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English - Reading

Aims of our Reading programme

It is our intent at Gillingstool to provide our students with a high-quality education in English, which will enable them to speak, listen read and write fluently. This, in turn, will allow our students to communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively. Reading at Gillingstool will be at the heart of our curriculum and through quality-first teaching in this subject we will be able to underpin all the skills the children will need to succeed in English and other curriculum areas. This journey will begin in EYFS with the teaching of early reading through high-quality phonics provision and end in Year 6 where our students will have developed a true love of reading both fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts. Through these books, children will be able to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live as well as gain knowledge and comprehension skills across the whole of the curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the time our children leave our school, they are able to read fluently and with confidence and enjoyment.

Rationale: Knowledge and Skills to be Taught and Why

Our newly created curriculum at Gillingstool ensures our children have access to tailored, well-sequenced and relevant learning. Reading is an essential element of this new curriculum and therefore the reading knowledge and skills which are taught at each stage have been carefully considered to ensure they are age-appropriate and sequenced to follow a clear progression of skills. Reading skills progression is ensured through the use of the reading milestones document which is used to form the learning focus for each session and allows skills to be built upon year by year. In addition to this, we have also created a progression map for high quality texts to be used in each year group. This quality text map ensures children are receiving exposure to a high-quality fiction text, non-fiction text, poem and class story text each half term. These quality texts have been selected from a range of reputable sources including the Pie Corbett Reading Spine and the CLPE recommended book list. Where possible, we have linked these quality texts to our new topic or science areas. However, where only tenuous links could be made, we have prioritised high quality texts over topic-based texts. Furthermore, the class stories which have been mapped will be read purely for pleasure and have been selected to increase cultural capital and reading engagement. However these are only recommendations and teachers are strongly encouraged to reflect on the needs and demographics of their classes when selecting their class stories. In conclusion, our quality text map ensures that as children progress through our curriculum they are being continuously exposed to books which are rich in high-quality language, structures, plots and content, while at the same time developing a deeper knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live.

What reading looks like at Gillingstool

Reading Schemes - At Gillingstool, reading is an integral element of all children’s learning and progress. The school’s main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, however, this is supplemented with other schemes including Project X, Banana books and Bug Club. All books are sorted by stage in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children. In KS1 all reading books have been re-banded so that they are phonically appropriate for each phase. This will ensure children’s reading books are phonically decodable for the phase that they are learning – matching their books in this way will ensure that what is being taught in the classroom will be embedded and reinforced through their reading books as well as improve comprehension skills. Following on from the success of re-banding reading books in KS1, in summer 2021 staff will be adapting the system used for KS2 to guarantee a smooth transition between key stages and ensure children in every year group are provided with books that are appropriately challenging  interest them and encourage a love of reading.

Quality Texts – All children will have classic texts read to them in all year groups as part of the English teaching sequence. This begins with traditional fairy tales/rhymes in EYFS and KS1 to established classic novels in KS2. These are selected using the aforementioned quality-text map. Research has shown that explicit grammar teaching can be unsuccessful when it is not rooted or experienced in context by the children, therefore our teaching sequence ensures that grammatical skills are always experienced firstly in the reading of the quality text or model of excellence before being studied and applied in a piece of writing linked to the quality text, helping our children to understand more and remember more.


Phonics and Spelling Provision - Phonics is an important daily lesson in each class from YR – YR2 and forms the basis for spelling interventions in KS2. Phonics sessions last 45 minutes in EYFS, 30 minutes in KS1. Currently the school follows the government ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme which develops the children’s ability to hear, discriminate, recognise and write the sounds. All teachers plan from the ‘Gillingstool Phonics and Spelling Progression’ document. The school has recently taken part in the Teaching School's ‘Phonics and Early Reading Project’ ensuring our approach to this crucial subject is now underpinned by new research and that our teaching practice is of an excellent standard. A Phonics Procedures document has been created and shared with all those teaching phonics and spelling this has clarified expectations.

Assessment and the Lowest 20% - Every year, Y1 pupils take the National Phonics Screening check. The children are expected to reach a benchmark level. Each year we provide parents with a pack to support their children in readiness for this assessment. This summative assessment forms the basis for phonic interventions in Year 2 and into KS2. Furthermore, as part of our work with the Teaching School's ‘Phonics and Early Reading project’, teachers in EYFS, Year 1 and 2 also undertake regular formative assessment on a daily and weekly basis to ensure children are keeping up and those who need support are catching up quickly and successfully. All EYFS and KS1 teachers also use the new whole class feedback sheet for phonics and spelling to identify children who have not grasped the rules and plan ‘keep-up’ sessions. These keep-up and pre-teaching sessions will be planned daily in KS1 – these happen outside of regular English/spelling/guided reading sessions. 

In KS2, all children complete the Salford reading test 3 times a year which is used to ensure the children are reading appropriately challenging books. In addition to this, our school has invested in NFER tests which all children from Year 1 onwards undertake 3 times a year. These provide teachers with an accurate assessment of where their students are in relation to age-related expectations and this information is used to inform assessments on Target Tracker. From this, teachers are able to run a gap analysis on reading knowledge and skills in their classes, plan interventions and pinpoint teaching to ensure all children know more and remember more. In addition to this, for the lowest 20% of readers in KS2, targeted interventions take place on a daily basis. In Y3/4 this is delivered through the Project X reading recovery scheme and in Y5 and Y6 through the inference interventions.

1:1 Reading – All children in EYFS and KS1 read 1:1 to an adult on a weekly basis. In KS2, all children are heard 1:1 on a fortnightly basis. Across the school, the lowest 20% of readers and those not reading regularly at home will be known as ‘priority readers’ and these children will read 1:1 with an adult at least twice a week. All staff will be undertaking training on a new 1:1 reading structure which will be implemented from September 2021, including the use of running records and miscue analysis for assessment purposes.

Guided Reading - All children from Y1 upwards take part in guided reading. Guided reading sessions, which run x4 sessions per week, are planned by all teachers to teach a range of skills and techniques which enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read and develop their understanding of the vocabulary used by authors. The school uses the VIPERS acronym to explore reading skills and all of these skills are explicitly taught, modelled and practised each week. The English subject leader and Y6 teaching partner have recently undertaken ‘inference training’ recommended by the local authority and are working together to review and update the approach to guided reading in light of this training.

Home Reading – All children are expected to read at home and take home reading books to practise, improve and enjoy. Children are also encouraged to enhance their reading through school’s weekly library loan service where children are able to withdraw any book they would like, covering a range of subjects. The school is also considering purchasing an online reading scheme which children will be able to access both and home and school, meaning all children will have the opportunity to read a wide variety of books in a structured, challenging and progressive approach.


Reading Outcomes at Gillingstool

The impact of our curriculum design will be that children will have developed a love of reading and made at least good progress in reading from their last point of statutory assessment. By year 6, children will have built a repertoire of reading skills and knowledge which will be rooted in experience of high-quality picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction texts. Children will be able to use these skills going forwards as a key tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.

We measure the impact of teaching and learning in reading through the following methods:

  • Target Tracker to assess and identify gaps
  • NFER tests
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
  • Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
  • Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.