Reading is an essential part of all areas of the curriculum and a crucial life-skill. At South Failsworth Primary, we want our children to read a variety of texts confidently and fluently, developing their range of vocabulary. We strive to develop a lifelong enjoyment of reading, where the children take genuine pleasure from what they read.

Throughout school, children are presented with many opportunities during the school day to read or listen to stories being read aloud. Reading is high priority in our book-led English curriculum. Through high quality texts, we intend to develop a love of reading and allow children to recognise the pleasure they can get from reading. 



How we teach reading at South Failsworth Primary

There is a dedicated phonics leader for the school who oversees that there is a systematic, synthetic approach to the delivery of phonics throughout Foundation and Key Stage 1. Active and engaging sessions are planned for following Red Rose Letters and Sounds, which is a detailed, systematic programme for teaching phonic skills over five phases. Formative and summative assessments ensure that children are tracked and supported with interventions, to enable children to catch up where necessary. We encourage our children to apply their phonic knowledge during all reading and writing activities. Please see our Phonics tab for more information.

Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do at South Failsworth Primary. During the early stages of reading, books are selected in line with the children’s phonic ability. All of our children are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups. Selected texts are written by a range of authors, in order to expose the children to literature they may not naturally choose themselves.

Reception and Key Stage One children engage in small group guided reading sessions and Key Stage 2 children engage in whole class reading sessions. Within these sessions, teachers model reading for decoding, fluency, intonation and expression and children are invited to read aloud as well as independently, following modelled reading. Teachers focus on vocabulary during the teaching of reading and identify specific vocabulary for pre-teaching and exploring during reading sessions. Comprehension skills are developed through high quality discussion with teachers and applied through a range of activities. Reading domains at KS1 and KS2 are used to inform planning, teaching and assessment– both orally and written. Alongside the skills of decoding and comprehension, book talk encourages children to think as a reader and discuss their preferences, likes and dislikes.

Reading Gems 

Reading Gems is a whole school reading strategy that aims to teach children to take pleasure in reading by themselves, listening to someone else read, and sharing texts with adults and other children. Different and specific key skills are taught explicitly to the children through discussions about texts, teacher modelling and opportunities to answer questions independently or with support where needed. Each gem represents a specific skill, all of which are needed to become confident, fluent readers. Children are introduced to the gems/skills during shared reading where appropriate. We know that the teaching of reading should include more than  teaching specific reading skills. It is vital that they develop a love of reading, an understanding of texts, and a wide repertoire of strategies and skills that will last a lifetime. The One Education Reading Gems is an approach to teaching reading which ensures all aspects of reading are embedded across the curriculum. 

Early Years and Key Stage One:

Alongside daily phonics, children in EYFS are immersed in a range of texts on a regular basis. Stories are used as a vehicle to engage children in their weekly topic sessions. Weekly reading sessions involve sharing and discussing texts with an adult in small groups (Guided Reading), opportunities to self-select texts and look at them with a buddy or individually, and individual reading with adult support. This encourages children to enjoy a variety of texts and to practise decoding skills regularly. As the children progress through Year 2, they will move away from small group guided reading sessions, to whole class reading sessions.

The diagram below shows the key skills taught in EYFS and KS1. In addition to the ‘enjoy’ and ‘decode’ umbrella skills that are taught implicitly in every reading session, five other key skills are taught:

Key Stage Two:

As the children progress into Key Stage 2, children begin to develop further reading skills that will assist their understanding of what they read: sequencing skills are developed more fully into summarising, and children learn to relate, explore and compare texts.  Children in KS2 enjoy a daily reading lesson, where books and extracts are explored, linked to specific themes e.g. Black history; Remembrance and awesome women. The text is fully explored, paying attention to developing the children's background knowledge and vocabulary knowledge. This focus on vocabulary is essential so that children can understand what they read. Children practise reading fluency through echo reading and choral reading. The children then engage in a variety of reading comprehension activities which are first modelled by the teacher using the I do/We do/You do approach. Reading gems are referred to where appropriate so that children become aware of all the skills that are needed to become a successful reader.  In addition to our teacher led reading sessions, 1:1 reading  and guided reading is put in place for children that need extra practice. 

