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Burrington Primary School

English Reading

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison



At Burrington Church of England School, we are passionate about reading, and consider ourselves READERS! 

Reading is at the heart of the curriculum and a vital key to adult success. We recognise reading as a useful tool in everyday life, however, we want our children to develop a love of reading; discover the pleasure of a good book and become life-long readers. We wish to inspire children with a passion for books and a love of the written word. 

We treasure our school library, situated physically and symbolically in the centre of our school.  As a staff, we are tireless in our ambition to provide children with exciting reading opportunities that stimulate a love of reading, in all its forms, and we celebrate reading both in classes and through whole school celebration services, through special roles, certificates and class awards. 

We prioritise reading because we acknowledge its importance in enabling children to access the wider curriculum, and its critical role in creating opportunities and widening life chances. We teach children to read accurately, fluently, expressively and reflectively for a wide range of purposes.   Above all, we want children to experience the true enjoyment of reading, enabling them to discover the pleasure, comfort, humour, knowledge and depth of understanding that a good book can bring.

We consider ourselves a community of readers. Therefore, we expect all adults to model and communicate their love of reading in the following ways:

  • Story time in all class at the end of the day (five-a-day in KS1)
  • Opportunities for silent reading time at KS1 and KS2
  • Shared, guided and reciprocal reading
  • Providing exciting reading areas that inspire our children to read
  • Reading with the individual children who need our support the most


Reading is taught as a discrete skill in phonics and English lessons, in line with National Curriculum expectations, but it is also woven into many aspects of the school day.  Children read independently in classes, have book buddies and share class stories alongside the teaching text. Children read prayers, have library sessions and have access to book corners and a range of topic books linking to wider curricular subjects. 


Children begin their reading journey in our Reception/Nursery class, in which we teach phonics following a systematic, synthetic phonics approach.  We teach phonics using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.  As children move through the early stages of acquiring phonics, they practise by reading texts which are entirely decodable for them from the Collins Big Cat reading scheme. (See our phonics and Early Reading Page for more information)


Reading Scheme

Reading scheme books are used to support children’s reading development and are not viewed as a ladder to be climbed or a race to be won!  We build a partnership with parents through workshops, information letters, and leaflets which help to inform and build a collaborative reading culture both at home and at school.   

In KS1, our aim is for most children to have completed Phase 5 by the end of Year 1 and Phase 6 by the end of Year 2.   Where children are not achieving this level interventions are put in place, such as prioritised 1:1 reading sessions and additional phonics support. 

Children are encouraged to read a book at least three times before it is changed, and this expectation is shared with parents through bespoke reading diaries, written communication, and in parental workshops. 

  • 1) To decode the text
  • 2) To build comprehension skills and understanding
  • 3) For reading fluency, prosody and confidence.

In addition to fully decodable books, KS1 are given a 'shared' reading book for parents to read to their child. Parents are educated on the benefits of shared reading, such as: bonding with children; supporting their growing brain, and help to develop social, language and learning skills. It also helps build a bedtime routine for a good night's sleep. 

Once children have a secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they follow our Book Banded reading scheme which has books from various published schemes, (ORT, Rigby Star, Collins) and is designed to give children experience of a variety of reading genres. There are fiction, poetry and non-fiction books within each level.  Throughout KS2, children are given books in line with their stage of reading, following the coloured book bands.  We keep children on the reading scheme, rather than allowing them to be ‘free readers’ too early, to ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of genre, and that they are supported and guided in their book choices.

Once children can read fluently, widely and with a good understanding, they are called ‘Book Explorers’ and they are then able to self-select books for independent reading from the class libraries, school library or from home. Children in Year 5/6 are given a booklet with suggestions specifically tailored to encourage reluctant boys to read, and all children are incentivised to participate in the '100 Books to Read before leaving Year 6' to motivate reading classic children's texts. 

