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All of the detail of our reading curriculum- the theory and research behind it, and how we teach it - can be found in the appendix of our curriculum and handbook document at the bottom of this page.

Reading at Easton Royal Academy is made up of the following 9 elements:

1. Well-trained and informed staff

Every teacher and TA in our school and our principal have been trained to deliver phonics and reading with excellence and we also have staff in school who have been trained in strategies to support children who need additional time and practice.  At KS2, staff have received training on research-informed strategies for the teaching of reading from ‘Reading Reconsidered’ (Lemov et al, 2016).

Teachers plan the substantive (including vocabulary) knowledge that will be taught during and ahead of each book because they know that comprehension is directly linked to children’s knowledge and experience of the specific words and concepts that they find in books (e.g it is very difficult to infer information about the feelings of a refugee if you do not have knowledge of the concept of being a refugee and a developing schema in this area).  Books can be used to expand knowledge in a planned way.

Our staff know about high-quality reading teaching but they are also informed about books and authors to recommend to children in the ages that they teach.  They are informed and closely aware of which books their children are reading, which authors they like and where more challenge is needed.

Teachers are informed about where reading fits into the wider curriculum.  They are able to reference our reading strategies and learned vocabulary in foundation subjects.  They are able to support children to make links – “The character in our writing text here is very similar to…..” or “we came across this word before in a different context…”.

2. Excellent phonics & application of phonics (Little Wandle)

Which phonics scheme do we teach?

We teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

How do we teach phonics?

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.  We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

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

When do children practice and apply what they learn in dedicated phonics sessions?

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:

    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’.
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

In Years 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

3. Excellent progression into KS2 reading (Reading Reconsidered)

As soon as children are able to move into reading more complex texts away from our decodable phonics scheme (this may be at the end of KS1 or later depending on the level of additional practice we feel a child needs), children participate in a daily 30min group reading session led by an adult who has also been trained in the teaching of phonics to ensure continuity of approach and transition.

Teaching moves further towards the explicit teaching of the contextual and vocabulary knowledge needed to understand texts alongside the continued teaching of fluency through decoding, automaticity and prosody.  We have based our KS2 reading approach on ‘Reading Reconsidered’ (Lemov et al, 2016).

We have used the following research-based principles to design our approach:

  • Fluency equals accuracy (decoding) automaticity (pace) and prosody (expression) 
  • Limited fluency is the most pervasive and important barrier to understanding for readers at all levels- especially with complex texts. 
  • Once students can read fluently, background knowledge, of which vocabulary is the most important type, is the biggest barrier to understanding. 
  • Oral reading fluency explained 50-60% in the variations in reading comprehension scores ( Palage 2010)  
  • On the route to comprehension, prosody helps students make meaning audible. Those with a strong sense of prosody are more likely to understand the text.  
  • Vocabulary is the single most important form of background knowledge, half of the struggle with reading is knowledge of words. It is best to deeply focus on it in lessons, use pictures, examples etc.
  • Attention is the hidden driver of any task that requires sustained focus. Students’ attention is growing more fragile.
  • Reading is social. A desire for belonging and the perception of social norms are the most powerful drivers of behaviours- including reading. We make readers through reading communities.
  • Thinking about books isn’t learning until it is remembered.

At KS2, each term focuses on a specific fiction text from our reading spine (based on ‘The 5 Plagues of Reading’) and other linked non-fiction texts are also embedded into each unit (see ‘embedded non-fiction’ strategy below).  In addition, there are focus texts as part of writing sessions and foundation sessions.

Detailed information about our KS2 reading approach, including support for teachers, can be found in Appendix 1 of our handbook below.

4. High levels of parental engagement with home reading

Children who are reading books from our decodable reading scheme take their decodable practice book home to ensure success is shared with their family. This means they have additional opportunities to read it fluently and talk about it.  Some children also choose a ‘sharing book’ to take home.  This book is not decodable and is a book they have selected to be read to them by a family member. 

Our parents have at least annual reading training where the most recent research and strategies are shared and school advice set out for reading at home.  We ask parents to have their child read aloud to them 5 times a week and that they sign their child’s diary when this has taken place.  Staff sign diaries every day and home-reading is tracked at the end of each term.  We contact parents who do not regularly read at home to put support in place to help with this (e.g further training, motivational support for children etc).

5. Books matched to reading stage & reader to reader relationships

Initially, this means children practicing reading only with books that are fully decodable at their individual stage in phonics.  We also have books which continue to be phonetically decodable for children aged 7+ who need additional time and practice.  

Later, this means children having a ‘reader to reader’ relationship with their teacher.  Their teacher tracks and shows an interest in their book choices and is able to recommend books which might challenge and interest them.  Children have daily access to the school library and a weekly reading lesson in the library.

