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We believe that reading is at the centre of all of our learning. We nurture a love of reading by introducing a range books with enthusiasm, excitement and enjoyment, promoting a sense of wonder as the book is explored which inspires the children and stimulates curiosity, allowing children to become immersed in a huge range of literature.

Our reading scheme is closely linked to our Phonics scheme with all resources created by Pearson Bug Club (see attachment below for more information on the Pearson Bug Club).

In Reception a phonics based approach is used to introduce the children to reading. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the sounds they are currently learning. 

Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis either using physical book or the online platform where they can access virtual reading books. Online the children have access to a wide range of additional books, arranged by difficulty using the coloured band system, this allows teachers to allocate books based on a Childs current stage of learning.

A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers.

Book bands at Withington Primary School
When the children move beyond Phase 5 phonics and a phonics approach to reading, we begin to broaden their reading skill set, enabling them to understand the texts that they read. Books are grouped by the coloured book band system linked again to Pearson Bug Club. Pupils are regular assessed and directed towards the appropriate band for their reading level. 

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions (word reading and comprehension); different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds - National Curriculum.

Intent, Implementation and Impact 


At Withington, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success so to ensure we have a rounded approach to the teaching of reading, we implement the following:

  • Children take part in daily Whole Class reading sessions, which is a whole class reading strategy using a range rich texts.
  • Weekly, each class have a taught comprehension lesson that is domain specific exposing children to a wide range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction and including poetry.
  • We are very lucky to have a wide range of reading books in our school. All children from Reception to Year 6 chose a reading book to take home and this is changed regularly.
  • Each classroom has a selection of books in their classroom which are directly linked to the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
  • Each classroom has a reading area that is a welcoming and comfortable place for children to enjoy reading.
  • Children are read to each day by their class teacher.
  • Children in both KS1 and KS2 have the opportunity to take part in “Reading Buddies” where they can mix with children from other year groups to share a story.
  • Children who are not yet “free readers”, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading age. We expect family at home to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record.

By the time the children leave Withington, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry and participate in discussions about books including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.



Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms at Withington, around the school you will find displays which celebrate authors, children’s favourite books and reading reward schemes. In addition, throughout the school year, the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, Author and Poet visits, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.

  • Three times a week, 25 minutes of each class timetable is dedicated to whole class reading.
  • Each week, teachers plan for a comprehension lesson based on a different reading domain.
  • Children are tested termly using the Headstart reading tests (excluding Year 6 and 2 who use SATS papers).
  • Each child is heard read by the class teacher once a week on a rotation basis, as well as other members of staff throughout the week.

Reading books are carefully matched to the children’s current reading age and altered when needed.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of KS1. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the ned of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measures by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. Phonics is tracked termly from Nursery against phased sub-levels.

However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so this impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles.

Our Curriculum. 

Please use the links below to view our curriculum documents.