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The Reading Curriculum

Inspire - The Reading Curriculum

At Spinney Hill Primary School, Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  Our intention is to develop confident readers who read accurately for meaning, purpose and pleasure.  We aim to engage and motivate our pupils with a love of books and the aspiration to become story loving, book confident readers now and in their future lives. We believe that through reading, they will find out about themselves, developing a sense of their own identity as well as finding out about the world beyond their experience, empathising with and understanding the lives and beliefs of others who have a differing perspective from their own. We want our children to communicate with confidence about the books they read, able to discuss and recommend books to others - talking knowledgably about the both the authors they do and not enjoy - to develop a strong reading culture at school. Throughout the school, our purpose is to equip pupils with the skill set to make progress, achieve at least expected standards and to fulfil their potential as lifelong, curious, questioning learners. Children read and explore texts independently, developing reading stamina, perseverance and emotional resilience but are also supported in their reading development through shared and guided reading as well as reading across the wider curriculum.  In the early years, our primary focus is that pupils quickly acquire and apply phonic knowledge to successfully decode texts. Once pupils have the skills to decode accurately, we teach reading comprehension skills directly and explicitly through shared reading to ensure that children read for meaning and with inference. To engage and include all children and inspire a love of reading, we provide a variety of reading matter including fiction, non-fiction, picture books, magazines, newspapers, online e-books and poetry so that every child feels a sense of belonging to our reading culture. We value our partnership with parents so children select books from the book corners to read at home. We also have a well-stocked library which is open to parents where children can select can select engaging books, develop stamina and enjoy the motivation of reading for pleasure. 

Phonics and Early Reading at Spinney Hill

Synthetic phonics is the first formal method for the teaching of reading that we use as it provides the foundations required to become a fluent reader who can decode any unfamiliar words confidently and accurately. Once children are able to decode fluently it allows them to understand what they read more easily. We know that beginner readers, however, do not have a choice about speed because they are still engaged in decoding the words on the page. ​​ Early reading at Spinney Hill concentrates on developing all children’s ability to develop grapheme/phoneme correspondence in the knowledge that once they can blend phonemes into spoken words, children can put all their energies into understanding and comprehending what they read, and begin to developing a love of reading. At Spinney Hill we teach daily phonics through Little Wandle scheme.

Support and Grow - How we teacher phonics and early reading

Children in Foundation are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and Phase 3 GPCs and words with adjacent consonants  (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy. 


Daily, whole class, systematic phonics is taught at Spinney Hill Primary School following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. Lessons follow Revisit and review, Teach and practise and Practise and apply. Phonics is taught daily. During the Revisit and review section children will review previously taught graphemes and revise reading words with speedy diagraph / trigraph recognition containing know Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPCs) and previously taught tricky words. This section helps to embed previous learning into the children’s long term memory. The Teach and Practise section focuses on introducing the new GPC, words containing the new GPC and the new tricky word. During the Practise and apply children will be given the opportunity to read a sentence containing words with the new GPC and the new tricky word. They will then write some words with the new GPC, the new tricky word and a sentence. 


During guided reading sessions children will read decodable books which are matched to their phonics ability and only contain GPCs in that the children are secure with. The prime focus of these sessions is for children to apply their phonics knowledge to their reading. These sessions also follow a four part structure of introduce the text, strategy check, independent reading and response to the text. Teachers follow Rosenshine’s model of I, We, You where they will explicitly model reading graphemes, words and sentences from the book using phonics. They teacher and children will then read some together before the children independently apply this to their reading.

Achieve - How we ensure children are ready for the next stage in their learning

Children are assessed at the end of each phase using phonics trackers to ensure they are secure within that phase. Children are assessed on the grapheme phoneme correspondence (GPCs), segmenting and blending words which contain the GPCs within the phase.  The gaps are then identified which lead to the next steps in learning. Children who are at significant risk of falling behind will be targeted for tailored interventions to help close the gaps.

Teachers assess children’s progress during phonics lesson and address any misconceptions through targeted questions such as incorrect pronunciation of pure sounds or errors when blending.

