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Primary School

Making a difference, every day

How we teach reading

Individual reading

In Foundation and Key Stage 1, all children take home at least one fully decodable book, if working within or below phase five phonics, along with a reading book from the school’s colour banded reading books. Once the children make their way through the book bands, they will progress onto ‘free reader’ books which they can choose from the school library. Children who are free readers may also bring a book of their own choice from home with the agreement of their teacher. Children’s individual reading will be monitored by staff regularly.  Each time a child reads, at home or at school, a comment will be written in their reading record.  

The colour banded scheme will be used to support children’s reading development. Children who are not ready to advance to the next band will be encouraged to read more broadly at their appropriate level. We will support and encourage children through these bands but we will not rush or push children through them when their decoding and/or their comprehension skills are not sufficiently developed.

Please see below for the progression through book bands:


 Reading band diag


We have books from a wide range of reading schemes to try and appeal to all readers. Here are some of the book schemes we have in school:

 -       Oxford Reading Tree

-        Bug Club

-        Comics for Phonics

-        Songbirds

-        Project X

-        Big Cat


Guided reading (group and whole class)

We have weekly guided reading sessions to help the children develop their comprehension, vocabulary and love of reading. These sessions may take place in small groups or as a whole class. In group guided reading, the children will all read the same book at a level suited to them. Guided reading sessions will have a learning focus and will be largely discussion based and will feature a lot of comprehension questions. When guided reading is done as a whole class, the children will read through the text (book, image, video etc.) together so that every ability can access it. This will then be followed by discussions and questions about the text and vocabulary.


Class stories

We also encourage all classes to have ‘Story time’ where they made read a picture book or a chapter book over many sessions. During this shared reading, the children can access a text which may be challenging to them individually.  Reading skills and strategies should be clearly modelled, and discussion should help children to deeper understanding of the text. This is an opportunity to discuss the use of language and widen the children’s vocabulary.

With help from EPSPA, we have heavily invested in a whole school reading spine to ensure that all children have access to high quality texts that are suitable for their age group. Each class now has their own reading spine set based on a list created by English expert – Pie Corbett who says:

Imagine a primary school where over 7 or 8 years, children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with around 82 core books. These ‘essential reads’ would be a store of classics, creating a living library inside a child’s mind. This is the ‘Reading Spine’.”

Please click below to see what books are in your child’s reading spine.

Reading at Home and Star Readers

Reading at home is paramount to your child’s reading development and enjoyment. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.


Top tips for reading at home:

We reward children who read four or more times each week through our Star Reader scheme!

Each week, staff will check the children’s reading diaries to see who has read four or more times at home. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your child’s reading book. It could be reading a kindle or tablet, it may be reading a menu at a restaurant or looking at the road signs when on a car journey! All we ask, is that is recorded in the reading diaries (children can write it in themselves if then signed by a parent to acknowledge it).


If a child has read four or more times, they will get a gold stamp in their reading diary and their name will go on a raffle ticket. Every Monday, the raffle tickets are collected in and put into a drawer in the hall. A winner will be chosen from Foundation, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Those winners will get to choose a brand new book as their prize!


Most importantly, we want to encourage children to be readers for life. Please take your child to the library or book shop to make choosing a book meaningful and special to them. Above all, we want to foster a love of reading.