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Peak Dale Primary School

Aim High



Reading Intent Snap Shot

At Peak Dale Primary school we believe that reading is an essential life skill, integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. We understand that a good grasp of English is the bedrock of the entire curriculum and that children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to succeed in other areas.  


Our reading curriculum strives to balance the instruction of cognitive reading processes which develop the children’s technical and comprehension skills, and experiences which foster a lifelong love of reading.


Our Reading curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, our book-based English curriculum, guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.


Early Reading and Phonics




Synthetic phonics is the first formal method for the teaching of reading that we use as it provides the foundations required to become a fluent reader. We understand that once children are able to decode fluently, the teaching of comprehension is quicker and more effective as they are able to focus all of their attention to understanding what they read. Daily, fast paced, highly interactive and challenging lessons ensure effective learning and progress.




We primarily use the Little Wandle ( DFE certified)  synthetic phonics programme to teach our children the core skills of segmenting and blending and to start them on their ‘reading journey’. However, we want our children’s experience of Phonics to be immersive and connected, so, in Reception, children are taught the graphemes and their corresponding phonemes in the order that they appear in our book-based Literacy Curriculum (which links with Little Wandle). 


Children in Reception and Year 1 and Year 2 have a daily Little Wandle Phonics session. Our Phonics lessons follow the same format each time, with this repetition helping to embed the learning. The lesson progression goes as follows:

  • Hear the sound

  • Read the sound

  • Review previous sounds

  • Read the words (looking at decodable words as well as practising sight words)

  • Spell with Fred Fingers


In Reception, we work to secure up to Phase 4 of Letters and Sounds . We also regularly identify any graphemes that the children are finding difficult and revisit them, and it is this consolidation that ensures that children’s foundations are firm.


Children who are identified as not being on track to pass the phonics screening check receive additional intervention support, including active phonics sessions and 1:1 or small group sessions focused on their individual areas of need.  


In year 2, children who did not pass the phonics screening check continue to receive daily Little Wandle phonics lessons alongside the Year 1 children. Those Year 2 children who pass the Phonics screening check and are secure with their sounds move onto a spelling-focused Phonics session. This involves them using their Phonics knowledge to write dictated sentences. 


If a child still needs extra Phonics support in KS2, they join the KS1 lessons as a helper, as well as receiving additional intervention support. KS2 staff receive phonics training, ensuring that they have a secure understanding of how Phonics has been taught to the children so that they are able to mirror KS1 pedagogy to support children in their day-to-day lessons.


All children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One receive one-to-one reading; the frequency of which is determined by their needs. In these sessions and for their home reading, children read two books: one phonically levelled text ( directly linked to the sounds taught during the phonics sessions) and one benchmarked book at their decodability level to ensure that their comprehension skills are also developed. 


The reading of common exception words is threaded through phonics sessions and shared and guided reading. To allow for further consolidation, these words are sent home with children to ensure continuous practise. 




Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through periodic phonic assessments and evidence from their reading and writing. Through these, teachers identify the graphemes that need to be addressed which then informs groupings. In June, the national Phonics Screening Check is undertaken to confirm that the children have learned to decode to an age appropriate standard and determines what level of provision they will require the following year. In Key Stage One, regular assessment of the children’s decoding and comprehension is undertaken through PM Benchmarking.


Guided and whole class Reading




From Foundation Stage through to the end of KS2, our Guided and Whole class text analysis sessions balance the teaching of reading between word reading, wider decoding skills, comprehension strategies and response to text, in order to develop fluent readers who understand what they are reading. Comprehension is taught from an early age to prevent comprehension difficulties arising as the language demand of the texts they encounter increases. We believe that it is important that children read for meaning because, not only does a lack of comprehension create a barrier to educational attainment, but also because children who comprehend better are more likely to be motivated readers.



