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English at Rushmore

 English Lead: Cat Sutcliffe


At Rushmore, we are passionate about teaching our children how to communicate effectively. From Nursery to Year 6, we use an agreed set of differentiated talk stems and dedicated lesson time to teach the children how to support and listen, show understanding and build a discussion with their peers.

Click here to see an example of a Talk Mat used by the children.



Developing a Love of Reading

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum at Rushmore.

We have a range of different reading initiatives happening in the school, on top of the daily reading lessons.

  • Rushmore Reads – a 10 minute session where children enjoy their reading book
  • Read Alouds – a session where the class reader (a book linked to their topic) is read by the teacher
  • Tick for 20/30 – a rewards system that celebrates children who are reading daily at home
  • Library Visits - every other week to allow for a 48hr period in between bubbles visiting the library

Click here to see the list from your child’s class and try to spot which classes tried to sneak in some extra books to read!!

  • Weekly library slots


Books, Books, Books

Children at Rushmore are encouraged to be reading suitable books at home every night. We have a wide range of reading books in the classrooms and they are regularly updated thanks to donations from parents. Some books are book banded based on reading ability but we encourage all children to use the five finger rule to support them in selecting books.

The Five Finger Rule     

Ask your child to read one page of their book and to hold up a finger for every word that they don’t know. Ideally, 2-4 unknown words means that the book is the right challenge. 


Below is a reminder of which days the children change their books. To ensure that we are following the government’s guidance, the books that children take from the classroom will be quarantined on return before being placed back on the shelves. Because of this, children will have a specific day to change books – we apologise if this means that your child has to wait a few days before changing their book

Teaching Reading

We begin to cultivate children’s reading skills in Nursery, where daily sessions of Read Write Inc (RWI) teach children how to decode new words and begin to develop their comprehension skills.

Once this programme has been completed (usually by Year 2), children move on to Destination Reader (DR). This approach involves daily sessions incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading.

Rushmore was lucky enough to be part of shaping Destination Reader - developed by the Hackney Learning Trust - and have found that teachers and children alike are really enjoying this approach. Children now have a clearer understanding of what makes a good reader and are given the time to develop these skills. We are also beginning to see the impact of these sessions in their writing: children are writing as readers with their readers in mind.


Our teachers use a range of exciting topics as a stimulus for writing tasks. We value the importance of giving the children a reason to write. We encourage the children to explore and evaluate good examples, build up their vocabulary, and use drama as a tool to unpick different genres before teaching them to plan and write their own pieces. We also have bi-weekly Big Write sessions from Year 1 onwards, in which children are encouraged to build up their writing stamina and complete an independent piece based on the theme or topic that they are studying. Our children are part of the discussion in terms of their next steps and work together to peer assess each other’s work and to give advice on how to make their writing even better.

You can also see amazing examples of our children’s writing displayed proudly throughout the school, so keep your eyes peeled!