Given our school context, where many children have English as a second language and where few have the opportunity to read to an adult, we invest heavily in Phonics and Reading. We expect our children to be able to Read for Pleasure with Understanding across the curriculum. We have planned our curriculum so that this is accessed and enjoyed through a number of interlinking strategies.  At all ages children are encouraged to take ownership of their reading.


Throughout school including Nursery, we teach phonics using Supersonic Phonics Friends; a programme that is a fully systematic, synthetic phonic approach ranging from the simple to the complex spellings of the alphabetic code.  It provides a consistent teaching approach to phonics teaching across school.

In Nursery, children have daily phonics sessions and this continues in Reception post baseline, with the additional structure of children working in groups based on their acquisition of sounds taught and their ability to apply them to their Reading and Writing. Children are expected to be secure in phase 3 by the end of Reception, phase 5 by the end of Year One and Phase 6 in Year 2. ‘Support for Spelling’ is used in Year 2 to consolidate previous learning in phonics. Phonics reading books are arranged so that de-codable books which support the phonics being taught are available for children to read and take home.

As our children enter school with lower than expected skills, phonics teaching and revision needs to continue beyond EYFS.  In Year 1, 2 we provide for two phonics sessions per day and in Year 3 all children receive a daily revision/gap filling lesson through systematic teaching.

In Years 4 – 6, new entrants to our school, INAs and some children who still have gaps in their phonic knowledge are supported by the class teacher using Supersonic phonics friends or Rapid Phonics during Reading sessions.

All children have individual phonics checks and trackers which are completed at three main assessment intervals but half termly for all children who receive phonics teaching or interventions.  This is monitored by the Phonics Lead in the English Team.

Reading for Pleasure with Understanding

We value and promote ‘Reading for Pleasure with Understanding’ as our ethos for developing children’s learning across the curriculum, where they have ownership of their reading and maintain their own Reading Record. The key strategies are Reading Skills by Thinking Aloud, Read Aloud- Think Aloud, independent Reading for Pleasure, Reading to an adult, Read Aloud – enjoying ‘Brilliant Books’ read by an adult and intervention using Project X. Children across school access these opportunities and all adults in school undergo an in-house training programme to ensure consistency of teaching. Children in Year 1 access the strategies progressively when they are ready, increasingly so from the Spring term. However teachers begin to model Read Aloud- Think Aloud from the autumn term and use Read Aloud when reading Brilliant Books to the children.

Reading Skills by Thinking Aloud:

  • the systematic teaching of reading skills which reflects the processes involved in the ‘moment of reading’,
  • access to age appropriate texts regardless of ability during two days of whole class teaching, where a teacher and TA focus on a particular group whilst facilitating the rest of the class who are working on the same text.
  • access to ability level and greater depth texts during a three day carousel,
  • involves whole class and more personalised teaching in ability groups,
  • provides scaffolded prompts which supports reading the text several times, speaking using evidence from the texts as well as prediction, using background knowledge, clarification of phrases and words (by identification of very important phrases /words) and breakdown recovery strategies; asking inference type questions; showing understanding of text cohesion by including missing sentences, summarising by using a 5 finger gist, writing a headline and providing a visual representation of their understanding,
  • enables children to work independently (annotating texts and discussion) in a whole class setting with very low ability children paired with more able, whilst adults focus in more detail with an ability based target group.
  • provides for independent working on ‘Conversation Preparation’, (involving text/book talk) in readiness for a ‘Reading Skills Conversation’ with the teacher or TA. ‘Follow on’ and ‘Skills Development’ sessions provide for a range of other reading skills to be practised and applied,
  • ‘Skills development activities’ and ‘Follow on’ sessions enable children to reflect on their reading through a range of high expectation e.g. Reading Journal activities, showing their understanding of a text discussed during a ‘Reading Conversation’ and develop other skills e.g. vocabulary, showing their understanding of themes, using a dictionary and thesaurus, using reading challenge fans for questioning etc.
  • Teachers are supported by modelled mats and texts from which they can choose appropriate activities.

Read aloud, Think Aloud:

  • access to age approach texts regardless of ability,
  • a whole class teaching approach where children work in mixed ability pairs, using a reading ruler to help them focus on the words and phrases,
  • teachers model the mix of reading skills ‘in the moment of reading’ showing children how the systematic processes they have learned are activated when reading for pleasure with understanding.
  • enables children to read out loud to the class and read independently to themselves during one taught text,
  • children who are not confident readers may read out loud using an echo approach with their paired reader,
  • children who cannot read the text independently during the silent independent reading part of the lesson, have the text whispered to them by their reading partner whilst they follow on,
  • teachers question, expect children to show their understanding by sharing the 5 finger gist, ask and answer a range of questions (which always include at least one inference type question), see questions presented in different ways, work at pace orally and using shared white board work,
  • teachers and children identify vocabulary throughout which is then revisited at the end of the lesson and at the beginning of the next lesson,
  • allows children the following day to re-read the text, practise scanning and skimming to answer written questions which are modelled by the teacher and independently worked on to show their understanding,
  • children work through their answers as a class, which are then reviewed by the teacher to ensure robust and precise answers,
  • a fortnightly, age appropriate unseen comprehension text where children can show their skills and understanding through written answers. Children who are unable to access the age appropriate comprehension may receive adult support and /or a differentiated text. Children who are working at greater depth will also have the opportunity to access more challenging texts,
  • teachers model Read Aloud- Think Aloud in the moment of reading across the curriculum.