Inspire - Shared and guided reading at Spinney Hill

We know that in order to become readers, children have to be able to both decode words and comprehend what they read, and these skills are taught simultaneously in the appropriate manner and in line with the Reading Framework 2021 to prevent readers from becoming demotivated and to ensure a developing love of reading. Therefore, shared and guided reading sessions at Spinney Hill Primary School are systematically planned and sequenced in order, using Parks Progression Statements, to ensure that pupils are able to read fluently and comprehend.  We recognise the importance of pitching and planning for texts appropriately:  the reading curriculum covers a broad range of texts and planning is seamlessly adapted to meet the needs of children with SEND, who are EAL or new to English, and those children who show the potential or are working at greater depth. Our reading lessons explicitly teach children specific strategies of how to comprehend what they read, using Hollis Scarborough’s ‘reading rope’ research.  At Spinney Hill, teachers know that reading comprehension consists of the many different pieces to a puzzle, and all pieces need to fit together correctly if children are to be ready for the next stage of their learning and develop a love of reading.

Support and Grow - How we teach shared and guided reading

Shared reading sessions introduce the reading skill of the week, during which teachers explicitly model their thoughts aloud as they read to demonstrate how the skill enables one to comprehend what is being read.  Skills are taught progressively, using the Parks Progressions Statements.  For example, visualisation can be defined as being a point when you picture what you read in your mind and then this can be modelled by drawing a quick image of the picture in the mind.   Evidence based research by Rosenshine’s ‘I, We, You’ model is used to ensure explicit modelling, practice and independent application, using a sentence stem for each skill to scaffold the learning.  This lesson allows pupils to engage in talk, exploring the reading skills in depth, embedding our drive to develop oracy for pupils at Spinney Hill, much of whom have English as an additional language. 

The reading skill is then applied through daily guided reading sessions where pupils read a text at their ability to help them comprehend what they read, as well as building on previous skills taught.  Where pupils are becoming more fluent readers, pupils demonstrate their comprehension through answering an appropriate set of questions that teachers have carefully planned to assess the pupils’ understanding.  Pupils will think critically and develop their responses to texts, broaden their vocabulary, listen and build on the ideas of others - and challenge these.  For example, when pupils infer, they will ensure their inferences are based on clues within the text and are justified with evidence from the text. 

The spine of texts used within guided and shared lessons are selected carefully, including texts that engage the disengaged readers, particularly boys such as Skellig; literature where pupils at Spinney Hill can see themselves reflected in such as Displaced by Malala Yousafzai; texts that increase cultural capital for instance, classic fiction such as Peter Pan; non-fiction texts that probe pupils to critically think and question what they read about eg: Harriet Tubman; and poetry for example The Tyger by William Blake.   

Achieve - How we ensure children are ready for the next stage in their learning

Teachers at Spinney Hill know how well their pupils can read and comprehend what they read, and they know what their next steps are.  This knowledge is clearly informed by constant discussion with the pupils in the ‘ping pong’ discussion points within lessons.  Live Marking enables teachers, at the point of learning, to keep track of the progress of pupils and identify what areas need to be tackled in future lessons.  Teachers can assess pupils’ progress through their responses within reading journals.  More formal assessment is used such as termly PIRA tests, as well past SATs papers in years 2 and 6, to gauge where pupils’ gaps in comprehension are.  For children with special educational needs, pupils are assessed by using single word tests. PM benchmarking is an invaluable tool used that both teaching assistants and teachers use to assess the progress of pupils reading age and comprehension. While Learning Ladders allows teachers to personalise the needs of children. 

Spinney Hill Primary School where we read, read and read!

How we have develop a reading culture and children's love of reading

We know that for our children reading for pleasure must compete against the pleasures and entertainment offered by ever-advancing technology - YouTube, television streaming channels,  video games and social media – and picking up a book may not be a choice that ever child wishes to make. Reading requires perseverance, resilience and independence, and these qualities we endeavour to nurture and teach alongside the basic instructions of reading in order that all children are able to, quite simply, enter a world in which the scope of ideas, imagination and possibilities are limitless and go beyond anything an electronic interface can offer. We know we “should do everything to promote wider reading” (The Reading Framework 2021), and it is our duty to develop a genuine love of literature as reading for pleasure and widely are the bedrock for our curriculum drivers. It is our duty to develop a genuine love for a balanced diet of literature. 

Books provide children with the knowledge they need in order to question and to challenge ideas, whilst opening their eyes to the lives and experiences of others and enabling them to develop a sense of identity. At Spinney Hill, we know that the more opportunities pupils have to read and apply their reading skills so the fluency and comprehension that will enable them to become confident and engaged readers will develop. Therefore, reading opportunities are planned into every subject across the curriculum where possible and opportunities to read and to be read to are identified.


How we promote reading at Spinney Hill

Daily Story Time

Teachers at Spinney Hill read at least once daily to their class, knowing that reading aloud to children has the greatest impact on developing a love for books.  Teachers model, with great effort, to use intonation, volume and stamina – ensuring that they project their passion for reading to their audience.