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The Journey of Reading at Woodside Primary Academy

The teaching of reading is to be given a high priority by all staff. Success in reading is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation to learn. We believe that success in reading opens doors to a world of knowledge. 

As reading is a complex skill with many components, at Woodside we have adopted a comprehensive and consistent approach to the teaching of these skills in school. The ability to read is fundamental to many aspects of life. In order to access the wider curriculum, children need to be confident readers who can understand, interpret and apply what they read to other areas of learning.

Our aims:

  • To develop a love of books and reading
  • To develop reading strategies and skills: fluency, accuracy, understanding and response to different texts
  • To read and enjoy a variety of texts from a variety of sources: library, class book corners, ICT, guided reading and class reader
  • To create a strong, embedded reading culture through a rich language environment within classrooms and through shared and guided reading
  • To deliver a structured and consistent whole school approach to reading
  • To recognise the value of parents/carers as essential components in supporting and developing children’s reading skills and love of reading
  • To rigorously monitor and assess children’s progress in reading and identify those who require extra support and intervene at an early stage



Immersed to start their reading journey through:

  • songs, nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • phonological awareness and sound discrimination
  • shared stories
  • RWI - initial sounds are introduced during the Summer Term prior to entering Reception
  • story times daily


We follow the Read Write Inc. Programme. This ensures we meet the expectations of the National Curriculum and the Early Learning Goals; the teaching of systematic, synthetic Phonics begins immediately when the children start school.  At Woodside, we have clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress and this is reviewed daily in the phonics lesson and more summatively each term, to ensure the children reach age - related expectations. All children at Woodside continue with a phonic education through KS1, with each element applied to spelling as well as to reading.  


Children who do not reach age - related expected levels of attainment in phonics by the end of KS1 may continue through other years with this approach for spelling, reading or both.  Where phonics is not a preferred route, for example for some of our SEN learners, they will take the precision reading approach.


Reading books

As a school, children in Reception are introduced to “Ditty Books” when they successfully begin to read single words. We follow the RWI Story Books (Ditty) which ensures the sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics so children in Year 1 leave as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year 2.  All children have access to quality class text (fiction and non – fiction) and this forms a part of our school curriculum.

Our main aim is to foster the enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Interactive and stimulating book corners can be found in every classroom and pupils are offered a diverse range of reading materials. Teachers promote the enjoyment of reading by reading to their class on a daily basis by reading a class novel outlined below.

Children will also be given the opportunity to visit the local library to promote a love of reading throughout the year. The celebration of World Book Day creates a focus for promoting reading across the whole school which children and staff thoroughly enjoy.

Whole class guided reading at Woodside

From Year 2, all children are taught reading daily (apart from those on a personalised programme) and take part in whole class guided reading using a whole class text. Children in Year 1 join this whole school model in the summer term.  Across the term, each year group uses a balance of genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry with the text at least one year older than their current age, giving the children more exposure to higher level vocabulary, descriptive language and sentence structure. Throughout the sessions, the teacher models reading with fluency and across the week there are opportunities for pupils to develop their fluency skills either as a class, individually, choral/ echo reading or in small groups.

The structure of the whole class guided reading sessions follows this format:

  • Monday, the focus skill is upon vocabulary development and understanding words in context
  • Tuesday, the focus is upon fact retrieval and inference; a rolling programme of remaining skills including: summarising; sequencing; prediction or fact and opinion is undertaken on a Wednesday
  • SEND: Monday - Wednesday sessions - when the children (SEND) take part in whole class texts - please select a paragraph which the children will focus on for the session and plan questions which are suitable for their reading level. 
  • The remaining days, pupils who are not reading at Year group level, they work with the teacher on age related texts. These groups also include pupils who require support to improve pace and fluency.
  • Pupils working below year group levels work on texts, and the other pupils in class take part in independent activities based on the text which has been read Monday – Wednesday.
  • All pupils in the class are part of a teacher focus group at least once a week for 10 minutes at the end of the guided reading session

During our whole class guided reading sessions, teachers ensure that in the focus group and independent activities, children are expected to manipulate what they have gathered from the text and use it to answer a variety of sentence types – children are also expected to record independent questions with time to self – mark questions with guidance from the teacher and discussion of the answers.

Reading at home and home readers

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” – Kate DiCamillo

Every child takes home a reading book daily which matches their reading abilities, so they practise the skills they have been taught at school.

