The Teaching of Reading

At Saltaire Primary School we use an engaging, text-based approach to reading to meet the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. The methods we use to teach children to read include:

  • Guided Reading
  • Shared Reading
  • Individual Reading
  • Phonics
  • Intervention
  • Reading at home

Early Years

Reading is highly valued in Reception year with much time given to individual reading ensuring that every child receives the appropriate amount of support in the early stages of acquiring reading skills.

In addition, teachers use a ‘picture of the week’ as an introduction to inference and deduction.

Shared reading in small groups introduces children to the concept of reading together with other children.

Guidance beyond Reception

  • Every child should take part in at least one guided reading session with the class teacher per week
  • Wherever possible, there should be two adult led activities taking place – teacher and TA
  • Guided reading activities should be highly structured and systematic, providing children with follow-up activities to the teacher input or opportunities to practise key skills, eg. Handwriting, phonics, spelling, etc.
  • Independent activities are focused learning tasks which move the children forward in their reading


Teachers use assessment grids to record children’s progress in reading. They use one grid per group using an appropriately levelled grid for the children in the group.

In addition, we use the Simple View of Reading (SVOR) as a means of identifying children’s strengths and weaknesses. We use this information to inform our teaching and the grouping of children.

As children improve their reading skills, teachers may choose to increase the range of assessment focuses which they teach to children. As a general guide, the progression through each phase is as follows:

Early Years
Decoding supported through rigorous use of synthetic phonics.
Early Phase (Key Stage 1)
Continued use of phonics to decode with a further focus on retrieval of information and inferential skills.
Middle Phase (Years 3 & 4)
Consolidation of retrieval skills but a much bigger focus inference and deduction.
Later Phase (Years 5 & 6)
Opportunities for children to improve their inferential skills are increased as well as exploring wider reading skills.

The ability to read ‘between and beyond the lines’ is most important in terms of comprehension, particularly as children move into Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Planning and Resources

Planning will:

  • Identify the key skill to be taught in the forthcoming session;
  • Record the progress of individuals during the session;
  • Inform the next steps and any follow-up activity for the next session

Planning will be linked to gaps in learning as identified through the Bradford reading assessment grids. A teacher will use their own devised activities as well as published materials to support the planning process maintaining the balance between consolidation, plugging gaps in learning and introducing new concepts and ideas. Possible resources might include:

  • Teacher books linked to guided reading texts
  • Short texts
  • Sets of books
  • Pictures
  • Comprehension resources, eg. Pie Corbett, comprehension cards.
  • Colour-coded lolly sticks
  • Success criteria cards
  • Reading journals

Individual Reading

In general, it is agreed that regular teaching of guided reading is the best way to move children forward in their learning. However, for some children, further support and intervention might be required to close the gaps between groups of children. In this case, individual reading might be required, either with the class teacher, teaching assistant or volunteer reader.

Managing Individual Reading

We use a colour-coded system to manage individual reading within school:

Each child in the class is allocated a coloured card – red, orange or green.

  • Red – these children require most intervention and will be read with at least twice a week. In Key Stage 1, these children require daily reading intervention.
  • Orange – these children require some extra attention to ensure they make appropriate progress. They will get some additional individual reading at least once a fortnight.
  • Green – these children are making good progress and working within expected levels. They will rarely require individual reading as their needs will be addressed through regular guided reading activities.

Changing home loan books

Once a term, the class teacher should suspend guided reading activities for one week in order to use this time to read with each individual child so they can assess which book band each child should be on. The teacher will make the decision to change book band based on their own judgements alongside diagnostic procedures, questioning and assessment.

Books are changed regularly, at the discretion of the class teacher, and according to the needs of each child. Generally, books should be changed weekly throughout school.