Curriculum Texts

At Burrington Church of England Primary School, we follow requirements of the National Curriculum for reading in each year group (1-6) and follow the No Nonsense Literacy (Babcock) teaching sequences.

We use key texts for each year group as the basis to support the children in developing their reading, comprehension and writing skills.    Texts are mapped out for each year group, and are selected due to being high quality models ‘teaching texts’ of a particular aspect of the writer’s craft, their relevance to the wider curriculum, and how well they engage and motivate the children.  In discussion with the English Lead, texts may be changed to suit the needs of a particular year group or to address a particular need in the cohort. 

During the imitate phase of the teaching sequence, the class texts are explored, enabling children to question, engage, respond and reflect.  Children and teachers engage in ‘Book Talk’, during which they are able to deepen their understanding, shift their ideas and think together as a group to develop their understanding and comprehension of the text. 

We have also developed our ‘Burrington Reading Book Spine’, which documents additional texts with which children will become familiar during each year group.   These books may be used as part of the teaching sequence, during a special event (eg National Poetry Day) or as a shared class novel.  We have carefully selected these texts to engage children in their learning, promote discussion, act as a models for teaching a particular English skill, or to play a part in building children’s cultural capital.  The texts for each year groups are specifically selected to ensure that they are age-appropriate, engaging and inspiring high quality texts.   We also use extracts from other texts as appropriate, such as in our Nelson comprehension text books.   

Guided Reading

All children in the school have weekly guided reading sessions.  In EYFS and KS1, this takes the form of small group sessions, using sets of decodable Big Cat books, whereas in KS2, guided reading is taught as a whole class, using a variety of sources, such as: Nelson comprehension pupil books, VIPERS (Literacy Shed) texts, Project X books or classic novels for KS2 (Tom's Midnight Garden, Around the World in 80 days, Secret Garden, Goodnight Mr Tom, Carrie's War, Street Child, etc.) 

Weekly guided reading sessions for EYFS/KS1 enable the class teacher to hear individual children decode, teach and assess their phonic skills and develop prosody. In KS2, children are taught the nuances of vocabulary, inference, recall, prediction, explanation and justification using evidence and summarisation skills. Year 6 are taught to answer complex 3-mark questions using P.E.E.L structure (Point, Explanation, Evidence, Link)  

Within the guided reading sessions, children may explore aspects of phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar, plot development, vocabulary, characterisation and are able to discuss themes, topics, puzzles and questions. They are also encouraged to make personal links. It is through these sessions, that children are taught to enjoy books and celebrate words and language as an art form. Teachers use these sessions as an on-going opportunity to assess children in their reading, and to plan accordingly. 

Independent Reading

We support and encourage children’s independence and stamina in their reading by providing them with opportunities during the school day to read quietly to themselves.  All children are encouraged to have their reading book in school every day.  The books are either a scheme book or if the child is a ‘Book Explorer’ then they can self-select their reading book from the library during their weekly library visit or from the class book corners.  Book choices are monitored and guided by the class teachers, with the support from our school librarian, and with an awareness of the child’s interests and reading needs.

Home Reading

All children are given a Reading Record, in which they can keep a record home reading.  We ask that parents sign the record to celebrate the children’s reading.   This forms part of the children’s homework (see homework policy). Reading records are checked by teachers on a regular basis, which enables teachers to build a picture of each child as a reader, and to monitor a child’s enjoyment, frequency and their reading diet.  We award children with certificates for the ‘Number of Reads’ that they achieve (50 bronze, 100 silver, 150 gold, 200 platinum).  We also provide parents with a ‘Recommended Reads’ list at the start of each academic year to support them in choosing a variety of high quality texts for their child.  

Book Buddies

We have 'book worms (KS1) and butterflies (KS2)' reading sessions, where children from KS2 are invited to support and encourage younger readers and act as positive reading role models. 


