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Abbotswood Primary School

Together We Aim High, Believe and Achieve

Being a Reader


At Abbotswood, our aim is to equip all children with the necessary skills needed to become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers. We understand the fundamental importance that reading has on a child’s ability to access the wider curriculum, make progress and ultimately succeed in life. It is also our mission and responsibility to expose children to a wide range of literature so that every child can find a genre, theme or topic of interest that keeps them reading. For us, developing a rich reading curriculum involves both an equal balance of learning how to read and Reading for Pleasure (RfP). We also believe that all staff, in partnership with parents, have a vital role to play in contributing to the teaching of reading, providing the best possible foundations to build upon.




In Reception and KS1, we use a systematic programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach the alphabetic code. The children take part in daily grouped 'Speed Sounds' lessons where they are explicitly taught the relationship between letters and sounds (graphemes and phonemes), as well as the skill of blending the individual sounds together to decode words. Please see the 'Phonics' page for further information.


Once children can confidently read single syllable words, they progress onto the next layer of the Read Write Inc. programme where they engage in reading short Ditty stories with a partner, we call this 'shared reading'. This stage allows them to start applying their emerging reading skills in a meaningful and interactive way. As children progress even further on the programme, they begin to take part in the Storybook lessons. The focus of the reading lessons revolve around developing vocabulary, fluency (through rereading), and understanding. 


Please open the attached document to see the five day Storybook plan that we follow. 


This year, we’ve revamped the way we teach reading after phonics (Year 2 and up), by taking on a Shared Reading approach, which is heavily backed by research from experts like Chris Such.


Our overall aim is to get children reading whole books, whilst expanding their vocabulary, taking part in discussions, answering questions, and developing fluency, particularly in Year 2 and lower Key Stage 2. That's why in every shared reading lesson, every child actively engages with their own copy of a carefully chosen termly text.


Our approach features three unique types of reading sessions:

1. Extended Reading

2. Fluency Reading

3. Close Reading 


The balance of these sessions is tailored to the needs of each cohort and developmental stages of our children, with a focus on increasing close reading as fluency improves.


As we continue to refine and expand our 'Shared Reading' curriculum, we invite you to join us on this exciting journey of instilling a lifelong passion for reading. Keep an eye out for more updates!


When children are ready, they take home a fully decodable 'Book Bag Book' which carefully matches their phonic and red word knowledge.


After completing the ‘Book Bag Books’ scheme, children move onto a wider range of higher band books (Stage 8+) from Project X.



In addition to a schemed book, all children take home a book that they have chosen from either the class or school library.


At Abbotswood, we are fully committed to fostering a love for reading among our pupils. We strongly believe that reading is not only a valuable skill but also a powerful tool that can transport us to new places, expand our imaginations, broaden our knowledge about the world, provide insight into others' lives, and help us achieve personal goals. The benefits of reading are truly endless and this is how we promote RfP in our school...


  • ALL classes have a designated 'Read Aloud' time at the end of EVERY DAY - a non-negotiable timetabled slot. 


  • Every classroom has a 'reading area' (class library) with a small selection of carefully chosen books that are available for the children to browse and choose from. These books are refreshed regularly and include a mix of genres that are relevant to the children's current interests and represent the backgrounds of themselves and others (Mirrors and Windows).


  • Children in Reception and KS1 display a termly 'Fab Five' selection of texts that include: three 'page-turners' (fiction books), one non-fiction text and a poetry collection! These texts are read and then reread throughout the term to enable children to become familiar with the new vocabulary and language structures (repeated phrases/language) that they might not otherwise have read for themselves.


  • Classes visit the school library at least once a fortnight and chose a book to take home. Staff closely monitor the 'book choices' and habits (likes, dislikes and interests) of their pupils, particularly those who may not initially display a positive attitude towards reading. By understanding our children as readers, we can make informed recommendations of texts that may ignite their interest and engage their imaginations.


'To be able to put the right book in the right child’s hands at the right moment can change a child’s relationship with reading forever.'   Collins and Safford, 2008


  • Teachers keep up to date with new book releases e.g. through platforms such as Edu Twitter, to enable them to become experts in children’s literature. The reading lead has taken part in a teachers' reading group with OUP and has also completed an online RfP course.  


  • When pupils are ready, time is set aside on the timetable for 'independent reading’. This gives the children a chance to clock in some extra reading miles, helping to build their reading fluency. During this time, teachers will often support individuals, small groups or may just read alongside the children!


  • To promote reading across the curriculum, each year group have a core set of texts which are used to support the content being taught for each of their enquiries. These are referred to in lessons and are accessible for the children to use.


  • Each year we celebrate World Book Day and run events such as story night to promote and celebrate the love of books! We also try to make links with authors (#BookPenPals) to help us promote the LOVE of reading. In 2022-2023, Y1 made links with Daisy Hirst and enjoyed receiving many postcards from her throughout the year. 


  • In school, we encourage all forms of reading - stories, comics, magazines, recipes, non-fiction texts, audiobooks, ebooks, leaflets, football cards - anything and everything! If children love it and it engages them, we promote it!




In YR and KS1, phonological knowledge, word reading and fluency is assessed on a termly basis, using an assessment tool from the Read Write Inc. programme. Children who partake in mini phonics/reading 'keep-up' interventions are assessed sooner to check in on progress. Assessment data is recorded on a tracker and analysed by the reading or phonics lead at the end of each term. All 'Early Readers' are given coloured decodable books that match what they know on the assessment. Children in Year 1 also sit the statutory Phonics Screening Check during the summer term which is retaken in Y2 by those who did not meet the expected standard.


When children finish the Read Write Inc. Programme, teachers continue to assess children's fluency at three different points in the year. This helps teachers keep an eye on those who still need further support with developing age-appropriate fluency. 


Children in YR are also assessed against the ELGs for ‘Comprehension’ and ‘Word reading’ on the EYFS Profile.  


In Y1-6, we assess reading using the school's 'Age Related Expectations' (Reading AREs) 4 times a year. From this, we can see any gaps in learning and prioritise support for the following term. To help inform judgements, children also sit NFER reading tests at various points in the year to monitor their ability to comprehend. 


During term 6, children in Y2 are also assessed against the Reading TAF Framework and Year 6 sit the statutory reading SATs paper.  

Reading AREs


Children identified as needing extra support with their phonics or reading take part in additional phonics and/or extra Reading Practice as early as possible. We strongly believe in the keep up, not catch up approach.


Each class teacher has a priority readers list (lowest 20%) and the aim is for these children to be heard read EVERYDAY.


Read Write Inc. Fast Track Phonics is used in Years 3 and 4 with any children who didn't meet the expected standard in Year 2. 


We also run a number of small group interventions for those struggling with comprehension.


Here at Abbotswood, we are very lucky to have a small, but AMAZING reading army who come in on a weekly basis to hear 1:1 readers. Mr Allen is just one of these key people who is 73(!) and has been giving up his time over the last six years to support with reading in Key Stage 1. We are always looking for new recruits so please do contact us if you have any spare time you can offer. 


Volunteers understand the importance of reading and willingly give up their time to undertake appropriate training with the reading lead before taking on the role. 

To encourage reading at home we use a ‘Reading Karate’ system which starts in Reception and finishes when they leave Year 6. Please see the following attachment (Reading Karate Info) to see how this works. 

Recommended Reading Lists

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS - Story Jar Competition 2024

Reading for Pleasure Celebrations

Visiting Author 2024 with Cathy Farr

Visiting Author Tracy Lear during Autism Awareness Week