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Dudley Wood Primary School and Pre-School

English - Reading


At Dudley Wood we believe that reading is a fundamental life skill that opens up a world of opportunities, and we are committed to helping every child develop a lifelong love of reading. Our aim is to provide all pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to become confident and enthusiastic readers. Our curriculum is designed to expose children to a wide range of high-quality texts from different genres and cultures, and we encourage them to read for pleasure as well as for learning.


Reading is a priority. Our curriculum is designed around the needs of the pupils in our school and there are a variety of approaches to enable all children to make at least good progress. The curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards building cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills to ensure children love, learn and live as global citizens in an everchanging world.


The aims of teaching reading in our school are to develop pupils who:

  • read confidently, fluently and with good understanding across both fiction and non-fiction;
  • show high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards reading;
  • rapidly acquire a secure knowledge of letters and sounds and make sustained progress in learning to read fluently;
  • develop a love of reading;
  • develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge;
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic;
  • use conventions for reading, writing and spoken language accurately;
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
  • use appropriate language in order to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.




At Dudley Wood we prioritise phonics for all pupils from pre-school and into Key Stage 1.  We follow a DFE approved systematic synthetic phonics scheme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, and have made conscious decisions regarding timetabling in order to prioritise the teaching and learning of phonics and early reading.


Little Wandle is a clearly sequenced and progressive programme. Each lesson follows the same format - review previous sounds, learn today’s sounds, review previous tricky words, learn today’s tricky words, write a sentence.  Phases 2 and 3 are embedded within Reception before they master Phase 4 blends and Phase 5 alternate phonemes and spellings in Year 1.  Each week, learning is reviewed on Friday.


In Year 2, there is a continuation of the 3 x weekly reading group session – decoding, prosody and comprehension.  During the Autumn term there is a Phase 5 review.  This is then followed by Bridge to Spelling as a precursor to a weekly spelling programme during the Summer term.


As well as the daily phonics lesson, pupils apply their knowledge in guided reading 3 x a week. Pupils read a book which is matched to their phonic knowledge and is fully decodable, in a small adult-led group.  There are 5 adult-led groups in each class.  They read the same book in each of the 3 sessions that week; the first time for familiarity, the second time for prosody (intonation), and the third time, for comprehension.  The pupils read a new book each week which is closely matched  to the phonic sounds that the children are learning.


Staff carry out regular 1:1 half termly assessments on the phase that the child has been taught during the half term.  This triggers early intervention, if required, in the form of an individual or small group Keep-Up plan.  These are in addition to a child’s daily phonic lesson and address identified gaps in their phonetic knowledge.  


Children who have not mastered phonics, move to Little Wandle’s Catch-Up programme to ensure every child in Year 2 or above who cannot read at age-related expectations gets urgent, targeted support so that they can access the curriculum and enjoy reading as soon as possible.  Identified children are heard read daily by an adult.



Reading Scheme


When children are secure with their phonics, they transfer to our reading scheme - Oxford Reading Tree.  This is supplemented with other schemes in order to provide breadth to those children who require further support. All pupils experience a breadth of genres in both fiction and nonfiction.


Oxford Reading Buddy support the teachers’ assessment of reading and to develop the children’s comprehension.  This is an additional online element to Oxford Reading Tree that supplements the physical scheme.  The children can access virtual copies of their reading books, as well as further levelled texts, and challenge themselves with comprehension quizzes.  This informs both parents and teachers of their progress.  We encourage the children to access this on a weekly basis.


Reading Skills


The teaching of reading skills is delivered through weekly Reading Skills lessons which are based on Complete Comprehension (Schofield and Sims).  From Year 2 (Spring term) through Year 6 the children receive 3 x 45 minute lessons per week that focus on the reading content domains.  We follow a sequence of lessons:

  1. Vocabulary (pre-teach to explore new and unfamiliar language)
  2. Prediction (using knowledge of language and themes to identify purpose and genre of text)
  3. Fluency
  4. Modelling (each 2 week unit focuses on a different reading domain as outlined in the National Curriculum)
  5. Independent comprehension (opportunity to practise skill taught and modelled in previous session)
  6. Independent comprehension (retrieval practice of the other 7 reading domains)


The eight domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc.

VIPERS is a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions and help to address and guarantee coverage of the reading domains:

V – Vocabulary;      give and explain the meaning of words in context

I – Infer;                   make inferences from what has been read, and explain and justify with evidence from the text

P – Predict;             calculate what might happen from details stated and implied

E – Explain;            a) identify how content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole;

                               b) explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases; and

                               c) make comparisons within the text.

R – Retrieve;           identify key details from fiction and non-fiction texts

S – Sequence;         (KS1) identify and explain the sequence of events in texts

   – Summarise;       (KS2) condense main ideas from more than one paragraph


Reading in our school is progressive and planned to meet the needs of all children. The success of our reading curriculum, will be seen when children become readers.   They will demonstrate an obvious enjoyment of reading, discussing their book choices and recommending books to other; they read for pleasure both within lessons across the curriculum, and in their everyday life, gleaning knowledge and understanding. Teachers use assessment to embed knowledge. Formative and summative assessments are carried out regularly to ensure children are accessing books of the right level and are being challenged in their reading. At the same time, we provide books to ensure that children read for pleasure and learn to love reading.


If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making expected or more than expected progress.

In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

• Phonics assessment;

• Phonics screening results;

• Oxford Reading Tree levels;

• Reading Tracker and Progression Document;

• Summative reading assessments each term NFER;

• End of Key stage SATs results


Our pupils work through the Oxford Reading Tree strands before moving onto the Tree Tops components in Key Stage 2.  We would anticipate a pupil who is at the expected standard to be reading specific levels by the end of each school year.

Whole school overview