At Great Wishford, we place books and reading and vocabulary at the heart of everything we do, as tools to gain knowledge, develop emotional literacy , and to inspire readers for life. We aim to:

  • promote a love of reading through books as doors and mirrors where pupils connect with the world and peoples around them, learning about themselves and our key values: creativity, friendship, truthfulness, service, perseverance and respect.  
  • provide a high-quality reading spine which is complemented by non-core topics: pupils are provided with background knowledge that enhances their learning about the text. 
  • ensure that explicit teaching of reading skills and strategies supports pupils in accessing all subject areas and their world.
  • expose pupils to a range of quality texts which means they become fluent and accurate in reading across a variety of genres and styles. We apply a consistent approach to teaching reading across the school, in order to close gaps and ensure that all children leave in Year 6 being able to read to learn.


We believe that the acquisition of the phonetic code, fluency and proficient comprehension as an entitlement for all children has the power to transform lives; it enables them to access the whole curriculum and engage more fully with the world around them. We ensure as many opportunities as possible during the school day to read, enjoy, share and discuss books.

Learning to Read

We follow a systematic approach to teaching phonics, using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. The teaching of phonics begins in Reception, and continues daily to at least the point where children can read almost all words fluently. This provides children with the skills they need to begin to read words, captions and whole sentences as soon as possible.

Focused reading practice: In Reception and Year 1, children practise reading using  Little Wandle Big Cat decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. Our children reread the same text multiple times to develop their comprehension and fluency which includes their accuracy, automaticity (rapid recall of whole known words) and prosody (reading with expression).

Daily Reading practice: Pupils in all classes have opportunities to read daily; in reading groups in EYFS and KS1, or whole class reading or independent reading in KS2. Pupils also have opportunities to read in other subjects across the curriculum. Pupils who are less fluent will read regularly 1:1, with a focus on the lowest 20%. Pupils are given opportunities during story-time to read to each other.

Support to Keep up and Catch up: Until pupils are fluent readers, ‘Keep up’ sessions are used for pupils who teachers identify in on-going assessment as needing more support in consolidating their phonics knowledge. KS2 pupils who need more support in developing their reading skills receive intervention on an individual or small group basis if they need support in addition to whole class reading.

Access to appropriate books: We recognise the importance of reading at home to practice and embed reading skills. Pupils in R/Yr1 take home their Little Wandle book and a sharing book to enjoy with a grown up. Fluent readers in KS1, and all KS2 pupils can access the library once or twice a week to choose a book appropriate to their reading level.

Support at home: Pupils all have a reading record to keep track of their reading and provide a link to school.   In all years teachers monitor pupils’ reading to decide when it is appropriate for them to move up a level.  In KS2, teachers also monitor reading frequency and choices to expand their interest where needed. Children are expected to read for a minimum of ten minutes every night, and there is a reward system for regular reading.

Reading for meaning

Explicit teaching of reading strategies: In EYFS and Yr1, pupils practice comprehension as part of the their reading practice. As soon as children master the alphabetic code and can read fluently,  in Year 2, we begin to use a whole class guided reading model. Reading lessons are daily for 30 minutes. Clearly structured units and lessons to ensure progression of skills and reduce the cognitive load. Pupils also have the chance to apply reading skills and strategies as part of ‘Everybody Reads’  - a starter at the beginning of non-core subjects, where pupils read an extract either linked to prior learning or to prepare them for the ideas and vocabulary they will encounter in new learning. 

Currently in KS2 whole class guided reading, pupils read a range of high quality fiction, and read and discuss non-fiction and poetry texts as part of their writing lessons to ensure pupils access a range of texts that they would not otherwise experience. Within the week, there is a combination of recapping and new reading. A variety of approaches to reading are used to make sure pupils have plenty of opportunities to read aloud, hear books being read, and explore meanings:

  • The teacher models fluency and prosody in extended reads, with questioning and modelling to help pupils understand the text.
  • Close reads offer pupils the chance to explore a shorter passage from the text in more depth.
  • Fluency reads allow pupils the chance to practise reading with expression to develop the crucial bridge to comprehension. 
  • Book chat sessions allow teachers and pupils to explore personal thoughts and opinions about the text, make connections and recommend books for independent reading. 
  • Regular sessions across the term on using reading strategies to make sense of unfamiliar texts supports pupils' ability to apply reading strategies.

Pupils demonstrate their learning through a mixture of discussions, group work and written responses. Teachers assess daily through questioning and providing feedback orally, and through monitoring the quality of pupils' responses. 

Love of reading

Access to quality texts: The school library is currently being updated to ensure that pupils have access to a range of relevant, diverse and engaging texts. Classroom libraries have been restocked and include our reading spine of quality fiction and non-fiction.

Allocated time for independent reading: Pupils are encouraged to start the day with independent reading, and in KS2 are expected to have a reading book on their desk during the day.

Daily story time and reading together: Story time happens in every year group, to ensure the children are read to everyday and share, discuss and enjoy the endless possibilities of books. Classes have a weekly session in the library to browse and change sharing or independent books. Pupils are encouraged to read daily, and the school year incudes frequent events which celebrate reading. 


By engaging with high quality texts, children read with enthusiasm and enjoy talking about their reading. Pupils' understanding of texts is enhanced by their learning in other subjects; this can be also be seen in children's writing when the text is used as a stimulus. Pupils are encouraged to discuss issues in the books with sympathy, empathy and knowledge by making links to key themes they have explored through the texts. Children can read for meaning in other subject areas, and as a result their understanding of the world is enhanced.

We aim for pupils to achieve the age-related expectations for reading, and those that find reading challenging receive extra support to catch up and make progress. Pupils can read and make sense of a variety of texts – not only evidenced in NFER assessments, but in their readiness for transitions to the next stage of their education.