Guided Reading is taught in Reception and KS1 via the Little Wandle Phonics books, providing strong and meaningful links with our Phonics teaching. Children take part in weekly Guided Reading sessions in small groups. These groups, as well as the level and pace of the sessions, are dictated by the children’s ability level. Guided Reading starts in Reception in the Spring term, after children have learnt and embedded all of their initial sounds and first sight words. This model is continued throughout Year 1, as well as Year 2 where it is deemed appropriate. Once the children’s ability has progressed beyond the Grey level Phonics books, they move onto the Reading A-Z Close Reading which is used throughout KS2.


From Year 2 through to Year 6, our focused reading sessions are taught via Reading A-Z Whole class text analysis sessions. These sessions promote careful analysis of text while building the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. In Close Reading, students consider a Key Question as they read passages on a common topic, and then participate in small-group and whole-class discussions. Children complete each of these lessons over the course of a week, in focused 15-minute sessions. 


The key skills focussed on in these sessions cover the objectives set out in the National Curriculum as well as the strategies that evidence based educational research has found make a good reader. Progression is ensured through the strategic planning of reading across the school. 


Day 1) The children are introduced to the extract, read it a few times and then using three different colours annotate using black pen- any background knowledge they can find and link in the text, blue pen- any predictions they can make about the text, green pen- any vocabulary they are unfamiliar with and the meaning of the word.

Day 2) The children re-read the text and discuss questions in pairs/small groups.

Day 3) The children re-read the text for a third time. They answer more in-depth questions independently as a written response. 




Reading judgements are secured through the triangulation of test data, evidence from the pupil and the curriculum. Our outcome data comes from NFER, SATs and Accelerate Reader – both from AR test outcomes and the termly Star Reader tests. Evidence from the pupil is through their Atos/ benchmark book level and where appropriate, pupil profiling. Finally, evidence from the curriculum is gathered from their reading journals, English books and guided reading session notes. Where children are found to be having difficulties with their reading, pupil profiling, which is an in depth comprehension assessment, is used to identify what might be causing the child’s difficulties in understanding the text. During pupil profiling, children will read aloud a short extract of text and answer questions based on it indicating which reading strategies they need to develop. As a result, if a need is identified, the child will receive coaching to address this.

Reading for Pleasure and Home Reading




It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading miles increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables

parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.




Our class libraries allow children to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of books. They are stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction to support every ability and reading choice and encompass the latest reading trends and classic texts that should be part of every child’s primary school experience- building the children’s cultural capital. To give the children a greater sense of ownership of their class libraries they are involved in the  book purchasing process. We ensure that the books they can choose to read independently are culturally diverse. 


To promote parental engagement in home reading, we have created reading bookmarks which focus on a different reading skill each week (including the Totally Pawsome Gang characters who support us with these skills). Information and question stems on the bookmark guide parents with how to address these skills. There is space on these bookmarks for parents to sign every time their child has read and the children are then entered into a reading raffle with the chance to win a book if they read 6 times in a week. 


The frequent reading aloud of good quality picture books, short stories, chapter books, poetry and non-fiction is part of our whole school routine and there is dedicated curriculum time for this. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that children who are regularly read to, do better both socially and academically. 




Whilst children are still on our levelled reading scheme, we use PM Benchmarking each half term to ensure that they are accessing reading books at the correct level for them. Alongside books from our main reading scheme, children from Reception through to KS2 also take home a phonetically decodable book. We are working on grading our class libraries using Atos book levels which will enable the children to select reading books at an appropriate level even when they have progressed beyond our main reading scheme. It is through these processes that we ensure progression in the children’s home reading.


How our book based writing curriculum supports Reading...


The English national curriculum (2014) states that:

‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’

We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.

We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, where children see their cultures, families and relationships reflected, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.




By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. The national curriculum states that:‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach and we would always model the tone and level of formality. This sits comfortably alongside the following statement from the English national curriculum:‘The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.


Coverage and Depth

Through use of The Literary Curriculum we have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2 for Writing and Reading Comprehension, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory 2021 Early Years Framework. In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. This approach supports children to think deeply and develop skills with depth. Where needed, planning sequences should be adapted, personalised and differentiated by the school to ensure all access arrangements can be made to support children with the requirements.