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Whitchurch Combined School remains a 'Good' School - OFSTED February 2024

Whitchurch Combined School

Growing Today, Ready for Tomorrow

Whitchurch Combined School

Growing Today, Ready for Tomorrow

Reading Spine


At Whitchurch Combined School, we aim to provide opportunities all of our children to encounter a broad, interesting and inspiring range of books, enabling them to develop reading skills, to face increasingly complex texts, to cultivate a love of reading and to extend their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

The complexity of books goes far beyond the Lexile level of the text. In Reading Reconsidered (2016), Lemov, Driggs and Woolway outline the ‘Five Plagues of Reading’ – five text types that all readers should have access to in order to navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond the lexical level. These are as follows:


  1. Archaic Language

The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today.

  1. Non-Linear Time Sequences

Stories where time flows back and forth in a complex manner not just flows in one direction.

  1. Narratively Complex

Multiple, unreliable or non-human narrators which often create multiple plot-lines or alternative viewpoints

  1. Complexity of Plot, Symbolic Text

Stories which can be steeped in figurative language and often exist on an allegorical or symbolic level, sometimes complex in plot and structure.

  1. Resistant Texts

Texts which are difficult to understand, texts that deliberately resist comprehension. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues.



We aim for children to encounter at least once of each of these text types per year, through guided reading, through English teaching/writing units, or through our class readers and story time.

Across these text types, we also aim to expose our children to diverse characters, settings and stories. In a small village community, it is vitally important that our children encounter the rich diversity of the wider world through as many avenues as possible, and reading is one of these.

Additionally, we have selected books mainly the through the ‘Power of Reading’ (CLPE) website that our teachers are passionate about, that represent some of the best current children’s fiction, that are written by exceptional authors and books that we know our children will enjoy.

Non-fiction texts and poetry are encountered regularly in whole class reading sessions, as well as through a range of curriculum areas, e.g. History, Geography, R.E, as well as selected texts in reading and writing units.

Whitchurch Combined School Values

Be Kind
  • No matter how tough your day has been for you: always be kind - Emily, Year 5.
Be Respectful
  • Accept people's ideas or games you might play on the play ground - Edward H, Year 5.
Be Proud
  • Being proud to me is doing your best work and looking for ways to improve - Freddie, Year 5.
Be Resilient
  • You don’t give up! You keep trying your best until it gets easier! - Henny, Year 5.
Be Curious
  • Being Curious to me is asking questions, being interested and wanting to try new things - Edward W, Year 5