Power of reading

English at Cheam Common Junior Academy is taught through the ‘Power of reading’ approach. Each term every class is taught English skills through a book which is linked to their topic. The teaching of English builds cross-curricular links so that high quality literature is at the heart of our curriculum and the children’s learning.

Through this teaching approach at Cheam Common we embed the teaching of phonics, grammar, punctuation and spelling into a rich reading curriculum. Focussing quality children’s literature is at the heart of their learning which creates a whole school culture of reading for pleasure.

We also run a 'Battle of the Books' competition each year to encourage our children to read more and appreciate a wide variety of literature. 

No nonsense spelling

Each week, children will be introduced to a spelling rule or pattern to focus on. They will then have a list of spellings to bring home to learn based on their classwork. Sometimes this rule may last for more than one week. Once your child can spell the words on the list it is useful to test them on other words that follow the same rule/pattern. This then ensures they know the rule and can apply it to any word.

Your child’s class teacher will test your child on their spellings the following week. This will not always be done through a traditional test. Sometimes they will have a dictation task or spelling activity to complete. Children will be encouraged to write in their diaries how many spellings they spelt correctly so that you can see how they got on.

You can download a list of the statutory curriculum words set by the Government. They are broken down into Year 3/4 and Year 5/6. These are words that children should know by the end of Year 4 and Year 6. Three of these curriculum words will be included in your child’s spelling list each week. These words will be separate from the rule that they are working on in class. Some of the curriculum words your child may already know, however some are very challenging.

If you would like to practise these words with your child across the school year they will find it beneficial to their spelling and writing. Please also explain the meaning of the words as well as ways to help them remember the spelling.

Each week, there will be some spelling tips and ideas to help your children with their spellings and ways to remember them.

Reading with RIC

We have introduced a new way to support children with their reading comprehension. Children will be working on ‘RIC’ questions to aid their understanding. The children will focus on three question types: retrieve, interpret and choice (RIC).

In order to answer a retrieve question, children should be able to find the answer within the text.

For, the interpret questions, children will need to find some evidence in the text but then use their own knowledge to understand what this means.

Choice questions are sometimes the hardest questions for children to answer. These questions involve the children thinking about why the author has made certain language choices or structured their writing in a certain way. Sometimes these questions don’t have a right or wrong answer but relies on the children explaining their ideas using the evidence to support their reasons.

Children will begin each comprehension lesson with a RIC activity which will ask these three types of questions using a text, picture, poem or video clip.

Try using some of these questions to support your child’s reading at home:


  • Can you find information in the text?
  • What does this word mean? (using dictionary)


  • How are the characters feeling?
  • Why did they do or say that?
  • What might happen next?


  • Which words help you understand what is happening?
  • What techniques has the author used to describe?
  • How has the author organised or presented the text? 

Reading Raffle

Can you read at home five times a week? 

To encourage children to read at home as much as possible we have a Reading Raffle every Friday. When your child reads at home, please record what they have read in their home school diaries. Please add details about the book, which was their favourite part or any tricky parts.

Children who read at least five times throughout the week will be entered into the Reading Raffle draw. Teachers will check children’s diaries on a Friday morning and those children who have read five times or more will be entered. A name will be picked out of the draw each week in celebration assembly. The winner will be able to select a brand new book as their prize from a large selection. 

Parent's Presentation

To view the Parent's information evening presentation on English please see below. Our Grammar Glossary can also be viewed in the downloads section at the end of this page.

LEO Virtual Library

Visit the LEO Academy Trust Virtual Library and enjoy reading or listening to a story from the selection of Children’s books. There’s something for everyone from Nursery through to Year 6.

Virtual library