How We Teach Reading

At Bearwood Primary School, we are committed to ensuring our children are developed into competent, fluent readers. Reading forms an integral part of our curriculum from Nursery to Year Six. We understand that in order for children to be able to read, they need to have a firm grasp of phonics, a wide vocabulary and lots of experiences. This enables them to be able to read words, and comprehend what they are reading. For this reason, we also ensure we deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that will expose the children to a wide range of experiences and words.

From Nursery to the end of Key Stage One, children have a daily discrete phonics session. This develops the children’s ability to sound out unknown words when reading. In addition, we build up the children’s sight vocabulary of tricky words that are not easy to sound out.


In Nursery, children hear a range of high quality texts, specifically chosen to introduce the children to new words they can use in their own speaking, and new experiences. Learning is planned around the books. Role play areas and other activities in the setting give the children opportunities to act out what they have heard read to them. The children are also able to take a book from the class library for their parents to read to them and discuss. All of this also develops the children’s understanding of story structure and how books ‘work’.


In Reception, children begin to read reading scheme books that are aligned to the Letters and Sounds phonics programme we follow at Bearwood Primary School. The children start the worded books as soon as they have learnt enough sounds. This gives them the opportunity to apply what they have learnt to actual books. We use a range of reading schemes that are linked to the Letters and Sounds programme – including Ransom Reading Stars, Rising Stars Rocket Phonics and Collins Big Cat Phonics books. Within school, children are heard to read 1:1 at least 2 times a week. In addition, children continue to hear a range of rich texts read to them. As in Nursery, learning is planned around high quality focus books.

Year One

In Year One, the children have a daily 30-minute Reading Workshop session at the start of the school day. During this period, children complete activities linked to reading – such as phonics games, paired reading or making sentences from words. The class teacher and LSA listen to children read 1:1 and change books. The children continue to read reading scheme books pitched to their level until they become fluent readers.

Year Two to Year Six

From Year Two to Year Six, every class has a 30-minute whole class reading session at the start of the day. Each class has a high quality text that they read together. We follow a structured programme that includes reading the text fluently, working out the meaning of unknown words and asking and answering questions on the text to develop comprehension skills. Children also have their own 1:1 reading books, pitched to their level. Once children become fluent readers, they can select an appropriate book from the class or school library.

Whole School

Throughout the children’s time at Bearwood, in every year group, they will hear their teachers read high quality texts that again serve as an opportunity to expose the children to more words, and give an opportunity for discussion so comprehension skills are further developed.

We believe it is important for home and school to work together to develop the children’s reading skills. Our expectation is that children are heard to read at home every day for at least 10 minutes. We ask parents to sign their children’s reading diaries so we can see this has happened.

Why don't you choose some books from the lists below?