Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass

Within our school you will see a love of books and a love of reading. 

We believe in investing in books -our children have access to a rich variety of quality books from Nursery to Year 6. All children have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, which are used across the curriculum. 

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our classroom.  All classes have dedicated reading areas so children can access a wide breadth of  quality books to read for pleasure and enjoyment.  We have invested heavily into our libraries across our school so all children have a wealth of reading material to enjoy and explore.

Our teachers love to read to our children and we recognise the importance of the teacher as an inspirational role model. 

Teaching a child to read is the greatest gift that we can give a child in our school. Because of this, we see it as a primary purpose of our curriculum. From Early Years to Year 6, we ensure that our children not only learn the skills and knowledge to enable them to read, but also to develop positive life-long dispositions and attitudes towards reading – that will take our children through secondary school and into adulthood. 

Teaching children to ‘decode’ or ‘read’ in its most basic form is a key driver for our Early Years and Key Stage 1 curriculum. Once children can ‘read’, through a robust and systematic approach, the world opens up to them. It is our duty to ensure that our children are ready to embrace both the literary and wider world. We use the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ scheme of learning to deliver our phonics teaching in our school.

Research shows that approximately 90% of the vocabulary that we meet is only ever met through reading it; reading high quality texts, coupled with an interesting and knowledge rich wider curriculum, is key to securing our children’s confidence and mastery of the English language. 


Within our broader English Curriculum planning, our intent for reading is clear: 

  • Carefully chosen, imaginative and rich texts are at the heart of our English curriculum. These promote deeper thinking, moral values, personal development and a love of reading. It is through these texts we expose our children to excellent models of language.
  • We want our children to appreciate, access and comprehend all that Key Stage 2 has to offer by ensuring children become fluent and age appropriate readers across Early Years and Key Stage 1. We want our children to develop as readers by ensuring their vocabulary grows and develops.
  • We want our children to develop the necessary decoding skills so word reading fluency is the primary driver of the year 1 reading curriculum – so they are ready to gain greater reading comprehension skills as their decoding secures. The vast majority of children reach expected standard in year 1 phonics 

Our approach ensures that our children meet the national curriculum expectations for Reading:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

Implementation – what happens in our school?

Children in the EYFS are taught Communication and Language, and Literacy, through activities planned according to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and Development Matters guidance.

In EYFS and Year 1, phonics lessons are taught daily. This is based upon the Letters and Sounds revised publication. We use The Little Wandle Programme and approach to teaching phonics. The children are taught to read a range of materials fluently and with understanding, for enjoyment and information. Our reading programme ensures that children are taught to use a range of strategies, e.g., phonics, word recognition, use of context – to help them make sense of what they read.  

We believe it is essential for children to read as wide a range of literature as possible so we use a range of high quality texts including those within reading schemes, fiction and non-fiction texts, poetry and plays. We place a strong emphasis on reading comprehension and the children are taught how to read for meaning. Parents are encouraged to take an active part in helping their child/ children to learn to read.


We believe strongly in the teaching of phonics – helping children decode words is an essential skill for future success. As children develop as readers we have to teach them additional skills.

When we teach children to read we have to teach as many methods as possible so they become skilled and proficient. These focus on two main aspects:

  •         Language Comprehension
  •         Word Recognition


Word Recognition

Effective reading develops a child’s:

  1. a) awareness of the sounds in words,
  2. b) knowledge of how these sounds are encoded and decoded by the alphabet, and
  3. c) automaticity with frequently occurring words  – reading words instantly by becoming familiar with them

Language Comprehension

1) Background knowledge –

broadening children’s experiences so when they read about topics they have some understanding. Readers rely on background knowledge to attend to and make sense of what they are reading. When a reader has background knowledge of a subject to draw on, they are more likely to find the text more interesting, easier to remain focused on, and less taxing on their hard-working brains.

2) Vocabulary –

An extensive and rich vocabulary enables readers to make sense of what they are reading. Being able to decode words is one thing; being able to match that string of sounds to a thought, idea or concept is another. The richer a reader’s listening and spoken vocabulary, the easier they will find it to read through texts that contain words they have not seen before. Each high quality text has been chosen to develop the three tiers of children’s vocabulary.  Tier three vocabulary is also mapped out in the medium term plans for all foundation subjects. 

3) Language Structures (syntax, semantics…)

Children acquire varied syntax structures over time, through meaningful exposure to, and discussion of, language being spoken, read to them and presented to them in text. The greater and richer the exposure, the better they will be able to read and understand texts they are reading.

4) Verbal Reasoning (inference, metaphor…)

Reading is not restricted to merely decoding and comprehending the words on a page. The reader must look beyond the words to infer meaning from what is being said, what is not being said and how it is being said). We help children by talking  with them about the meaning of words, phrases, tones of voice and even body language.

5) Literary Knowledge (print concepts, stories…)

We help our children by exposing them to a variety of stories, stories with different themes, from different cultures and for different purposes. When a pupil is able to connect something, they are reading to a story/text/theme/purpose they have already internalised, they will be better able to understand and stick with it through challenges.

The link between reading and writing is strongly emphasised. The school believes that there is a close relationship between handwriting and spelling.

Our approach to reading follows these core principles:

  1. Specific and explicit teaching of reading and skills.
  2. Promotes rich and varied vocabulary and a deeper understanding of text.
  3. Engages, provokes and stimulates deep thinking.
  4. Provides clear insight into children’s progress in reading.
  5. Requires children and staff to deepen the quality of the level of questioning and discussion

Books on reading schemes throughout school are banded into colours. Early reading focuses on phonics and all books the children read are matched to their phonic ability. Children will work at their own pace through the bands only moving on when teachers feel they are ready to progress. Movement between bands is not only dependent on the ability to decode, but also on being able to show an appropriate comprehension of texts they meet.  

As children move through EYFS and KS1, they develop their skills in decoding. By the time they reach KS2 most children have mastered their phonic skills and the balance moves towards making meaning from the text and developing fluency. The expectation is for every child to read to an adult at home every day for 10 to 20 minutes. 

Every new genre begins with a whole class guided reading session focussing on orientation of the text and vocabulary. Children are given the opportunity to read the text aloud to develop their fluency.  Teachers use carefully chosen quality texts that support the children’s learning in other subject areas. The texts act as the stimulus to teach pupils to speak and write fluently, so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Children of all abilities are immersed in high quality literature.

Children will see the teacher modelling reading, in order to learn how to add vocal expression, punctuation and dramatic effect to their own reading. This takes place in all classes from Foundation Stage to Year 6. During class reading, time is given so that children experience a love of books and a rich language can be appreciated by all.

Children in Key Stage 1 will read their reading book to an adult in school twice a week and children in Key Stage 2 once a week. 

When children can decode confidently we use Reading Plus to support our pupils so they become accomplished fluent readers. The Reading Plus adaptive assessment, provides a fast and effective way to determine pupils’ reading proficiency and ensure they are on a personalised learning path to success. Every pupil is placed at their own level based on assessment data, and continually adapting to ongoing progress. Reading plus allows children to develop their fluency, stamina and motivation. Reading Plus offers pupils the ability to understand the world around them through texts that reflect their own lives and experiences, and texts through which they can view the lives and experiences of others. We offer a pupil-centred experience, where pupils choose the texts they want to read from eight high-interest categories that support the acquisition of knowledge in curriculum areas of STEM, social science, civics, and literature.

Having engaging and challenging core texts allows pupils to develop a love of literature and read for enjoyment. Ensuring all pupils develop all the skills of language are essential not only in order to access the rest of the curriculum but also to participate fully as a member of society and ultimately positively impact on their future life chances.