Reading Intent

Reading is one of our most important curriculum drivers - to develop fluent and able readers - and is therefore at the very heart of our curriculum.

At Willow, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers.  We believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to become fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully understand a wide range of texts. We want pupils to develop a love of reading; a good knowledge of a range of authors; and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.

By the end of their time at Willow, all children should be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in reading and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. Our reading curriculum is ambitious and diverse in the progression of the carefully selected key texts that underpin it; we want our children to be able to see themselves reflected in the texts that we use with them as well as being able to see into worlds and lives beyond their own.  We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we endeavour to support them to be able to feel confident to do this. 

Reading Strategy, Reading Progression and Reading for Pleasure at Willow:
For information on our reading strategy, progression across school and how we foster a love of reading, please see the documents below:

Reading Implementation

Phonics and Early Reading
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. 

At Willow we follow the Read Write Inc. scheme for learning to read using phonics. 

How will your child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters using pictures and phrases to help them.  The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

Once children can blend sounds together to read words,  they practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing. 

How will you know how well your child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing. We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading and use this information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her.  All of our Early Years and Key Stage 1 staff have had full training to be able to deliver the Read Write Inc. programme and the progress of the children is overseen by the Reading and English Leaders in school. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. If we think your child needs some extra help, they will be given one-to-one support to help them to keep up.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done and especially if we have any worries at all.

What can you do to help your child?
We hold meetings for parents to come in and find out more about how we teach reading; the first of these takes place a few weeks after your child starts school.  These sessions are really useful for you to be able to help you child at home.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. One will be the book that they have been working on in school and should be able to read to you confidently.  Please don't think that this book is too easy for them - they will have practised it in school and it is important that they get the chance to show you how well they can read it.  In addition to this they will also bring home a reading book that is exactly matched to their phonics stage that they have not practised in school.

When reading with your child, help them child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly at this link:

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here:

Parent Information Video

Every year we hold parent information sessions about Read, Write Inc. that explain how we teach phonics and reading at Willow and how you can help your child at home.  A recording of this session can be seen below:

Reading in Key Stage 2

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. 

Whole class reading 

Children are taught how to understand what they read as a whole class using quality texts.  Where possible, these texts are linked to the topic that the class is studying.  

We follow a 6 step reading sequence for the planning and teaching of whole class reading.  The 6 steps are:

  • Vocabulary – exploring the meaning of new words in the text
  • Shared reading – involving teacher modelling and independent annotation of the text with thoughts and ideas using prior knowledge as a reference point (see the video below that shows how we carry out shared reading)
  • Fluency – developing fluent reading through echo reading and text marking (see the video below for how we teach reading fluency)
  • Analyse – developing understanding of themes, characters and ideas in the text
  • Respond – answering questions from a particular content domain such as: inference, prediction or retrieval
  • Apply skills – using all reading skills to answer a range of questions that reflect the style of those in statutory tests

Shared Reading

The video below explains how we teach shared reading in school and gives you ideas of the kind of discussion you can have with your child when reading.

Reading Fluency

The video below shows how we teach echo reading and reading fluency in school.

Accelerated Reader Parent Meeting

For those of you who were unable to make the recent Accelerated Reader Parent Meeting, here is the link to access the recording:

Reading Impact

Phonics is taught very consistently across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and reading teachers are coached and supported to ensure that this is the case.  Grouping the children ensures that their needs are met and 1:1 tutoring means that they are supported to keep up with their group.  The rigor of the six-week assessment cycle guarantees that progress is very closely monitored and the termly support of an external Read, Write Inc. consultant trainer provides opportunities to make certain that the children are making the best possible progress.

Our Year 1 phonics screening data shows that over the past four years the percentage of children reaching the expected standard has been above the National Average; 90% of Year 2 children achieved the expected standard in phonics in December 2021, with 98% of children achieving the expected standard at the end of Year 2 in Summer 2022. 

Pupil voice shows that our Reception and Key Stage 1 children have confidence in their reading ability.

The six-step whole class reading teaching sequence ensures that reading continues to be taught consistently once the children have completed Read, Write Inc. Phonics.  All children have the same balance of lessons focusing on the different reading skills and content domain coverage is appropriate for the different phases.  Children are able to articulate what their strengths are and what they need to improve in relation to the reading skills that they are taught.

Accelerated Reader ensures that the children have a wide range of books to choose from that are appropriately challenging and provide opportunities for children to make good progress in their independent reading.  Children are able to track their own progress towards their independent reading targets.

Children are able to talk about books that have been read to them, can talk about their favourite books and authors and 98% children spoken to across school say that they like, love or really love reading.