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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


Early Years and Key Stage 1: In EYFS and KS1, we teach phonics daily and follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised 2021. Lessons focus on individual sounds, groups of sounds and common exception words within different ‘phases’. Reading supports Phonics lessons as we use fully decodable books (Collins Big Cat) for both Reading lessons and for home learning. We assess children every 6 weeks and then adjust the phonics teaching accordingly. Pupils who do not pass their Phonics Screening Test continue to have intervention to support the acquisition of these key skills. We follow a ‘keep up not catch up’ philosophy and children who require it, will have rapid same day booster sessions. 

Reading skills are taught across 3 consecutive days in EYFS, year 1 and year 2. This style has been recommended by the Wandle English Hub with whom we are working closely with to support Phonics and Reading. Children will work with an adult to work on the following areas: Decoding texts, prosody and then working on comprehension skills. Big Cat Collins fully decodable books are used to teach these sessions which mirrors what we use as home reading materials and as part of phonics lessons.

We take a consistent and uniform approach to Phonics and have true fidelity to Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised 2021. Phonics classroom displays and resources used in lessons are also purely Letters and Sounds. A Phonics handbook has been created to aid all staff in teaching Phonics and any new staff will receive accredited Phonics training before teaching Phonics. 

Reading lessons: KS2: Reading is taught to the whole class in KS2, following Talk for Reading principles and is a skills based approach using extracts of quality texts. Texts and extracts of texts are carefully selected at the beginning of the year and then planned around for a 3 week unit where a main skill is focussed upon for this unit, in great depth. Texts chosen, link to the wider curriculum and teachers plan ahead for these links for the whole year.  Teachers listen to groups of children read once a week 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. Children with SEND or EAL are planned for so that they can access the learning and the text at their level. Teachers use termly formative assessment to inform the skills their classes need to focus on for the next Reading units.  

Building Vocabulary: The biggest barrier to GH children is language and communication.  Vocabulary Ninja is used for KS2 to introduce the children to tier 2 vocabulary. The word is explored in depth in terms of the word class, definition, prefixes and suffixes and using the word in sentences. The word is then written on the window in a chalk pen under its word class so the children have a visual reminder. We then refer to and aim to use these words in writing. 

 Shared Reading: All classes spend between 10 and 15 minutes of the school day being read to by the teacher. These texts have been handpicked by the Reading leader, ensuring children in all year groups are exposed to suitable, challenging and diverse books.

Home Reading Scheme: EYFS and KS1 use Big Cat Collins books for home Reading. The books match the phonics ability of the children so that Phonics is constantly being reinforced and applied at home, enabling he child to fully access the text. Children are also encouraged to take home a book of their choice to read for pleasure. KS2 readers 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 actively encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to support and reinforce the skills being taught in school. Workshops and parent support videos are available to support this.

We use GoRead app which is an electronic system for parents and children to log home reading. Avid reading is celebrated and rewarded half termly in school.

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.  Children who are identified as making slow progress during pupil progress meetings, will receive interventions based on their learning gaps identified through assessment.

Summative Assessment: Summative assessments will be entered into Pixl each term after children complete comprehension test papers. Children will also complete Star Reader tests (Renaissance Learning) which generates a score and the child’s ZPD level which matches their ability to the books they read.

Creating a reading culture

At Gravel Hill, we endeavour to create and nurture a love of reading for all children. We do this in a variety of ways starting from the EYFS. Children in the EYFS participate in a half termly homework event which encourages children to learn a traditional rhyme which is then practised as a class in school and then performed for parents at the end of the half term. Children are read aloud to daily by their class teachers and the texts being read are displayed on classroom doors. In addition to daily shared reading, teachers display topic books that link to the wider curriculum to encourage cross curricular reading. Similarly, extracts of texts are often used across the curriculum as a learning tool. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure as part of our home reading system and there is designated time given in school each week. Reading areas are available at lunchtimes on the playground to further encourage reading for pleasure. We also run a number of reading centred events throughout the year such as Literacy week around world book day and regular library visits (currently suspended due to COVID 19). 


- Pupils will enjoy reading across a range of genres

- Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons

- Pupils will use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics

- Pupils will have a good knowledge of a range of authors

- Pupils will be ready to read in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education

-Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records

- The % of pupils working at ARE within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.

- The % of pupils working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages

-The will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)