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At Gravel Hill we believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and 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. We want every child to leave Gravel Hill with the skills of an excellent reader who:

  • reads easily, fluently and with good understanding across a variety of text types
  • demonstrates reading for information, as well as for pleasure
  • has acquired a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • has an understanding of our British literacy heritage, having studied key authors and texts in depth
  • can access knowledge from all curriculum areas/subjects in order to develop personal targets and interests


Phonics: Early Years and Key Stage 1: In EYFS and KS1, we teach phonics and reading skills daily to a group of children of similar ability. Lessons focus on individual sounds, groups of sounds and common exception words within different ‘phases’. We have an agreed progression for the teaching of new sounds and use a variety of published schemes and resources to support this, predominantly following Letters and Sounds, Collins, Phonics Play and a range of tactile resources. We assess children every half term and then adjust the phonics groups accordingly. Pupils who do not pass their Phonics Screening Test continue to have intervention to support the acquisition of these key skills.

Reading lessons: Early Years and Key Stage 1: In EYFS andKS1, reading is taught in small groups led by a teacher and then in year 1 through a carousel in which pupils move around a variety of reading tasks. Pupils’ Reading is are carefully tracked through the school’s reading scheme and their phonics level is carefully matched with a book ( Big Cat Collins). KS1 carousels include: a teacher-led guided reading activity in which a key skill is taught, an independent follow-up task, vocabulary/spelling tasks, comprehension tasks and reading for pleasure.  In the Summer term, year 2 children will move into whole class Reading lessons in line with KS2.

Reading lessons: KS2: Reading is taught whole class in KS2, following Talk for Reading principles and is a skills based approach. Texts and extracts of texts are carefully selected and then planned around for a 3 week unit where a main skill is focussed upon for this unit, in great depth. Children are assessed on their prior knowledge of this particular reading skill and then again at the end of the unit to show the progress made and any areas still lacking. Once a week teachers listen to groups of children read and dialogue with them about the book, their understanding and fluency, providing 121 feedback, including modelling fluency and intonation. The rest of the class reads independently for pleasure during this time. Teaching assistants teach their own group of children as planned for by the teacher.

Shared Reading: All classes spend the last ten minutes of the school day being read to by the teacher. These texts can be additional to texts read during Reading and English lessons so that children are exposed to a wider range if literature.

Home Reading Scheme: EYFS and KS1 work through book bands and a range of books which are very closely matched to the phonics phase they are working within. Children are also encouraged to take home a book of their choice to read for pleasure. KS2 readers predominantly choose reading books which are Accelerated Reader banded, providing zone numbers which match the children’s comprehension ability. They are tested termly and given a new zone number to enable them to choose well matched books for home reading. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts and daily Reading and Phonics lessons.

Reward system: We use Reading Karate as a reward scheme at Gravel Hill. Parents and children are advised that home reading 5 times a week is the minimum expectation. This is checked weekly and leads to stars, certificates and rewards. Children then move through the coloured ‘belts’.

Marking and Feedback: Feedback and marking should be completed, where possible, within the lesson. This could be whole class or verbally to individual children, assuring all children make progress within the lesson and identifying children who need support quickly. All marking and feedback is given in line with our marking and feedback policy.

Summative Assessment: Summative assessments will take place termly. Data will be entered into Pixl each term after children complete comprehension test papers. Children will also complete Star Reader tests termly (Renaissance Learning) which generates a score and the child’s ZPD level which matches their ability to the books they should be read. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below in addition to testing.