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At Crawford’s, reading is the key that unlocks the rest of the curriculum! Wfirmly believe that once children develop sound recognition and phonological awareness (through a thorough blend of systematic, synthetic phonics teaching and contextualised language, literacy, and communication learning) children can quickly develop the ability to read for pleasure..

We follow 'Reciprocal Reading' as our main method; this is a multilayered approach of ‘Guided Reading’ and ‘Comprehension’ strategies to improve reading focus on learners’ understanding of the text. The 4 Reciprocal Reading skills are 'Questioning', 'Predicting', 'Clarifying' and 'Summarising.' We teach these skills by using a range of techniques that enable pupils to comprehend the meaning of what is written. Such an approach helps children go beyond literal interpretation and recall to explore the complex meanings of a text using inference and deduction. They can begin to learn these strategies from the earliest stages of learning to read. 


We also believe that enabling children to monitor their own comprehension and identify difficulties themselves enhances ‘good metacognitive awareness strategies’.


We recommend that children read and share books every day at home.


We teach phonics through Letters and Sounds.


Articulation of Phonemes

Our pupils have access to a wide range of phonic-based reading books (fiction and non-fiction).

Additionally, we have collections of Story Sacks for our younger pupils to share at home and a wide variety of book-banded storybooks to supplement reading scheme material.


You can find a copy of the new national curriculum Programme of Study for Reading below, alongside examples of the kind of questions used to support learning. We really hope you will find this useful in encouraging learning at home and sharing a love of reading with your child.



Metacognitive awareness involves ‘self-awareness’ and the ability to reflect on one’s understanding and learning. Research highlights the importance of metacognition in learning to read. Younger and poorer readers often do not recognise when they have not understood a text and they are therefore unable to make an autonomous decision to use a strategy to enhance their understanding. More experienced readers show a greater awareness of their own level of understanding. They stop when a text does not make sense to them and some will go on to select a strategy that might help them to overcome their problem.


Teachers (and parents) can model for children how fluent readers monitor their understanding and use strategies to clarify their own understanding.


The EEF evidence that supports our comprehension/ guided reading approach can be found here.



Spelling is an important part of becoming a successful writer. We, at Crawford’s

Primary School, value the Teaching and Learning of spelling since it:

  • Helps children to write more fluently, dedicating more of their energies

towards creative writing (rather than the mechanical process of spelling);

  • Gives our learners strategies to attempt to encounter unfamiliar words,

enriching their vocabulary;

  • Gives children the opportunity to investigate and understand the true meaning

of words;

  • Develops confident writers;

  • Develops confident readers;

  • Supports children with dyslexic tendencies;

  • Prepares them for the world of work after school.

To read more, please click on the link below:


Why is Spelling Valued? Parent/ Carers Pack;

At Crawford's, we use Jane Considine's 'The Spelling Book' from Year 2

upwards. This is supplemented with additional spellings as per the National

Curriculum Appendix Lists:


Times tables


Learning multiplication is an essential part of children's primary education.

Pupils who master multiplication gain a solid foundation in mathematics, which

supports them throughout high school and beyond.

At Crawford's, we use Times Tables (TT) Rockstars to help engage, inspire, and

support children. TT Rock Stars is a carefully sequenced programme of daily times tables practice.

Each week concentrates on a different times table, with a recommended consolidation week for rehearsing the tables

that have recently been practiced every third week or so. This format has very successfully boosted times tables recall speed for hundreds of thousands of pupils over the last 8 years in over 12,000 schools - both primary and secondary - worldwide.


Every child at Crawford's has their own login details to the online account, which can be accessed here.

Questions about Multiplication


The following are answers to common questions that parents ask regarding multiplication. 

1. Why does my child need to memorize the times tables? 


Just like learning to walk before you can run, learning multiplication and memorizing the times tables are building blocks for other math topics taught in school e.g. higher-order learning such as division, long multiplication, fractions, and algebra. Pupils who have not memorized the times tables will find these levels of math much more difficult than they need to be. There is no time to pull out a calculator or to take 20 seconds to work out a math strategy before coming up with the answer. Pupils who have not mastered their tables will very often fall behind in math (and other subjects that use math) and begin to lose confidence. All because they did not memorize the times tables! 

Knowing your multiplication facts is helpful not only in academics; we frequently use multiplication in our daily lives. We might need it when doubling a recipe, determining a discount at a store, or figuring out our expected arrival time when traveling. Math calculations are subconscious elements in work, play, and daily chores. Knowing the times tables can help simple tasks to be performed rapidly and save time and stress. 

2. Why can't they just use a calculator? 

Calculators are great tools for figuring out complex calculations. However, using a calculator takes much longer for simple facts and can result in keying errors. Students who rely on calculators are also weak in estimating skills and are unaware of wrong answers that occur from keying mistakes.

3. What is more important, understanding or memorization and how can I help with both? 

It's not one or the other, it's both. A child must understand and memorize the facts. Early on, a pupil needs to understand what multiplication is - the grouping of sets, repeated addition, a faster way of adding. Show them this with an assortment of manipulatives, by skip counting, and by using arrays. As they master the basics, expand upon this concept by creating interesting word problems. Allow them to discover the patterns in the numbers by exploring a 100s chart, skip-counting tables, and the times table chart. This is the time that they can discover multiplication strategies. However, there eventually comes a time when we need to highlight the importance of rapid recall. Students need to know that they should recall the answer instantaneously. Demonstrate the speed of this by having them quiz you and by practicing together. 

Memorizing can be facilitated by concentrating, rehearsal, and memorization techniques. Remember to focus your limited time on the facts that need to be learned. By removing the facts they already know and by learning the reciprocal facts together (i.e., 6x7 and 7x6), there are surprisingly few left to memorize. Review all facts occasionally to make sure they have been retained in long-term memory. Music, stories, and visual associations can help with retention. 

In some cases, an inability to memorize may suggest learning difficulties. If your child is consistently having trouble memorizing math facts or other elements of learning, it's a good idea to research learning challenges or disabilities and seek medical advice. Negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, and conflict can also reduce learning outcomes and even prevent new information from being memorized. Encourage and support your child rather than getting frustrated and angry when they have difficulty. Remove distractions and create a comfortable and pleasant learning environment. Involve your child in choosing his or her own practice schedule. 

The boring task of memorization can be made more fun through music, games, and activities that reinforce repetition of the math facts. Working with your child to complete this goal can be a bonding time as you play games and sing songs. You will also have the opportunity to help them learn the important life skills of memorization and goal setting. 

Have fun together in this process. It's always a good review and opportunity for the whole family to exercise their brains.

How Parents Can Help Their Child Memorize the Times Tables 

1. Make sure there is understanding. 

2. Explain why it is important. 

3. Demonstrate what fast recall is. 

4. Be interested in math yourself. 

5. Find out what facts they already know. 

6. Involve your child in the goal-setting process. 

7. Focus primarily on the facts they need to learn. 

8. Use a chart to monitor progress. 

9. Provide encouragement along the way. 

10. Spend quality time together practicing. 

11. Acknowledge their success. 

12. And most importantly: Have fun!


Click on the link below to see how we learn times tables (4 ways):

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