  • EYFS and Year 1 pupils (and those at the earlier stages of learning to read) take books home which match their current phonic levels from the Read Write Inc. home reading programme – this also applies to children working below age related expectations further up the school who take books home suitable for their level.


This home school partnership is key in ensuring children can become lifelong readers who love reading.

  •  Children are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes (older children 20 – 30 minutes) aloud to an adult to ensure fluency and accuracy are practised and so that parents and children can engage in dialogue and questioning about the book.
  •  Our school website has a variety questions types which parents are encouraged to use.  
  • Children from Year 2 – 6 record their reading in the class home reading record folder (kept in class reading corners) – this enables class teachers to track children’s reading on a weekly basis. 
  • EYFS and Year 1 have individual reading logs which class teachers/ LSA’s complete.

 A list of reading websites and reading activities are also available on the school website for parents and children to access at home.

The learning environment

All classrooms have well-stocked book areas with fiction and non-fiction titles. Care is taken to ensure that a wide range of texts is available in terms of:

  •  Content, form and genre, e.g. texts which are accessible and challenging, texts which show cultural diversity and avoid stereotyping of race, gender and class.
  • The learning environment should also promote reading in an engaging way. There should be an abundance of vocabulary for the children to access.
  • In all classrooms there are displays with graphemes to support the teaching of phonics. In addition, pupils are made aware of the importance of print both inside and outside the classroom through the use of inter-active displays, notices, charts, posters, advertisements, signs, etc.

Reading for Pleasure

Throughout the day children have opportunities to read for pleasure

At lunchtimes children are able to read in the playground from a selection of books and at the end of the day to enjoy listening to their class novel read by their teacher.

Diverse text

 Our pupils will also learn how to appreciate a range of literature around different themes over the 3 terms of each year as they move through the school – different themes include:

  • Disability,
  • Race,
  • Culture,
  • Gender,
  • Cultural capital,
  • Upcoming authors from a variety of backgrounds



Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Nursery 2 – 3-year-olds

Love makes a family  -

Emphasises the message that families come in all forms and the most crucial thing about them is love


The lost homework

A delightful book about a young boy from a Roma family

Isaac and his amazing superpower

A valuable first step in celebrating the Asperger’s child and how they see the world

Nursery 3 – 4-year-olds

Maisie’s scrap book

Celebrating the shared emotion and experiences of different cultures




What happened to you?

The first ever picture book addressing how a disabled child might want to be spoken to

Hats of different faiths

A thoughtful book inspiring understanding and celebrating our culturally diverse modern world


Hair Love

Hair Love is a beautiful and refreshing story that touches on topics around family, self-esteem, pride, style, identity and culture.

Heart in a Bottle by Oliver Jeffries

Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming and uplifting tale.

My shadow is pink

My Shadow is Pink is a beautifully written rhyming story of love and self-acceptance that touches on the subjects of gender identity, equality and diversity.

Year 1

Act normal and don’t tell anyone about the dinosaur in the garden – Christian Darkin

Act Normal! - The bestselling series of children’s chapter books for girls and boys (ages 5-9).
Learn about DNA and the building blocks of life with Jenny and Adam…

Super Dad's day off

Stanley is a normal little boy, whose dad just happens to be the greatest superhero on the planet. Six days a week, Dad saves the world from disasters, aliens, and bad guys. Friday is his day off, and he always spends it with Stan. But one Friday, Dad and Stan meet a series of people desperately in need of Dad's help. ...

Isadora Moon goes to school  - Harriet Muncaster

deals sensitively with the difficulties that may be faced by anyone who feels different and struggles to fit in.

Year 2

Too small Tola – Atinkue

 A book full of heart and humour by multi-award-winning author and storyteller Atinuke, with artwork by Onyinye Iwu, a fabulous new talent in children's illustration.

Tribble and Grandpa  - Wendy Meddour

Grandad is grieving. He hides away in his garden. He needs time. But he also needs love. Tibble is full of love and shows Grandad that remembering the people we love can be a wonderful, funny, poignant thing. 

The day the war came –  Nicola Davies

A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heart -  breaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.

Year 3

The Boy who grew dragons – Andy Shepherd

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN'S BOOK PRIZE 2019: The first book in a sparky and utterly enchanting new series.


Llama Out Loud –Annabelle Sami

Featuring a mute ten-year-old girl and her toy llama who does enough talking for both of them, Sami's story is constructed with flawless comic timing.

