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At Upperwood Academy, we believe that reading is a fundamental skill that allows children to access the full curriculum. At the heart of our approach is our drive to promote a love of reading from EYFS to Key Stage Two. Providing opportunities for children to experience good quality texts from a range of genres and authors. We provide a language rich environment in classrooms and around school exposing children to a range of vocabulary across the curriculum. Reading is not only taught in phonics and reading lessons but is taught throughout the curriculum. Children will leave Upperwood Academy as capable readers with a love for reading. They will have a wide knowledge of different authors, genres and text types and be able to discuss these confidently. 


Key Stage One:

·         A bespoke model utilising strategies from Read Write Inc is employed to support teaching, learning and assessment of phonics knowledge and early reading. There are 11 stages to our structure, which break down the sounds into groupings. We currently have 9 groups; these are comprised of 3 teachers and 6 teaching assistants. 

·         Phonic ability is assessed every 7 weeks and groups are adapted according to ability. The phonics lead is responsible for the assessment of all pupils in EYFS, Year 1 and beyond who are accessing phonics teaching to ensure consistency of approach.

·         Teachers and teaching assistants are supported to deliver high quality phonics teaching and learning. We are confident that the bottom 20% of pupils are accessing high quality teaching.

·         Staff are rotated to teach different stages of the reading journey to ensure they have a full understanding of the process of learning to read. 

·         From EYFS children alongside parents, are encouraged to independently change their home reading book. This process is supported as required to ensure all children have access to reading material at the appropriate level. Children are encourage to change their reading book every few days in KS1 to enable them to develop fluency and enjoyment of text. However, they can change them as often as necessary. 

·         In Year 2, we begin to use the YARC diagnostic assessment to inform current reading ability in accuracy, fluency and comprehension. These assessments are undertaken 3 times throughout the year to evidence progress and ensure children requiring support are identified. Our interventions are then matched to ensure a personalised approach to the teaching of reading.

·         Echo reading has been integrated into the wider teaching of reading at KS1 and KS2 as a strategy to improve reading rate and fluency.

·         Reading zappers have been introduced to support children in learning to read high frequency words on sight and accurately. This is in the early stages of implementation. 

Key Stage Two:

·          A reading structure is in place to support the teaching of reading in KS2 through a blueprint of daily activities each week. A reading syllabus has been created to ensure coverage and progression of key reading texts throughout KS2. Year groups focus on a different text each week ranging from fiction, non-fiction, poetry and songs. These texts are a combination of children’s classics, core texts used in writing and texts related to curriculum topics. 

·         Teachers use the content domains from the National Curriculum to teach reading comprehension alongside a range of activities to support finding out the meaning of unfamiliar words.

·         The key content domains we focus our teaching upon are retrieval, inference and language meaning/choice.

·         Staff training in 2019-2020 focused upon the teaching of reading fluency through developing a text marking strategy to support fluency in reading. In 2021, staff training focused upon styles of questions for inference, retrieval and vocabulary and how to specifically teach these skills.

·         As children enter KS2, the majority of children are able to decode due to our strong phonics screening results (2019-88%). Children who are unable to decode are transitioned into KS2 with a bespoke package of reading intervention to meet their individual reading needs.

·         The YARC assessment is used as a diagnostic tool to assess pupils on their reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension.

·         Reading intervention across KS2 takes place throughout the school day. Children receive short timely interventions so that the wider curriculum is still broad and balanced.

·         Reading rocketeers is a small group intervention to support early reading comprehension for children who cannot access the whole class reading.

·         The menu of interventions available include echo reading, phonics support, support with sight reading and accuracy and comprehension. The reading and spelling app Nessy is used to support reading and phonic strategies.

·         Our vulnerable readers are tracked carefully to ensure progression in reading and appropriate intervention. PM benchmarking, YARC, high frequency words and common exception word assessments are used to inform interventions and gaps in learning.

·         Teaching assistants are tasked with supporting the process of selecting appropriate reading books and changing them regularly. Teaching assistants will particularly support the vulnerable readers.

·         Regular monitoring through weekly or fortnightly drop ins takes place for teachers and TAs to support quality teaching. Teachers receive support and CPD from reading leads and senior staff to support them in their delivery. Additionally, reading training for teachers ensures consistency of approach to the teaching of whole class reading.




At Upperwood Academy we use the Read Write Inc Phonics programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading! Phonics is an approach of learning to read focusing on the letter sounds and blending them together, we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
At Upperwood we insist that children learn to decode the words effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

All children in Early Years and Year 1 are taught phonics daily for 30 minutes in order to develop their ability to decode texts by reading written words. At Upperwood Academy we use the Read Write Inc phonic scheme. Children in Year 2 and above requiring additional support with their phonics also access phonics teaching daily. 

