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GrayswoodChurch of England
Primary School

Our Learning



At Grayswood, reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that reading is a fundamental life skill that will enable children to flourish and equip them to communicate effectively in the wider world. We strive to develop a deep love of reading which continues well beyond the primary years. The more a child reads, the more proficient they will become; therefore it is critical that they read widely and regularly both at school and at home.

We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Develop a life-long passion of reading and books
  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed
  • Become independent, fluent and reflective readers who read aloud with expression and confidence
  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts
  • Develop appreciation of the work of different authors, poets and illustrators
  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Apply their reading skills to access all areas of the curriculum and the wider world

Implementation- Reception and KS1

Phonics is taught daily in Reception and Year 1. Children make a strong start in Reception, with phonics teaching beginning in week 3 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress and every teacher and LSA in our school has been trained to teach reading to ensure consistency in the delivery of phonics lessons and to lower children’s cognitive load.

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 support children’s fluency. Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 Grapheme-Phoneme-Correspondences (GPCs) and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

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 and above 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 Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. 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
  • 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 and comprehension
  • in Reception these sessions start in week 3. 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

Each child reads a decodable book which has been specifically matched to their phonetic knowledge. Once it has been read three times in school and the children are able to read it confidently with fluency and prosody, the decodable reading practice book is taken home to allow success to be shared with parents and carers. We value reading for pleasure highly and, in addition to the decodable phonics book, each child also takes home ‘sharing books’ for parents/carers to share and read to children. We hold a phonics workshop at the start of each year to support parents in their understanding of early reading.

The children at Grayswood CE Primary School are exposed to high quality, vocabulary rich texts each day during story times. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including texts that reflect the children at Grayswood and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.

Further information on the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme can be found on our Phonics and Early Reading Curriculum page.

Implementation- Years 2-6

At Grayswood, we follow a whole class approach to Guided Reading. We have explicit Guided Reading lessons daily lasting approximately 30 minutes. Within these sessions, children continue to build on their reading fluency and prosody whilst also extending their comprehension skills. We ensure children learn comprehension strategies and can respond to a variation of texts. We focus our learning on these particular skills:

  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Retrieval
  • Summarising

Key texts are appropriately chosen within each year group to interest and challenge the children. Where possible, teachers strive to link Guided Reading texts to current topics to help promote current learning and vice versa, however we do not make tenuous links or links to texts which are not of a high quality. Books are chosen to help build subject knowledge and vocabulary and reading for pleasure.

Class reads

Each class has a class read, read daily to them by the teacher. The expectation is that children will hear stories for pleasure, be engaged and develop their interest in a range of different genres. The teacher will also model using expression and intonation to bring the text to life.

Visitors and parent helpers

We encourage visitors - local authors or members of the community - into school. The children benefit hugely from hearing stories read for pleasure by people from outside school. Rev Fi Gwynn also comes into school every week to deliver an assembly which is always based around a story.

Parents are regularly welcomed into school to spending time with the children, hearing them read and discussing the content of the book.

Transferrable skills

Teachers encourage the children to apply the skills they learn in reading sessions into all areas of the curriculum. This could be through reading content on the board, using subject specific texts, research-based tasks, comprehension exercises etc. Similarly, knowledge and understanding developed in subjects such as RE, Science and Humanities can also be used to support understanding in reading.

Reading at home

Daily reading at home is encouraged and promoted on a regular basis. Following on from the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, children in Year 2 upwards work through the school reading scheme. The scheme is comprised of levelled books that match a child’s word and comprehension level. Pupils take home a book that is matched to their independent reading level, ensuring that fluency and understanding of words is developed. Children are encouraged to independently change their book as often as they need to. When the children have completed the reading scheme, they are able to bring in books from home, choose books from their class libraries and or the school library to read independently. Teachers give the children book recommendations and class libraries are equipped with a range of authors, genres and element of challenge.


Two school libraries available for the children. KS1 children are regularly encouraged to take home sharing books from our KS1 library and all children across the school have access to our main library. The library is timetabled so each class has the opportunity to visit and borrow books. Our library has a huge range of material covering a variety of authors and genres, fiction and non-fiction.


Children who need extra support to develop their reading are supported in and outside the classroom.  Through ongoing formative assessment and knowing the needs of the children in their class well, teachers identify any children who may need targeted support at an early stage. Intervention is put into place to support those children. Examples of intervention which may take place are regular daily reading, targeted support in class by the class teacher or LSA, Little Wandle Rapid-Catch up, Literacy For All programme.


By the time children reach the end of Year 6, our aim is that they:

  • enjoy and take pleasure in reading and books
  • are independent, fluent and reflective readers who read aloud with expression and confidence
  • have a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, which sets them up ready for secondary education
  • are able to read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts
  • have an appreciation of the work of different authors, poets and illustrators
  • have gained a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy
  • are able to apply their reading skills to access all areas of the curriculum and the wider world

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. Formative assessment is used regularly in the form of questioning, marking, informal teacher assessment grids and feedback. During guided reading sessions, notes are made to inform later sessions.

In Reception and Year 1, children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through daily informal and half- termly formal phonic assessments and evidence from their reading and writing. See our Phonics and Early Reading page for more information on how this is assessed.

In Years 2 and 6 past SATs papers are used termly to assess children’s progress and attainment. In Years 3,4 and 5 we use the NFER assessments to gain a picture of each child’s learning journey. A detailed analysis is completed after each formal assessment to identify gaps.

Benchmarking is also used for those on the reading scheme books to test fluency and comprehension to ensure that the level is correctly matched to their ability.

For those requiring more specific intervention, we use alternative assessments such as the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC) and PHAB2 (phonological awareness).

The Phonics Screening check at the end of Year 1 and SATs at the end of Year 2 and 6 formally assess attainment and progress in reading and are compared to Local Authority and National data.

Enrichment in Reading

In addition to the curriculum, we offer the following enrichment opportunities in Reading for children at Grayswood CE Primary School:

  • Book week - a whole week dedicated to celebrating books and reading, fun activities across the whole school, challenges, visitors, book fairs and character dress up days
  • Reading challenges to carry out at home
  • Lunchtime book club for Upper Key Stage 2
  • Library time every week
  • Local author coming into school weekly to read to children
  • Read2Dogs- Pets as therapy
  • Celebration of National Poetry day and poem recitals 
  • Opportunities to share a love of reading between classes
  • Access to and use of ReadTheory in Year 6