop their spelling, grammar and punctuation skills. As well as this, we want our children to understand the spoken word, use expression and participate as a member of society by speaking fluently and articulately.

Our curricular aims

  • Guide and nurture each individual on their own personal journeys to becoming successful writers.
  • Provide exciting writing opportunities and experiences that engage and enhance all pupils.
  • We want all children to acquire a wide vocabulary and to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school.
  • We want all children to have a solid understanding of grammar and apply it effectively to their writing.
  • We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a legible, cursive, individual handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
  • We want every child to have a good knowledge of phonics to springboard children to becoming fluent writers.
  • To plan a progressive curriculum to build upon previous teaching, with regular assessment to ensure each child’s needs are met to reach their full potential.


To enable our children to write effectively and coherently we teach Writing using the ‘The Write Stuff’. This approach has been implemented from Nursery to Year 6 and allows children to apply basic skills, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to write effectives sentences, which are full of impact and keep the reader interested. ‘The Write stuff brings clarity to the mechanics of teaching writing. It is introduced through the ‘Writing Rainbow.’

Each unit of work is based on either a book or video clip as a stimulus. Children follow a specific writing process, this begins with an experience day to ensure that children can write about events that they themselves have experienced, followed by sentence stacking lessons, which teach grammar in context through different lenses from the writing rainbow and finally lead onto the independent writing process.

 Experience Days

Experience days are lessons within the teaching sequence, which allow the children to be fully exposed to the topic they are going to be writing about and drenched in subject specific vocabulary, to give them all the necessary tools to write to their full potential. Children produce high quality writing when they are writing about something that they know. These experience days can include a variety of activities: A Mount Everest Basecamp being set up; a space exploration lesson; a plane journey brought to the classroom.

  Sentence Stacking

Sentence stacking lessons make up the bulk of the writing sequence. They begin with a narrative map or shape map; this narrative/shape map consists of a sequence of plot points for fiction or shapes for non-fiction, that take children through the journey of the story or text they will be writing. Each day a lesson will focus on one plot point or shape. Within this lesson, there will be three learning chunks. Within each learning chunk there are 3 parts: Initiate, Model and Enable.


During ‘Initiate’, children will focus on one or two of the lenses from the writing rainbow. They will collect appropriate and adventurous vocabulary and ideas through ‘chotting’. Once the relevant ideas have been collected, the teacher then goes into the ‘Model’ phase of the lesson. Here is where, using subconscious voice, the teacher will model how to turn these ideas into high quality sentences, focusing on the specific writing rainbow lens the children are working on. The final stage of learning chunk one is the ‘Enable’ phase, children are released, armed with a writing lens, observation of a strong teacher model and chotting pages filled with vocabulary and ideas to write their own sentence filled with impact and interest. This process happens three times in the lesson, to form the plot point or shape. Children are also given the opportunity to ‘Deepen the Moment’ and add more to their writing using a lens of their choice.

 Independent Writing

Independent writing sequences give children the opportunity to showcase everything they’ve learn in their experience days and sentence stacking lessons. Children will use a narrative or shape map to plan out their writing and plot point or shape will each have a specific lens from the writing rainbow that they will focus on. Over their time at Dalton, children will write a range of genres.


 What children say about writing at Dalton School:

“I can use better adjectives to make my writing to describe it in greater depth.”

“I can use relative clauses to add more information to a sentence.”

“I can write neater, although it takes me a long time to do this.”

“I enjoy it because you can make your imagination run loose.”

“I like using thesauruses to find better vocabulary because it makes me feel smart when I read it back!”

“I love it when you finish your work and it looks beautiful and sounds like you are an author.”

“I love writing because I am good at it and because I read a lot, this makes my writing better.”

“I love writing because you can use your imagination and then you really get into it.”

“ I use subordinating conjunctions and this makes me so clever!”

“ I love writing informal letters as you really get to show your emotion and this makes your pencil move fast!”

“I feel empowered when I use words that I wouldn’t normally use”

“I love writing in first person because you feel you are actually there!”