Ariki and the Giant Whale

An adventure story about friendship, families and being different, This book is also a lovely introduction to island life and nature-centred cultures. It also lets readers consider how different life can be for children around the world.

Year 4

Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith

Starting a new school is always stressful, but Murph suspects his new school is stressful for extremely odd reasons. He realises his mum has accidentally enrolled him in a Super Hero school for kids with Superpowers: fellow pupils can fly, control the weather, and conjure tiny horses. Sadly, Murph can’t do anything. This spoof superhero epic certainly delivers: deliciously dastardly villains, capes, tights and mild-mannered heroes. Yet it also explores familiar school anxieties that everyone else is smarter, stronger, better. Here, even Kid Normal has superpowers!

The Akimbo Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith

Akimbo and his parents live on the edge of an African game reserve. It's his father's task to protect the thousands of amazing animals who make it their home, and wildlife-loving Akimbo dreams of helping him. In these three adventures, Akimbo protects elephants from poachers, saves a lion cub from a trap, and rescues a man from a crocodile!


Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett

This never-before-published collection of fourteen funny and inventive tales by acclaimed author Sir Terry Pratchett features a memorable cast of inept wizards, sensible heroes, and unusually adventuresome tortoises.

Year 5

All the things that could go wrong – Stewart Foster

 Is an absorbing story about bullying and friendship crafted with the right balance of warmth and tension

Wonder  - RJ Picalio

A landmark novel that captures the hearts and minds of millions of readers, Palacio’s tender examination of physical difference and its emotional consequences is undeniably powerful. 

Pig Heart Boy – Malorie Blackman

A powerful story which shows the life of a teenage boy with a viral heart transplant. It was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal

Year 6

Holes  - Louis Sacher

Sachar writes the humorous plot of Holes in a straightforward manner; however, he weaves into the plot three subplots. The subplots are tall-tale motifs that provide explanations about incidents involving previous Yelnats generations that significantly impact Stanley's life as well as the lives of others.


Can you see me? Libby Scott

People think that because Tally's autistic, she doesn't realise what they're thinking, but Tally sees and hears - and notices - all of it. Endearing, insightful and warmly uplifting, this is a story of autism, empathy and kindness that will touch readers of all ages. 

The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne

As of 5 December 2016, the novel had sold more than seven million copies around the world. [In both 2007 and 2008, it was the best-selling book of the year in Spain] and it reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list.[6] In 2008, the book was adapted into a film of the same name, and, in 2017, it was adapted into a ballet.

Hurricane Child -  Kacen Callendar

Hurricane Child received the Stonewall Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award in 2019.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and - worst of all - Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -


Assessment and recording

 Assessment is used to inform the planning and the teaching of reading.

This takes various forms:

  • Key learning objectives for reading is identified from the National Curriculum (2014) and the EYFS Development Matters Guidance and are translated into learning outcomes.
  • Pupils’ progress is assessed during guided reading, supplemented by observations in shared reading and through individual assessments. During curriculum lessons teacher use AFL to gather how pupils have transferred their reading skills to the wider curriculum.
  • Phonic assessments are carried out based on the Read Write Inc. programme and each half-term Year 1 complete the Phonic Screening Check, which takes place in June. Each child will sit mock screening tests to identify gaps in sound knowledge. This is a short test to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. The aim of the test is to identify children who need extra support to improve reading skills.

Teachers are responsible for assessing the progress of all pupils in their class. When the pupils have achieved a level of fluency and independence, it is the teachers’ task to ensure that a range of reading is then tackled, including texts which provide challenge and extend pupils’ reading.

Pupils are assessed at the end of the EYFS in reading against the early learning goals (ELGs).

SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) are given at the end of Year 2 and 6. They are used to show children’s progress in reading. In KS1 the tests are more informal and the results are used to support teacher assessment, while in KS2 the tests are sent away for external marking.



Why Can't I Skip My Reading Tonight document below shows how important it is to read often. Children who read every day for 1 minute will read 800 words a year. Children who read for 5 minutes a day will have read 282,000 words in a year. Children who read for 20 minutes every day will read 1,800,000 words a year.

Who will be the best reader?
Who will know the most words?
Who will be the best writer?
Which child is more likely to go on to achieve the greatest academic success?
Which child is more likely to get a great job in the future?
Parents / Caregivers - what do you need to do?!