The Reading Working Wall supports children’s learning with visuals, vocabulary, very important phrases/words, teacher modelling, text annotation and child generated questions. An unseen comprehension is set fortnightly to provide checks and balances against our teaching and learning approaches. Children are listened to read half termly to assess their reading fluency and stamina in both KS1 and KS2.

Our teaching strategies help children ‘work out’ what words and phrases in a text mean to deepen their understanding and precision in their responses. Teachers choose texts with a specific learning purpose in mind which is challenging for the children and may use i-pads to support visualisation and context. There is regular access to non-fiction texts e.g. First News and poetry.

Our children find concepts such as inference difficult to master.  Teachers are supported in this through the systematic approach and pre-planned sequences available including a range of appropriate texts with models. In school, we define inference as being able to find something out by looking at clues and using prior knowledge. This means the ability to go beyond the text based upon personal experience, background knowledge or opinion of the reader.  If the text says, ‘he put on a warm coat, hat and scarf’ the reader infers it is cold.  Text detective approaches which focus on the search for clues, understanding conventions and from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) are a strong feature of our systematic approach to teaching.  Children learn the difference between ‘in text’ or ‘online’ (e.g. retrieval) and ‘in brain’ or ‘off line’ (e.g. inference) methods.

Reading challenge cards based on domains support teachers and children in developing their own questions and precision in their verbal and written responses.  Children are expected to understand the reading domains and this is progressively introduced from EYFS.  In Year 1 children begin to use the Reading Challenge Fans and Reading working wall when they are ready to do so.

KS1 domains: 1a  draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts; 1b identify/explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information ; 1c  identify and explain the sequence of events in texts;  1d make inferences from the text;  1e predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far.

KS2 domains: 2a give / explain the meaning of words in context; 2b retrieve and record information / identify key details from fiction and non-fiction; 2c  summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph; 2d  make inferences from the text / explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text; 2e predict what might happen from details stated and implied; 2f identify / explain how information / narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole; 2g identify / explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases; 2h make comparisons within the text

Teachers choose challenging, informative and enjoyable texts from a variety of sources e.g. a Literacy spine teaching text, Cracking Comprehension, appropriate Head Start/ Guinness World Record/ Read Write Ink, texts, books from The Oxford Reading Tree scheme, Big Cat Collins scheme, a range of authors and cross curricular texts (e.g. from Science or History) enabling children access to a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and play-scripts from across the curriculum.

Each class has access to reading books in the resource area covering all ability ranges. This is resourced from EYFS to Year 6 which includes ‘Project X’ (fiction books as well as non-fiction books) which is a pre-planned to ensure Teaching Assistants are supported when carrying out the intervention.

The books/texts planned for by the teacher are recorded on the individual reading record for Years 2-6 and a group record for KS1, which is individualised where appropriate.

A Planning and Evaluation Reading File is maintained. Reading evaluative records are provided for each child. This highlights each individual child and their specific, personalised gaps in learning. This enables teachers/ TA to tailor questions to their specific area for development. Digital evidence is saved on All Staff for questioning, summarising and reading proficiency.

Independent Reading for Pleasure:

Children have a daily opportunity to read for pleasure, choosing whatever is of interest to them.  This could include their home reader, reading challenge book or a book they have brought from home.  During this session children are listened to read their home reader, on a one to one basis by an adult. Once per half term, the teacher will write a detailed record of the child’s reading ability in the child’s reading record. Where the reading gap needs to be closed or accelerated progress required, children are heard read at least once per week by teaching assistants, teachers, parent volunteers or Year 5/6 Reading Buddies allocated to each class, in addition to the Reading Skills sessions.  We prioritise our Vulnerable Groups.

In Individual Reading, the child practises without the teacher’s help.  The component skills need to be so well practised that they no longer require conscious attention and the reader can concentrate instead on other features.  Motivation for reading is critical. The teacher ensures that each child’s appetite for reading can be satisfied from the variety of books available.

We support children in developing reading stamina so that they become absorbed in a text with complete involvement and high levels of concentration which creates a ‘flow of experience’.  We develop this through: choosing ‘just right’ books; setting individual targets; teaching self-regulation strategies; creating purposeful opportunities and celebrating success.

