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Teaching Reading


Statement of Intent

At Heap Bridge Primary School, we are committed to teaching our pupils to become skilled readers who develop a comprehensive understanding of words, language and texts as they move through school. We believe that all our children can become fluent readers.

It is our intent that every child will learn to read independently, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and, by the time pupils leave at the end of Key Stage 2, they will have acquired the reading knowledge and skills needed for the next phase of their education. We recognise reading as a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency and motivation. By securing these key skills and the ability to apply them independently, pupils will be able to embed their knowledge and access new learning opportunities across the curriculum as well as develop a love of reading and desire to read for pleasure.

We know that reading has many other benefits that are of great value to pupils too. Reading improves knowledge of vocabulary; leads to deeper comprehension; develops critical thinking; improves memory; improves analytical skills; builds confidence; helps you to socialise; improves writing skills; improves focus and concentration; makes you more empathetic; develops emotions; develops your imagination and has many health benefits including relieving stress.

At Heap Bridge, we prioritise reading for all our children, in both an academic and non-academic sense. Pupils learn to appreciate the pleasures of reading, view reading as an opportunity to explore their interests, read widely for a variety of purposes from enjoyment to gathering information, become confident with reading a range of genres and develop this vital life skill.





As teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support all staff, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.

We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.   The Little Wandle programme ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. They learn to read and then read to learn. Through using a range of strategies, our aim is to ensure that pupils develop a love of reading so that they can read for purpose and for pleasure. We provide pupils with a range of strategies in order to do this.


Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression.
  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs (grapheme-phoneme correspondences), and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
  • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily ‘Keep-up’ lessons

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 
  • If any child in Years 3 - 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Teaching reading: Reception and Year 1

  • In Reception and Year 1, we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week for 20 minutes. These:
  • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children;
  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
  • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
  • decoding
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text. Questioning is carefully linked to the reading content domains. Our Heap Bridge KS1 Content Domain Question Stems document (see download folder at end of page) supports all staff in developing effective questioning within the comprehension sessions.
  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.

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Guided Reading and Development of Comprehension Skills

In Years 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading through reading practice sessions for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. Once the children are fluent and confident decoders we use the Reading and Modelled Practice (RAMP) approach to teaching reading.  This is a guided reading strategy produced by the Arch Alliance English Hub and based on the EEF materials ‘Improving Literacy in KS2’.  It incorporates all of the following elements within a 30-minute session:


Activate Prior Knowledge:

Within this first section, questions and links are made to the children’s prior learning. What have the children learned already? Can they think back to the topic taught in Year 2 on…? What do they know already about the character? The children have the opportunity to look back at what they have read already and are encouraged to link it to their own feelings or lives.


Predicting involves previewing the text to anticipate what may happen next. The children are taught to use the information from the text and their prior knowledge to make logical predictions before and during reading.


Although children can be taught to identify difficult words and work through them, it is much more difficult for some to recognise unclear sentences, passages, chapters or ideas. Clarifying helps the children to monitor their own understanding and identify any problems in comprehending portions of test. Pupils are encouraged to seek clarification from any aspect of the test they are reading e.g. clarify meaning, language structures, authorial intent etc.   


Good readers ask questions throughout the reading process but formulating questions is a difficult and complex task. In RAMP, the children learn to generate their own questions about a text’s main ideas, important details and about textual inferences. Pupils are trained to ask themselves why-questions while reading and they are taught the meaning of question words ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’ etc.


Cohesion looks at repetition of key words and phrases, pronoun use, transitional expressions, paragraph transition etc. The stylistic devices used by the author in grammar can very often determine the style of the writer overall. By determining how the text works grammatically it enables the children to see why the author has chosen to write in that style and even better allows the reader to apply this in their own writing. 


Before we ask our pupils to make inferences from texts, we ensure they can make inferences from pictures. Adults model inferencing by ‘thinking aloud’ their thoughts as they read aloud to the children. Adults ask themselves questions to demonstrate how they monitor their own comprehension and talk through the thinking process that result in drawing an inference. And, as noted above in the ‘Questioning’ section, the children are trained to ask themselves why-questions while reading and they are taught the meaning of question words ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’ etc.


To summarise effectively the children must recall and arrange in order only the important events in a text. This is difficult for children to do at first so adults model what to include, what is relevant or important. Summarising helps readers to construct an overall understanding of a text, story, chapter or paragraph. Putting a summary into their own words requires information to be understood and transformed. A good summary takes into account what has been read before and shows how the new information has developed the reader’s understanding.  As this is showing what a pupil understands it is a valuable assessment point. 


This can be incorporated into the summarising section of RAMP. It enables the children to link their own understanding to the text being read. It is more likely that deeper learning and understanding are established if the children have formed an emotional link with the text.  Future texts may also link to this text and therefore provide a bridge to link future reading materials.

