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“That's the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet.” Jhumpa Lahiri


At Holywell Primary School we believe every child has the right to be a fluent reader and it is an essential tool for all areas of learning. We have a strong Reading culture to develop our pupils’ skills and promote an enjoyment of reading.


  • We teach the foundation of Reading using a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. This ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
  • We have a structured Reading Scheme to move children from early decodable books to challenging older texts. This is assessed and monitored to ensure children are reading books matched to their ability. Any children not making expected progress, are supported with interventions and daily reading.
  • We use whole class VIPERS to rigorously teach and embed the important strands of reading and comprehension. This ensures children of all abilities receive the same quality of teaching, vocabulary and challenge.
  • We use high quality texts in our English teaching based on the Power of Reading Teaching Sequences. These are closely matched to the children’s age and expectations and ensure we deliver a progressive and engaging curriculum.
  • We model the enjoyment of Reading and encourage the children to make their own choices and share opinions. We ensure books offered from our Reading Spine continue to develop their skills, understanding and vocabulary.

how we teach phonics and reading


Early phonics is taught with a fidelity to the accredited Little Wandle programme and all resources and class displays match the scheme. Children are taught explicitly the correspondences between letters and sounds (graphemes and phonemes), as well as the skill of blending the individual sounds together to read.

High-quality phonics sessions are taught daily and directly in EYFS and Year 1 by trained staff to all of the children.  All the children participate by listening and responding, and by practising and applying what they are learning.


As reading becomes more fluent, the need for a systematic phonics programme for reading reduces and our children are taught Phase 6 phonics in Year 2.  We use an effective spelling programme to continue teaching correspondences between phonemes and graphemes.


Please see our page on Little Wandle, our Phonics teaching programme HERE.


Our children continue to read fully decodable books until they are fluent decoders. At the end of Year 1, information from the Little Wandle Assessments, Reading sessions, the Phonics Screen and Star Reader Placement Tests indicate where they would be placed on Accelerated Reader.


Children who are assessed as fluent and able to read appropriately for a Year 2 expected child, will start on Accelerated Reader. Children, who no longer need fully decodable texts but still need some support to read more fluently, will use book banded texts to support them in becoming fluent independent readers.

What is Accelerated Reader?


At the beginning of term, all pupils take a STAR reading test which gives them a ZPD although we do not use this term with the children.


ZPD stands for Zone of Proximal Development. It is a reading range tailored to each pupil. It ensures pupils read books that are neither too easy nor too difficult but at the right level for them. The aim is for pupils’ ZPD to increase as they read more and become better readers.


Pupils are retested regularly to measure development. Library books are labelled with their Accelerated Reader level and the children choose appropriately from the library and read independently.  Once a book has been read, pupils take a short quiz about it on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication of how well they have understood the book.


The data from these quizzes and diagnostic reports from Accelerated Reader allow the class teacher to intervene to support pupils with their reading. Intervention strategies include small reading groups, paired reading and talking about the book before they take their quiz.


Children can also use BookFinder (see below) to see if their own books are on Accelerated Reader. This has helped children improve their word count by doing quizzes on books they have read at home. We also encourage the children to complete quizzes on books we have shared in class through our Power of Reading learning.


AR BookFinder

Aspirations for The Future


Pupils develop an understanding of how subjects and specific skills are linked to future jobs.

Here are some of the jobs pupils could aspire to do in the future as a reader:

  • Copy editor
  • Librarian
  • Editor
  • Paralegal
  • Teacher