This year, we are introducing a weekly 'Book Club' for children where the focus will be on recommending books and authors.



The teaching of vocabulary is important as it is closely connected with reading and writing. Children need to be able to understand words if they are to develop an understanding of what they read. Children learn words by hearing them and seeing them, so speaking and listening is also vital. The more times they see and hear words, the more they can learn. We use a number of practical strategies to help children to develop their vocabulary:

Guided and whole class reading- vocabulary is explicitly taught and discussed in the context of the book being read. Teachers identify certain words and provide direct instruction in word learning strategies (looking at root words, finding synonyms and definitions etc). Children are encouraged to apply this learning in their class discussions and written work.
Class environment- working walls display specific vocabulary that children can refer to. They are kept up-to-date and accessible. We aim to develop a rich language environment.
Word of the Day- each class displays a word of the day which will link to their learning topics. This word is discussed and explored with the children and the children are encouraged to apply these words within their writing.
We create excitement about discovering new words (it is okay not to know what a word means).
Children are encouraged to use new vocabulary accurately within full sentences in their speech as well as their written work.  Ambitious or new vocabulary used by the children is celebrated by the teachers.
Reading at Home

All children take home books that are carefully chosen to match their level of fluency. We also use the Active Learn ‘Bug Club’ online reading scheme to further encourage reading at home. This platform provides the opportunity for the children to read poetry, fiction, non-fiction, comic and graphic novels at the click of a finger, whilst earning coins to spend on collecting stickers and playing games.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is a cornerstone of our approach and the high profile of reading in school is further enhanced by reading enrichment activities we carry out throughout the year. These include:

100 reads awards badges, which are presented in parent/carer assemblies.
Visits from authors and poets throughout the school year.
Years 1-6 walk to the local library for a visit.
Participation in local reading competitions including the library summer reading challenge.
Book fairs.
EYFS invite families into school to share bedtime stories.
KS1 family reading mornings.
KS2 invite families in to read their favourite piece of writing to them.
Celebrations for World Book Day including: teacher swap (swapping teachers to listen to a book being read by somebody else), swapping classes to share a book with a child from a different year group, whole-school book focus for the day and fun dressing up ideas!
Reading buddies- teaming up older and younger classes to read together.
We also have a team of dedicated ‘Reading Champions’ from Years 5 and 6 who help lead reading in school by ensuring that pupil voice is heard and responded to. They meet weekly to discuss improving reading in school as well as upcoming reading projects and events. They also share regular newsletters with parents.


Our Reading Spine

Our 'Reading Spine' is one element of the approach we take to foster a love for reading in our children. The spine is a core of books that create a living library inside our children's minds.  It is a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story.  We have produced our very own 'Reading Spine' for every year group, consisting of fiction, non-fiction and poetry suggestions, so that children have access to these high quality texts. This is additional to the high-quality texts mapped out within our Writing curriculum. Teachers will select a text from our reading spine to read aloud and enjoy with the children throughout the week.  

Here is an example of our reading spine - this is Year 1.

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We aim for our children to have a love of reading and make at least good progress in reading from their last point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in EYFS. Children will use their reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn and access the wider curriculum, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.

What can you do to support your child with reading?

We recognise and understand the importance of reading as a life skill. As adults, we rely on our ability to read for both work and for leisure. Reading underpins and supports everything that children do at both primary and secondary school, and in their future lives. In fact, reading is without doubt one of the most important skills they will learn in school. In light of this, any support you can give your child with reading at home is extremely valuable. In order to become a fluent reader, it is absolutely vital that children read every day. In the same way we as adults recognise the importance of regular exercise to keep fit, regular reading is a necessity for children so that they can be fluent and competent ‘fit’ readers. In order to help your child here are some things you could do at home:

Let them see you read different types of texts so that they recognise the importance of reading                                                                                                   

  • Listen to them reading and talk about what they read
  • Read to them at bedtime – there’s no better end to the day!
  • Discuss words that they come across and what they mean, whether they are in books or when you are out and about          
  • Share books together – take turns reading to encourage them
  • Encourage older siblings to read with their younger siblings
  • Sing nursery rhymes to develop speech and language
  • Go to the local library and choose a book.

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