Read Aloud – Enjoying listening to our Brilliant Books:

Adults read to children across school at the end of every day using a Read Aloud approach.  The teacher will read with expression and explain vocabulary as part of reading without interrupting the flow or enjoyment.  This enables children to:

  • develop a love of reading,
  • listen to an adult read,
  • access to new authors,
  • develop their knowledge of the world in which they live,
  • widen their vocabulary by encountering words they would rarely encounter in everyday speech,
  • feed children’s imagination and curiosity.

Wider Reading Opportunities

This is facilitated by:

  • the Class Library is reviewed and well stocked each year with age and ability appropriate texts. Scholastic book club money further supports each class with additional funding to supplement their libraries.  The library environment shows examples of children’s Reading Journal and domain based work.  It also provides activities children can access independently such as verbal reasoning, analysing and understanding jokes and domain based tasks,
  • the ‘Clarendon Reading Challenge’, incorporating Author Bingo develops a love and enjoyment of reading with a competitive element.  Specific books have been bought to allow children access to important authors, both modern and classic, in fiction and non-fiction texts,
  • Bookflixs is being developed across school (currently in Year 4) enabling children to search for, choose and ask for additional books. Pupil voice dictates which authors different classes would like to supplement their libraries with,
  • class texts are used for whole class study supplied by the Library Service, with whom school has an ongoing relationship and benefit from author events and performance reading; there are opportunities to visit the library,
  • a set of ‘Brilliant Books’ one for each half term, allocated to each class are read daily by the teacher to widen children’s access to authors they would not necessarily choose to read. Some sections of these texts may be studied further as part of writing lessons which wrap around the text,
  • we encourage children to read a wide diet of texts that follow their journey through school.  Our ‘Eleven books before you’re eleven’ are : Alice in Wonderland; Peter Pan, Grimms Fairy Tales, Wind in the Willows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Charlotte’s Web, Chronicles of Narnia, Treasure Island, Secret Garden, Swallows and Amazons, The Harry Potter Series.   Children have been exposed to these by developing their own whole school displays. Books have been chosen to enable engagement by every year and the provision of age appropriate adaptations. These books are read to children as part of the class Brilliant Books with the opportunity for some to be studied,
  • Visiting authors and poets regularly visit school,
  • Children learn to read and tell jokes as this supports their vocabulary understanding, develops their speaking skills, develops their self-confidence and well-being and is a great source of fun.
  • ‘Off by Heart’ enables children to learn ‘Eleven poems before you’re eleven’; these poems are allocated to each class.

Home Reading

We encourage children to read at home, wherever possible to an adult, a minimum of three times per week.

In Year 3 – 6 children will read a real book from the class or school library which is within their book level as assigned by accelerated reader. Once children have read the book they will take a quiz online. In Year 1 – 2 children read books from their book band and their own choices from the library. They are encouraged to maintain an eclectic diet of genres and can read their own books at home. Although ownership of reading rests with children, parents are encouraged to read with their children and make a comment in the home school planner.

Home reading books are organised by coloured book levels that link to the NC levels, teachers assign pupils to a book band through a combination of teacher assessment and test results and an ongoing ‘evaluative record’ in the reading file. Once children are in Year 2, their reading is assessed each half term and there is scope for the professional judgement of teachers to move a child forwards or backwards within the book band scheme.

My Reading Record

Children have ownership of their reading and recording in their ‘My Reading Record’ as soon as they are able to do so independently and at a reasonable speed. Where children are not yet ready to do so e.g. EYFS and Year 1, adults write the children’s comments in reading record.

Whenever children are heard read, or when they participate in an adult guided reading session in a guided reading session, this is recorded in My Reading Record using appropriate stamps (Guided reading, Comprehension, Reading Buddy) together with the text and objective. Children when reading independently write a comment to show how they have engaged with the text using a set of sentence stems to help them.

Teachers write a half termly detailed comment about the child’s reading so that parents are aware of reading objectives and progress being made.

Reading across the curriculum

Teachers plan reading opportunities across the curriculum using reading strategies and skills consistently which travel across all subjects e.g. in Learning Links, studying a non- fiction text about the plague and in Writing, using Wrap around the text and Read, Write, Perform to comprehend, focus on themes, identification of conventions, how feelings of a character change etc to understand the writer’s intended impact on the reader.  These skills can also be practised during a Skills Development Activity session in the Reading Skills carousel

Reading targets can be achieved through the most sensible medium and subject and teachers make a note of where this learning is taking place on their Reading Planning Tracker which is kept alongside the Speaking Planning Tracker in the Reading Planning and Evaluation folder.

Digital evidence

  • Animotos and digital recording of pupil conferencing both group and individual is captured for: Assemblies, English Day activities (e.g. everyone explains, poem in my pocket) and WOW events which include debates.
  • Assessment evidence is also used to demonstrate pupils’ attainment e.g. pupils observed reading aloud, non –fiction knowledge and presenting research; Reading Challenge and adult/child discussions following independent reading; Group ‘book talk’ etc.
  • In EYFS progress is captured through: ‘significant moments’; observational assessments; opportunities for self-initiated learning and enabling environments which provide rich learning.