 Differentiation and Special Needs

We recognise that children learn in different ways and may need different strategies and approaches during their reading journey.  These may include:

  • Use of ICT (Spelling Shed, Nessy)
  • Intervention groups - Individual Education plans (IEPs)
  • Additional time for class tasks
  • Differentiated tasks (such as scaffolded worksheets)
  • Personalised resources (eg laminated word cards, reading rulers, coloured films)
  • More frequent or longer in-school reading sessions
  • Peer support (eg bookworms and butterflies)
  • Personalised texts / guided book choices

For further information, please visit our SEND page. 



 Teachers use ‘Assessment for Learning’ strategies to make on-doing daily assessments of children’s learning.  This information may be obtained through observations, questioning, marking of children’s work, pupil feedback and informal tests, and is used to inform teacher planning and pupil’s next steps.   Teacher and pupil feedback may be written or oral, and is used to address any misconceptions and move children on in their learning.   Pupils are also taught to reflect on their own learning, through the use of rubrics, and through peer marking techniques (eg two stars and a wish).  

Summative Assessments

Children’s reading skills are monitored in a variety of ways to ensure that teachers have a broad and deep understanding of children’s learning needs.   We have a variety of assessment tools to available within school to use to assess children’s reading, which provide both quantitative and qualitative data.  Formal tests used alongside on-going daily monitoring to build a picture of our children reading confidence.    

  • NfER Reading papers
  • PM Benchmark assessments
  • Salford Reading assessment
  • Reading Record Analysis
  • Guided Reading Sessions
  • Parental and pupil voice
  • Past SATs papers

 We carry out end of phase phonics checks to monitor children’s progression in phonics. Teachers use these assessments to implement ‘keep-up’ or ‘catch-up’ interventions. 

  • Annually, we carry out a Neal Analysis of Reading Ability (NARA) assessment (years 2 - 6) to provide a reading age and comprehension age for pupils.  This helps to ‘build a picture’ of children’s reading, and enables us to track attainment and progress. 
  • We use NfER Reading assessments in Terms 2, 4 and 6, to provide in-year standardised data about children’s reading skills. This information is analysed through the NfER data analysis portal, which enables teachers to identify trends, common misconceptions and pupil weakness to aid planning. 
  • Pupil progress meetings are held, in which cohort data is analysed and discussed in order to identify appropriate approaches, funding decisions and strategies to best support the children in the class.
Special Events

At Burrington, we promote and celebrate reading in many ways which go ‘above and beyond’ reading in the classroom.  We enjoy reading competitions and challenges, such as our ‘Extreme Reading’ and ‘Reading Bingo’ to encourage children to continue their reading habits over holiday periods. 

Reading is further celebrated through themed weeks and special days (eg Book Week, Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day, World Book Day), and we also hold other reading-focused events such as ‘Mystery Readers’ (during lockdown, this was a great success) and annually, we invite all the children to a bedtime story, whereby they visit school, in the evening, dressed in their pajamas to listen a few stories, show off their teddies and drink hot-chocolate. World Book Day is a full-week programme to celebrate books, authors, vocabulary etc. through lots of fun activities, such as: Reading Restaurant, cartoon workshops and 'stop-go' animation. Oak Class have written poetry and stories which have been published in a children's book, part of a North Somerset competition. 

We have also held ‘Sponsored Reads’ and spent money on improving our library and purchasing 'culturally diverse' books. In addition, each fortnight, the children are encouraged to visit our own Library, as well as make use of the North Somerset Mobile Library that visits Burrington Village Square. 

Burrington work closely with North Somerset Library service to promote ‘The Summer Reading Challenge’ and the whole school created wooden spoons characters to be put on display at Yatton Library.

We have had visits and workshops by authors to inspire children to read and write, such as Jeff Kinney (Diary of Whimpy Kid) and Jen Carney (Accidental diary of B.U.G) which the children loved.  

We have also hosted local book promoters, such as Scholastic and Usborne Books, and are members of book organisations, Just About Books, a North Somerset teacher-led book group.