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Covingham Park Primary School

English Reading

Improving reading skills


The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • Word reading
  • Comprehension (both listening and reading).

The teaching at Covingham Park focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; 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. Phonics is therefore 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 are 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 curriculum intent

At Covingham Park, reading is promoted as an intrinsic part of teaching and learning. It forms a pivotal part of our curriculum. We recognise that the skill of reading provides children with access to the world around them and a wealth of knowledge which will support their learning and development in all other areas. However, we also believe that reading brings joy and experiences that cannot be achieved in any other way; discovering new worlds, reflecting on the past and exploring emotions from the viewpoints of others who are similar and very different.

Reading curriculum implementation

Reading is taught across the curriculum and is embedded within a range of subjects. Explicit reading sessions are taught across the week and may include a focus on a specific text or may be part of reading to support another subject, e.g. History, Science etc. Planned reading sessions aim to develop an understanding of a text, as well as encourage improved fluency when reading for pleasure or to support learning in other areas. We actively take the opportunity to develop children’s understanding of vocabulary, across both fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as linking their understanding of vocabulary to other curriculum areas including topics or spelling patterns

Guided reading

Guided Reading is taught daily in KS1 and KS2 and adapted to teach skills appropriate to the age of the children. Book choices for the guided session aim to be inspiring to both teacher and children and encourage an enthusiasm for reading.


  • Coverage of the content domains
  • Coverage of a breadth of texts - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs and picture books.

Foundation Stage and KS1:

Children have three reading practise sessions with an adult trained in the Little Wandle methods.

They have these sessions in groups of approximately six children.

They practise reading books matched to their secure phonic knowledge.

The books and planning for practise reading sessions are from the Little Wandle scheme we use to teach phonics.

Reception children should start reading practice sessions using Phase 2 Set 1 decodable books as soon as they are able to blend. As this happens at different times for children, some children will begin reading practice sessions sooner than others.

In KS2 Guided reading is planned as 5 sessions:

MONDAYS and FRIDAYS: The class novel

  • It is imperative that the children are read to every day for 15 minutes.
  • The class novel should be challenging. The children should be able to access it, but it should be a text that many of the class could not sit and read cover to cover independently.
  • Only the class teacher should read the class novel aloud so that children fully get the best possible understanding of it.
  • The questioning should be well-thought out so that when new events occur, the children are aware of their significance.

TUESDAY to THURSDAY: Cross curricular linked texts

  • These days should use one high quality cross-curricular text that links with your topic/ theme
  • The choice of text could cover all genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs and picture books.
  • The main skills covered should be inference (2d) and retrieval (2b)
  • All children should have the opportunity to read to the teacher across these sessions.
  • Deeper questions or activities could then be presented one at a time, which may use the same three forms: individual thinking, partnered talk and solo work. Children should get into the routine of knowing what each of the three forms requires of them.

It is our aim that, by the end of their primary education, where appropriate, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

At Covingham Park we believe in developing our children to become life-long readers, who choose to read for pleasure. We believe in the development of a sustainable reading culture, underpinned by a whole school commitment, which is understood and supported by the full school community.