Early readers are taught:

  • grapheme‒phoneme correspondences (the sound that is made by the written version of a letter or group of letters) in a clearly defined sequence 
  • to blend sounds in order all through a word to read it
  • to segment words into individual sounds for spelling

Teachers follow a carefully designed curriculum which teaches all word knowledge and skills in the Alphabetic Code. Children are taught in groups according to their phonic knowledge and their ability to read words. The groups are flexible and led by both Teachers and Teaching Assistants.

All lessons follow a defined structure using Read Write Inc planning. All staff undertake training to deliver phonics. Phonics Assessments are undertaken by the Phonics Coordinator on a 7 weekly basis.

Your child will be provided with a reading book which they will be able to decode using their current level of phonic knowledge. We encourage this to be read and re-read at home to develop their reading fluency. Your child can change this book in their classroom every few days or more often if needed. We do encourage children to re-read their book to develop fluency. 

Below is a link to a video clip which shows the programme in action and explains everything, including ‘Fred talk’!


This is the order in which we teach the sounds in our phonics lessons:

Reading in Foundation Stage focuses on the development of: 

  • Listening, enjoying and joining in with stories and rhymes
  • Learning basic book/text conventions – cover, title, left to right, top to bottom
  • Talking about characters, setting and plot (prediction and recall)
  • Learning letter sounds and begin to blend them together through daily Phonic lessons
  • Developing knowledge of wide range of vocabulary and high frequency words 

By the end of Foundation Stage we aim to ensure most children can:

  • Read and understand simple sentences
  • Use phonic knowledge to decode simple words and read them aloud accurately
  • Read some common irregular words 
  • Demonstrate an understanding, when talking with others, about what they have read

Activities used to develop reading skills:

  • Story telling which is fun and exciting 
  • A number of core stories which are shared regularly and linked resources are added to provision
  • Talk for Writing used to develop familiarity with texts, vocabulary and language features
  • Read Write Inc daily phonics lessons
  • Small group/individual phonic intervention
  • Shared reading sessions to reinforce skills
  • Drama activities and provision enhancements linked to stories/rhymes

From Years 2 to 6, when children have completed the Phonics programme and are able to decode a text well, we ensure that all children take part in reading and associated activities every day through 30 minute daily reading comprehension sessions. The teaching of reading focuses upon the meaning of words in context and how these contribute to the meaning of the text, retrieving information from a text, making inferences from the text as well as summarising information and making predictions. Each day has a structured approach to the teaching of reading and has a clear focus on the teaching of vocabulary. Reading and answering written reading comprehension questions is modelled and taught explicitly. 

Your child will be provided with a reading book which will be matched to their current level of ability. We encourage this to be read and enjoyed at home to develop their reading fluency. Your child can change their home reading book in their classroom.  

If your child needs extra support with their reading, we will regularly assess them to find which area of reading it is that they need extra support with. Some children require extra support with reading accuracy (their ability to know and blend sounds in words) while other children require additional support with reading fluency (the pace and rhythm of reading taking into account of the punctuation.) Many children may also require additional support with reading comprehension (answering questions about the text they have read.) If your child receives extra support in reading, this will usually be through short bursts of additional reading throughout the school day. 

We promote and celebrate reading for the whole school through book weeks each year which include a number of exciting activities e.g. dress up as a book character, competitions and quizzes, visiting authors and book fairs. Paired reading with children in other classes and year groups is also enjoyed at key times throughout the school year. In school, every Key Stage Two class has a top 20 books to read in each class and associated rewards for reading at home.  

A core spine of Reading books has been identified for each class to ensure all children are inspired by and hear the work of good quality authors. Daily story times throughout school are a feature in all classes. 

All children are encouraged to read at home from the Early Years up to Year 6. Your child’s class teacher will tell them which colour reading band to choose a book from to take home. Children are free to change these books as they finish reading them. In addition to this we encourage children to read widely at home, whether it be a good book, comics, magazines or websites. Please record any reading your child does in their reading record.

Information on how to support your child with phonics at home:



Reading at home is of huge importance! Even just 10 minutes every day can make a huge difference to your child’s progress in reading. Whether it is a school reading book or something to read at home, please encourage reading as much as you can! 

Information on how to support your child with phonics at home:



Epic is a great tool for accessing a huge range of fiction and non-fiction reading tests from home. Download the app – it is free!



Oxford Owl is great for our EYFS and Key Stage One readers - check it out!