6. Excellent assessment and support


Frequency of assessment

Type of assessment

Timetabled support if needed

Type of support

All children in Reception and Year 1

Every 6 weeks

Little Wandle termly phonics assessment for the specific year group and term

Additional daily 10 min keep-up sessions with a trained adult





KS2 pupils have 3-reads 1:1 or small group with targeted fluency or comprehension strategies in additional to phonics catch-up. 

There is detailed information on the LW assessment pages about the type of support needed in each term.  See Appendix.

Children in Reception and Year 1 who need additional teaching and practice

Every 3 weeks

Repeat of the above assessment to monitor improvement

Children in Y2 to 6 who need additional teaching and practice (due to an assessed need in phonics)

Every 3 weeks


Twice a year


3 times a year



Little Wandle catch-up assessment


YARC diagnostic Assessment


NFER Reading paper


Formative assessment on targeted strategies by 1:1 reading adult

Children in Y2 to 6 who need additional teaching and practice (due to an assessed need in phonics)

Twice a year


3 times a year



YARC diagnostic Assessment


NFER Reading paper


Formative assessment on targeted strategies by 1:1 reading adul

3-reads 1:1 or small group with targeted fluency or comprehension strategies.

See Appendix for targeted strategies.

Children at risk of falling behind in phonics are identified within the first 3 weeks of starting school in reception and are given additional daily practice sessions.

We assess phonics during lessons so that teachers can adapt their teaching in the moment to scaffold the session for individual learners who need more support.  We also assess children every 6 weeks using Little Wandle phonics assessment and analysis system.  Children who need additional time and practice are given extra daily 1:1 or small group phonics sessions taught by a trained adult.  They may also read more frequently than 3 times a week with a trained adult to give them additional time to consolidate their learning. 

Children who are being given additional time and support for phonics are assessed every 3 weeks to keep close track on their improvement.

The Little Wandle placement assessment is used with any child who is new to the school in reception and year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in phonic knowledge and to plan for and provide the extra teaching they need.

To assess whether children are able  to move away from the phonetically decodable scheme and on to a wider choice of books in our classroom and library collections, they undertake the final fluency assessment from Little Wandle and are required to read at 60 – 70+ words per minute.

Children in year 1 take part in the statutory phonics screening check and results are reported on our school website and also to governors and Excalibur Academies Trust board.

7. Explicit teaching of vocabulary

Reading allows learners to encounter new vocabulary on a regular basis.  This vocabulary includes technical and subject-specific words, but also words which are not often used in every day, social contexts and require explicit teaching:

  • Preparation/awareness of vocabulary in texts to be read
  • Selection of vocabulary which is essential for comprehending the text
  • Pre-teaching words selected or teaching following a first read.
  • Collecting and revisiting words as often as possible.

There is a solid evidence base of a range of research into the teaching of vocabulary which supports three key elements of vocabulary instruction:

  • Defining and explaining word meanings.
  • Arranging frequent encounters with new words (at least 6 encounters with new words and possibly up to 50 for secure learning).
  • Encouraging pupils’ deep and active processing of words and meanings in a range of contexts (including morphology and etymology).

Apthorp 2006

8. Excellent texts and inviting reading spaces

The texts themselves and how they are chosen and presented is more important than the space.  It is the books which should invite the learners to sit and read.  Texts reflect and represent children’s identities and contexts; they support our values of equality and diversity.  There is a range of fiction (including graphic novels, traditional tales, traditional and contemporary classics), non-fiction (including newspapers and magazines, information books, books which promote reflection and discussion) and poetry (including current, traditional, from other cultures, visual etc).

We select texts from the centre for literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) book lists, and we have a long-term text map in place which helps teachers make links across texts and the curriculum. Texts for group reading are deliberately challenging (“above their pay grade”) for children because their reading will be supported by the teacher.

Class book shelves do not display too many books at once; are refreshed frequently to engage and interest the class; contain books which children are familiar with and that have been read aloud to them or studied in group reading; make books attractive and easy to find.

9. Frequent opportunities for reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect our children’s growing identities as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting collection of books  that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their continuous provision time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Every child in the school have a home reading diary.. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • We participate in author talks and visits both in person and live online.
  • We hold an annual book week including workshops for parents to attend alongside their children and parents coming into school to read to children and demonstrate their own love of reading.
  • We have key weeks in the school year where staff and visiting guests read live bedtime stories to our children every evening.

All children have a frequent (at least every other day) opportunity to read their own book or other text in school (we have a good range of non-fiction from the county library service and we subscribe to First News, Aquila, National Geographic Kids and Happy Newspaper).  Teachers also plan for this time to be used for paired reading, writing reviews, recommending books to peers, talking with teachers about recommendations.

10. Story time

Every school day includes at least one story read aloud by a teacher. In Acorn class, this is considerably more due to the length of texts.  Teachers model thinking aloud, pick out and explain the meaning of relevant vocabulary before reading and support all children to understand the text.