RAMP teaches our children all the strategies that we, as adults, use as readers and also provides them with an opportunity to read and discuss a wide range of texts and genres.  The focus of guided reading sessions is informed by up-to-date assessment information and is carefully linked to the reading content domains and each year group’s reading objectives and assessment overviews.   Our Heap Bridge KS1 and KS2 Content Domain Question Stems document (see download folder at end of page) support all staff in developing effective questioning within the RAMP and comprehension sessions.

In addition to RAMP, Prim-Ed Comprehension cards, Literacy Box resources and CGP materials are used to supplement and support the teaching of comprehension, with a particular focus on written responses to comprehension.

Each week in school, all children access the following phonics, guided reading and comprehension sessions as a minimum:


Additional opportunities for reading and enjoying texts in school include shared class texts, daily story times, quiet reading time, KS2 reading buddies (sharing books with children in EYFS and KS1), 1:1 reading with an adult and library time.



Home reading / Encouraging Parental Involvement

We work in partnership with parents, so pupils develop a love of books and reading. Daily reading at home and at school ensures children make good progress in developing reading skills, whatever their age. Reading widely increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.


Parents can log in to their child's GoRead Account here


Parents are continuously encouraged to be fully involved in their child’s reading development throughout school. When their child is in Reception, parents are invited to attend a Phonics and Early Reading Information Evening, which outlines how phonics is taught in school, the importance of correct pronunciation of phoneme in order to develop blending and segmenting skills. The meeting also provides resources and advice so parents can fully support their child at home. This is followed by further information evenings for parents as their child moves through school i.e. parent meetings about supporting their child through the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, developing their child’s comprehension skills.

We expect pupils in every year group to be reading regularly at home. In Reception and KS1 the children should be reading daily (see Homework Policy) to an adult, who will then record it in their child’s reading record. Reading records communicate reading progress between home and school, and include teacher’s and parent’s feedback. In addition to their reading books, which are matched closely to their reading ability, children also have a Bookflix book to share with adults at home. In EYFS/KS1, and for some pupils further up the school, they will have key sight vocabulary to practise regularly at home.

In Reception and Year 1 home reading enables the children to practice what they have been learning in their phonics lessons and practice reading sessions:

  • Decodable reading practice books are available as e-books at home to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • Carefully matched alternative phonics books are also taken home. These books are linked closely to the phonic progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and are fully decodable up to the end of Phase 5.
  • Reading for pleasure books (Bookfiix) also go home for parents to share and read to children.
  • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
  • Each child has a phonically decodable book and some have a reading for pleasure book, which they take home and are expected to read with an adult.
  • The children have an allocated reading day when their books are returned to school and changed on a weekly basis.

Once children are fluent decoders (Year 2 onwards) home reading is tracked using the Oxford Reading Stages and there is a more flexible approach to changing books.  Children can change their book any day, once they have finished reading it at home.  Progress through the home reading scheme is tracked and monitored on a daily basis so that all children change their book at least once a week.  Children, in upper KS2, reading beyond the home reading scheme may take longer to read a book due to its length.  

As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.   However, it is still expected that adults at home will sign the reading record in order to indicate that they are monitoring their child’s reading. 

Reading for Pleasure


‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our reading for pleasure pedagogy.

  • Teachers promote reading for pleasure in their classrooms by having a reading area with age-appropriate texts that pupils can access at all times.
  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Heap Bridge and our local community as well as books that open windows into other communities, worlds and cultures.
  • We encourage parents to read to their child, particularly when books are beyond their decoding skills, as this exposes pupils to new and varied vocabulary.


  • Each year group is actively encouraged to explore and read books from their ‘Bookflix’ text list. These titles have been carefully selected to ensure a range of genres are provided for within age appropriate high quality texts. A range of incentives and rewards are also used throughout school, including Bronze, Silver and Gold Bookflix certificates and loyalty cards (8 books to achieve each award). Parents and pupils have access to these lists and are actively encouraged to review and comment on the books through their class ‘Bookflix’ pages on our  Blog.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Reception and KS1, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed with additional titles to the Bookflix list.
  • Each child (and their) family is encouraged to visit the local library on a regular basis (through the school newsletter).
  • Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).
  • In addition to the class libraries/reading areas and story time sessions, children can access the school library to either borrow texts to read in school, borrow texts to take home and share with their family or just to spend time reading in and enjoying the library environment.

Download our year group BOOKFLIX titles here!



Recording what we read for Pleasure

We also understand that many of our children will seek out and enjoy reading beyond our Bookflix titles and we want to encourage our pupils to read as wide a variety of material as possible. This is why we have introduced the GoRead App across Year 2 and KS2. The Go Read App is used to record all the books and or material that pupils read for pleasure. Parents can support their child and school by encouraging the recording of reading their child engages with at home. It may be one of our Bookflix titles, it may be some research on the internet, a comic or graphic novel or it may be an instructional guide for a weekend walk or putting some furniture from Ikea together. Whatever the content, you can record it on the GoRead App.


