Our Intent for Reading

At Cold Harbour, we want every child to learn to read and love to read.  We aim to instil joy in the act of reading through sharing a wealth of engaging stories, poems and non-fiction texts with our children on a daily basis.  We aspire for pupils to become lifelong readers who can use the skill with confidence and fluency in order to access the world around them; to research and grow in knowledge and to take pleasure in.  Cultivating a community, where reading is a proficient skill and treasured pastime, is our mission. 

Our reading curriculum is shaped by pedagogy, therefore we teach reading through two dimensions: word reading and comprehension (as defined by Gough and Tumner’s Simple View of Reading).  Both dimensions are crucial to the development of a good reader and different teaching approaches are needed to support pupils to develop in each area.

  • Word reading (decoding words) is taught through our systematic, synthetic phonics programme (SSP), Read, Write, Inc (RWI).
  • Comprehension is taught when children have grown in confidence with word reading and are free to think about the meaning of what they read. RWI provides opportunities for reading comprehension when the children have mastered reading of a text over three times. Later, when children have completed the phonics programme, we implement Reading VIPERs comprehension, created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed) to explicitly teach the skills of reading comprehension.

Read, Write Inc. (RWI) Phonics 

We are passionate about Ruth Miskin’s phonic scheme and work with specialist trainers throughout the year to ensure we implement daily, high-quality RWI sessions where pupils learn to read well within small groups, reading words and texts at a level appropriate for them.

Below you will find our Phonics Progression document which sets out the journey from EYFS to Year Two.  All children should achieve these expectations; others may well be in advance of this.  The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year Two. However, some children may need extra support and will remain on the RWI programme until they can achieve our goal to:

  1. Work out unfamiliar words quickly – including new vocabulary and names.
  2. Read familiar words speedily – that is, words they have been taught.
  3. Read texts – including the words they have been taught – fluently.

Reading beyond phonics

When children are secure with their phonic knowledge and have developed a fluent and competent pace with word reading, teachers plan and deliver reading lessons which strive to promote the joy and wonder of reading a wide range of genres and enable all children to develop comprehension of the words on the page.  Our approach is guided by the research provided in the DFE Reading Framework, which recommends that comprehension is best developed ‘by increasing and activating pupils’ knowledge of texts, authors and their own experiences’, and supporting children to build ‘mental models of the texts they encounter’ (DFE Reading Framework, July 2023).

For this reason, we plan reading lessons with a clear intent for pupils to:

  • engage in the text
  • learn the meaning of new vocabulary
  • acquire the knowledge they need to understand what they are reading.

Reading lessons are separate to but often complement English sessions, often linking to a core text or genre being studied.  Books, extracts and texts are chosen carefully to expose children to a range of diversities, enabling pupils to broaden their perspectives and see the world through diverse lenses.  We ensure that throughout their learning journey, our pupils read widely and, often, the texts we study link with knowledge acquired across curriculum areas.  Thus, sometimes children will be reading a text that consolidates prior learning from the term or year before, or they may be building some understanding of new learning that is to come.  When we introduce a new text to our children, we set the scene of the text and make explicit these crucial links of knowledge.

At Cold Harbour, we believe it is important for children to continue to practise reading fluency beyond the phonic programme, so when new texts are introduced, we spend time reading together.  The class teacher will often model reading, paying close attention to punctuation and intonation.  All pupils are then invited to read the text through partner practice, a familiar process from Read, Write Inc. sessions, where each child has the opportunity to read aloud with the support of their partner.  During partner practice, teaching staff listen around the class, while one child is reading aloud to another.  This enables the teacher to support pupils to develop their reader voice.

Reading aloud is accompanied with high-quality discussion that focuses on teaching vocabulary to enable children to construct vivid images of what they have read.  We plan to teach 6-8 words through explicit instruction of Tier Two vocabulary as defined by Beck and McKeown (2002) as ‘ambitious words that learners are likely to come across in a variety of contexts and across all subjects’.  However, we explore many more words throughout our discussion to ensure all children develop the knowledge they need to understand what they have read.

Further comprehension of the text is then explored through exposing pupils to a range of questions, sentence stems and discussion points which challenge them to convey their understanding. We use Reading VIPERS as a scaffold to support children to know how to approach and answer comprehension questions. Please see our VIPERS sentence stems which will enable you to support your child to develop understanding of the texts they read at home.

Reading as a treasured pastime

As part of our mission to ensure that every child finds joy in reading, our staff are dedicated to motivating and supporting each child to find themselves as a reader.  Weekly book club sessions encourage children to choose books that appeal to their interests or entice them to try something new, discuss their reading choices and make recommendations to peers.  For this reason, when children no longer need to read books matched to their phonic knowledge, they are invited to choose an age-appropriate book from their classroom library.

Across the school, teachers share a daily story time session with their class, reading aloud books, poems or texts to instil a love in listening to the written word and to inspire children on their reading journey.

Reading with your child at home

You are so important in developing your child’s love of reading! You can do this by sharing reading experiences with your child at home.  Watch this video to learn more about why you should read aloud to your child at home…
Parent video: Why read to your child?

Your child will bring home a book to read for pleasure from our school library and we would love for you to share this book together.   However, you are welcome to read a wide variety of reading materials that can be found at home, for example: magazines, recipe books, letters, cards or leaflets through the door.  Show an interest in reading and your child will be sure to share that interest with you.  Additionally, you could join a local library for free!  Please see how to sign up to a Milton Keynes library here:
Join the library

Need support with what to read with your child at home? Please pop in to speak to your child’s class teacher to discuss your child’s reading or visit the following website which provides a wealth of recommendations with reviews per year group that you and your child could view and choose together…
Year Group Recommended Reads