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We love reading

How is reading taught in your school?


We firmly believe that teaching a child to read is one of the most important things we can teach children to do. Throughout the New Waltham Academy school journey, we teach pupils all the basic skills needed to enable a child to read independently. 


We want our pupils to love reading – and to want to read for enjoyment. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. 


We start by teaching phonics in trackers and Early Years using the new government accredited 'Little Wandle,'phonics programme. Both FS1 and FS2 have literacy rich environments with a range of stimulating words, structures and texts all around the room. The children are asked to read and write at every opportunity and across all curriculum areas. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. Children are taught reading through phonetically decodable books. They are exposed to a book in school and then the books are sent home to read and practise with the parents. Provision is themed around a book of the week e.g. Jack and the Beanstalk. The children are given non-fiction texts that link to the story e.g. growing. Children focus on acting stories out and retelling stories, they have a regular story time and also access year 6 reader leaders in small groups and reading from the literacy lead weekly. Children take home both a, 'Little Wandle Book' and a library book to encourage reading for pleasure, this is chosen by the child and monitored by the teacher. Children have reading intervention to support their learning and fill gaps in understanding phonics. 


Year 1

Children continue to develop their phonetic knowledge with  practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. Children read both, 'Little Wandle' books and 'Little Wandle' eBooks that are linked to their phonic phase. These are read at home and new, stimulating reading logs provide a home/school dialogue to better understand the needs of the child. Teachers read class books (that are linked to project work) to the children every day so the children get to know and love all sorts of traditional stories, poetry and information texts. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. Reading is taught using the, 'Little Wandle Scheme'- a continuation of FS. Children are grouped according to their ability and follow books in a set order. Guided reading has three stages. Stage 1: practice and apply, the children read and the teacher listens. Stage 2: Prosody, the teacher models reading with expression, pace, tone and punctuation. Then the children read and model the teacher’s behaviour. Stage 3: Comprehension questions are set that are linked to the text. This book, once looked at in class, is sent home to be read with and to the parents. Classrooms are language rich and discussion and talk about vocabulary feeds into writing, reading and project based learning.


Year 2

Up until the end of Year 2, the children who do not meet the standard are regularly phonic checked to see if they meet the expectations. This is so that the teaching can be focused on their needs and intervention can be planned and implemented to bridge gaps. Some older children will continue to access phonic catch up groups if they need further consolidation and development of reading skills. We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are in the right group. The children undertake guided reading sessions and have a wide selection of reading materials to choose from. Teachers structure guided reading around high quality texts that allow children to be stretched in both their comprehension and fluency. Once a week children take part in book banding, providing them with a book that is linked to their phonic phase. This book is read at home. Children also take home a library book of their choice to encourage them to read for pleasure. 



Children undertake daily guided reading sessions within KS2 and also visual literacy sessions that tie in guided reading with videos and films to stimulate children’s discussion and engage the children in reading and inference. Guided reading is structured around a whole class text. This is either a carousel of activities or 5 activities that take the following structure.  The guided reading text is read to them to allow all the children to access the writing for the week. The older children in year 5/6 annotate the text and use highlighters to make notes about inferences and deductions, word choices and language as well as authorial intent. The children have a range of oral questions about the text to provide familiarity with the content and word meanings, these questions take the form of comprehension questions and probe the children to find greater meaning. Children then have a journal-based activity to further engage with the text and characters. Finally, a comprehension activity that is structured with a bronze, silver and gold for consolidation and stretch allows the children to fully engage with the text. Children use the reading VIPERS scheme to understand these stages. During class, reading children have access to levelled, age appropriate books that are monitored by the teachers. They also have access to educational magazines and First News - a children's newspaper. Books are regularly rotated and new, exciting books are brought in to stimulate readers and keep reading relevant. Each class has their own a reading ladder/reward system that the children climb and this provides friendly competition between classmates. They enjoy projects linked to reading, with a whole school reward system used for encouragement, which is based on weekly reads, book reads and a special head teacher’s award that is given to those who read a range of texts. Children have reading diaries that provide a home/school dialogue. Reader Leaders that are chosen from year 6, take part in the reader leader scheme and read to children in year 3/4 to encourage reading for pleasure and peer modelling of good reading. KS1, to engage the younger children and FS to provide a role model for good reading and enjoyment of sharing stories. 


How do we promote a love of reading


  • Stimulating and engaging in world book day and events based around reading that include rewards, dressing up and having fun.


  • A range of new and relevant texts on book shelves to stimulate the children and make reading more relevant.


  • Children are encouraged through reward schemes that reward consistent reading and reading in different genres.


  • Visiting authors provide children with role models and aspirations.


  • Teacher’s model and read the class every week to promote enjoyment of reading and interest in reading.


  • FS role-play areas promote reading and the enjoyment of stories.


  • Reader leaders promote a love of reading across the school as children share books and act as reading role models.  The reader leader scheme raises the profile of reading because it is children within the school discussing and sharing stories with each other.