Parents can log in to their child's GoRead Account here







Adults in school carry out both formative and summative assessments on pupils’ reading throughout the year:

    • Daily phonics assessments within Reception and Year 1 to identify children needing ‘Keep-up’ support.
    • Weekly assessments in the phonics review lesson to identify gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
    • Every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • Termly phonics assessments in EYFS/KS1 to monitor phonics progress. This is monitored by class teachers and the SLT, in order to identify and support pupils who are not making sufficient progress. (All children continue to learn the next phase of phonics together but some then work in small groups to revisit previous learning to ensure sounds are embedded for decoding).
    • Children in Year 1 sit the statutory National Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.  Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
    • The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker is scrutinised by the SLT to identify and narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and ensure any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
    • Children in Year 2 to 6, who still access phonics lessons, are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments.
    • Reading books are tracked using the Heap Bridge ‘Progression in Phonics/Book Stages’ tracker.
    • Once children are fluent decoders, reading books are tracked through the Oxford Reading Stages.
    • A3 reading assessment trackers (see Appendix 3) are used in Years 1 – 6 to track ongoing progress in reading and comprehension across the year.  The trackers carefully link year group reading objectives and Key Stage content domains within our guided reading or RAMP model to teaching reading. 
    • NfER tests are used on a termly basis in Year 1 – 6.   The NfER Test Analysis Tool is used to evaluate pupil progress through question level analysis, attainment comparison and individual progress scores and reading ages.  The results of these tests are analysed by the class teacher, subject lead and senior leadership team in order to identify areas of the curriculum that need further work, and individual pupils who may need additional support.
    • End of Key Stage standardised assessment tests (SATs) are administered in the summer term of Year 2 and Year 6.



Monitoring and Evaluation

Leaders and external visitors including Governors, regularly moderate data and teacher assessments to ensure all pupils are making at least expected progress from their individual starting point and that where pupils are not doing this, effective and impactful strategies are put in place in a timely manner.

English lessons and guided reading sessions are monitored by the SLT to ensure quality teaching across the school. Feedback is given to individual teachers and further training and support is provided when needed.  



What do we do for pupils who are making below expected progress in reading?

Comparative findings indicate that, on average, reading comprehension approaches appear to be more effective than Phonics or Oral language approaches for upper primary and secondary pupils, for both short-term and long-term impact. However, supporting struggling readers is likely to require a coordinated effort across the curriculum and a combination of approaches. No particular strategy should be seen as a panacea, and careful diagnosis of the reasons why an individual pupil is struggling should guide the choice of intervention strategies.’ Education Endowment Foundation.

At Heap Bridge Village Primary School, we take a coordinated approach to supporting our weaker readers. Both word reading and language comprehension are assessed and, by using The Simple View of Reading (Gough and Tumner 1986), we quickly identify children’s reading difficulties. 


The Simple View demonstrates that reading difficulties fall into three basic types:

  • Weak Language Comprehension / Strong Words Reading— Adequate decoding skills and weak language comprehension skills. The extreme example of this profile is a hyperlexic student (a student with severe language comprehension issues and excellent decoding skills).
  • Weak Word Recognition— Adequate language comprehension and weak decoding skills. The extreme example of this profile is a dyslexic student (a student with language comprehension abilities that are at least average and severe decoding difficulties)
  • Weaknesses in Both Areas– Weak decoding skills and poor understanding of what they have read.

See Lindsay’s Pickton’s Guide to Effective Guided Reading for strategies for supporting children with reading difficulties:

In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we have a member of staff who tracks all pupils in their phonological development from EYFS through to Year 3. Those children who are not making expected progress take part in additional phonic intervention sessions daily. They are expected to remain in the main class phonic teaching sessions so that they are being exposed to the higher phonic phases being taught whilst spending longer on the lower phases to make sure that they fill in any gaps in their learning. High frequency words are key in helping children develop their reading skills. Children who are struggling to read have extra sessions with support staff learning high frequency words to make sure that they are able to access reading texts.

In Key Stage 2, all year groups have a ‘Priority Reader’ list. Children are listened to daily by teachers, support staff or volunteers. In addition, children who are not making expected progress in their reading comprehension, work in small intervention groups with a teacher or Teaching Assistant to develop skills linked to the relevant content domains.  This is a focus on comprehension skills.  In Key Stage 2, TAs are trained in delivering interventions through Project X CODE and Better Reading Support Partners.     

Reading KS1

Reading KS2

The combined impact of all strategies implemented throughout school from Reception to Year 6, means that Heap Bridge pupils finish Key Stage 2 with the skills, confidence and enjoyment of reading needed in order for them to succeed in the next stage of their education and to support them in their future adult life.

 A copy of our policy for reading and other subject specific documents can be found in our reading One Drive folder below: