English: Reading

The teaching of reading at Woodhouse Primary School

There are two dimensions to the teaching of reading; word reading (decoding and phonics) and comprehension (listening and reading). DARTS (Directed Activities Related to Texts) sessions are additional to English lessons, enabling staff and pupils to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and engage in high quality discussions in small groups. Most English units will be based on a variety of high quality texts and where necessary, links to reading comprehension and word reading will be made in English lessons too. These include a range of genres such as fairy stories, traditional tales, predictable phrase books, stories with recurring language, myths and legends, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, books from other cultures and traditions, poetry, play scripts and non-fiction.

A brief overview of the teaching of reading across school


Daily story time

Weekly small group Guided Reading session

Weekly word box 1:1

Weekly 1:1 reading

Daily phonics sessions

Book based units in Literacy


Regular 1:1 reading with an adult

Daily phonics sessions

Weekly small group Guided Reading session

Spring term onwards – weekly DARTs session focusing on reading comprehension using the Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension. This begins with comprehension based around pictures and then moves on to those with texts.

Book based units in Literacy


Weekly 40 minute DARTs session focusing on reading comprehension including ‘Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension’ texts

Small group Guided Reading or 1:1 session with an adult

Book based units in Literacy

Fortnightly ‘reading buddies’ peer reading


Weekly 60 minutes DARTS session focusing on reading comprehension including ‘Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension’ texts

Fortnightly English mentoring – listening to children 1:1

Book based units in Literacy


Weekly 60 minutes DARTS session focusing on reading comprehension including ‘Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension’ texts

Fortnightly English mentoring – listening to children 1:1

Book based units in Literacy


Weekly 60 minutes DARTS session focusing on reading comprehension including ‘Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension’ texts

Fortnightly English mentoring – listening to children 1:1

Book based units in Literacy


Weekly 60 minutes DARTS session focusing on reading comprehension including ‘Rigby Star Cracking Comprehension’ texts

Fortnightly English mentoring – listening to children 1:1

Book based units in Literacy

Accelerated Reader

Reading in Reception

In Year R, we use the 'Letters and Sounds' scheme of work which is a systematic synthetics phonic approach to reading and writing. The resources we use are mainly based around the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme although resources and activities are adapted to suit the specific needs of pupils or year groups. Daily phonics sessions allow pupils to learn how to segment and blend using their phonic knowledge which is then consolidated during both teacher led and independent activities which appear in the areas of continuous provision. Each week, pupils will be assessed using a ‘word’ box which links to their current level of phonics based around ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Children are exposed to a variety of stories during their daily story time, including fiction, non-fiction, nursery rhyme and poetry. To develop their comprehension skills, pupils will also take part in weekly group reading sessions with an adult. We are in the process of establishing listening stations which will allow pupils to independently listen to stories for pleasure.

The two main reading schemes used are Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby Star which include simple captions, short stories, traditional tales and non-fiction texts. On entering Reception, children will read the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ Stage 1 books (grey wordless books) in order to learn the conventions of reading: holding the book correctly, turning pages and talking about the illustrations. As the children become confident with Phase 2 of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and are able to blend to read words, they will take home a reading scheme book which is mainly phonetic and is matched to their current phonic abilities, allowing them to practise the skills they have been introduced to.

To ensure children develop reading strategies linked to vocabulary, structure and grammar within sentences as well as developing reading comprehension skills, pupils will also take home a book which includes many high frequency words and words which are not decodable. The children are introduced to the strategies:

  • Does it look right?
  • Does it sound right?
  • Does it make sense?

Alongside this children will take home a reading book from the ‘Class Library’ each week. In doing this, we aim for the children to share books with their parents and focus on the conventions of reading and also the story and story language.

Reading in KS1

The teaching of phonics continues throughout KS1 and decoding skills are taught alongside reading comprehension skills.

In Year 1, pupils continue to have daily phonics sessions to consolidate Phase 3 and 4 letters and sounds as well as being introduced to the phase 5 alternative phonemes for each sound e.g. ‘ai’ can also be ‘ay’ and ‘a-e’. To develop their comprehension skills, pupils continue to have weekly Guided Reading sessions with a teacher and in the Spring and Summer terms are introduced to formal whole class DARTs sessions. Initially, these focus on comprehension from pictures (e.g. How many people can you see? Where do you think they are going?) and this then builds up to comprehension from short texts.

In Year 2, pupils revisit phase 5 phonics during the Autumn term during English lessons, as well as having a weekly DARTs session focusing on reading comprehension questions using short texts. Pupils who require additional phonics sessions are provided with these during intervention sessions. Reading comprehension is also explored within English lessons linking to the text the children are currently reading. 15 minute Guided Reading sessions also take place regularly to listen to 1:1 readers or to focus on the fluency and comprehension of specific groups of children.

Reading in KS2

In KS2, where pupils' decoding skills are more advanced, there is more of a focus on developing children's comprehension skills. Weekly DARTs sessions focus on reading comprehension skills where pupils explore short texts and answer a variety of comprehension questions. Reading comprehension is also explored within English lessons linking to the text the children are currently reading. English mentoring sessions are held where teachers can read 1:1 with pupils and discuss the choices children are making when choosing books to ensure they read a broad and balanced range. Through regular assessment, teachers identify pupils who require additional phonics sessions, reading comprehension input or 1:1 reading and these children are provided with additional support.

Reading Scheme

A reading scheme, which comprises of mainly Oxford Reading Tree books, runs throughout the school. In the lower levels, some books focus on decoding whereas others focus on comprehension. The scheme provides pupils with the opportunity to read a broad range of fiction and non-fiction books. Pupils are provided with a reading stage level ranging from 1-20 which, through ongoing teacher assessment, is changed in line with the progress the individual child is making. We believe that it is beneficial to repeat books in order to encourage fluent and well phased reading and make it clear that it is not a race to get through the levels. Each pupil has a reading packet which contains their reading book and a reading diary for parental comments. We encourage children to change their books between 1-3 times per week and pupils in KS2 are invited to change their own book to develop their independence when selecting books from the reading library. In Year 6, pupils take part in the Accelerated Reader scheme which promotes children's independent reading and comprehension. On completion of a book, children take a quiz on a computer which provides them with instant feedback. Feedback from pupils shows that this scheme has a positive impact on their motivation to read.

Parental Involvement

There are many ways we involve parents in their child’s reading including a reading diary where they are invited to make comments based on their child’s ability to read fluently and with good understanding. Strategies for supporting children are also outlined in the diary so that parents can make the most of the time spent reading with their child. There are several meetings for parents throughout the year including the Reception phonics meeting, the Year 1 phonics and reading meeting as well as the Year 2 to Year 6 meeting which focuses on the comprehension skills required in Year 2 and KS2 as well as looking at examples of the statutory KS1 and KS2 SATs reading papers.

Reading for pleasure

To promote a love of reading, each class has a library where children can select a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books to read independently. In KS2, classes are provided with a weekly copy of the ‘First News’ newspaper. Each class has a class reader book which usually changes each half term and allows children to be exposed to a variety of rich texts and a range of authors to develop their vocabulary and encourages them to enjoy listening to stories for pleasure. Whole school events such as Roald Dahl Day, World Book Day and National Poetry Day are celebrated as well as visits to the local library in Key Stage 2. Each year group has a system in place to encourage frequent book changing and reading at home and this can include rewards such as bookmarks, golden tickets and stationery.

50 Book Challenges

To further expand our children's exposure to quality literature, we have three 50 Book Challenges that each span two year groups. Each challenge contains a huge range of specially-chosen authors, genres and vocabulary designed to introduce children to the most moving, exciting and entertaining books aimed at their specific age group. Included in the vast collection are classic books from our literary heritage, modern books from the most up-to-date authors and contemporary favourites to help your child further develop a love of reading. Who will be the first to read them all?

Year 5-6 50 Book Challenge Year 3-4 50 Book Challenge Year 1-2 50 Book Challenge

Vulnerable learners

To support children who require additional reading support, interventions take place across the school including phonics interventions linked to ‘Letters and sounds’, individual 1:1 reading with an adult, pre-reading texts which will be used in Reading or Writing lessons, Better Reading as well as Read Write Inc. Echo reading is another strategy used to support vulnerable learners who require additional support with their decoding. This then enables all children to access comprehension activities.

Reading Overviews

Our Poem for You.docx Year 3 Reading objectives Year 4 Reading objectives Year 5 Reading objectives Year 6 Reading objectives Year R Reading objectives Year 1 Reading objectives Year 2 Reading objectives

Reading Progression

Reading progression


Supporting Your Child's reading

At Woodhouse Primary School, we aim for all our children to develop confidence and independence when learning how to read and to develop a love of books. We endeavour to provide them with many opportunities to read a wide range of reading material throughout their time with us, building on skills as they develop as readers. There are many simple things that you can do at home to help your child to develop skills and become a confident reader (as shown in the leaflet below). 

Both in KS1 and KS2, logging comments in your child's reading diary is a useful form of communication with teachers in regards to reading. There are some suggested comments included in the attached leaflet which may help you when doing this. If you child reads a book of their own choice which does not appear on the school reading scheme, this is also something that can be recorded in the reading diary as it helps to build up a picture of your child as a reader.

Reading Diary