At Archibald First School, we recognise the distinction between learning to read and reading to learn and understand the importance of structuring the teaching of reading appropriately through Early Years, Key Stage 1 to lower Key Stage 2.

Reading is a valuable, lifelong skill that intersects all areas of the curriculum. We develop our pupils through independent and shared reading as well as cross-curricular sessions which empower them to find pleasure in reading and actively promotes the acquisition of reading skills in all subjects.  We aim to support all children to achieve their reading potential.

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

(National Curriculum, DfE 2014)

Reading Schemes

We aim to provide a broad and balanced reading experience for the children throughout their time at Archibald.

The school uses a variety of reading schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star, Big Cat and Collins which ensures that all the children have access to a wide range of books inclusive of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The books are grouped into colour bands and phonic phases. 

The children in Reception and Year 1 have their reading books selected for them by their teacher. Receiving two books a week, the children are given:

  1. A phonic based book that correlates to their current phonics teaching and learning
  2. A book with a theme/story including key and common exception words appropriate for their reading level 

From Year 2 onwards, once the children have successfully completed Phase 5 phonics, the children are encouraged and shown how to change their own books. This gives the children a level of responsibility and independence while also allowing the children to select books that interest them! We strongly advocate that by reading books that they have chosen this will only enhance their love of books as they read for pleasure.

In terms of school books, classes will have different arrangements for changing books which are shared with parents and carers. Reading diaries are used to record engagement in home reading and share children’s progress through the book band levels.

Individual Reading

Children in Reception to Year 1 are heard read on a 1-1 basis. In Year 2 and lower Key Stage 2, any children who are working below age-related expectations are supported in additional daily 1:1 targeted reading sessions.
Teachers, support staff and our ‘Reading Helpers’ listen to children read 1-1.

Guided Reading 

The main goal of guided reading is to help children apply the strategies they already know to a new text. Children also use their skills of retrieval, inference, questioning, predicting and summarising when reading.

Guided reading, at Archibald, begins in Reception. In small groups, the children work with the staff to learn about the basic teachings of reading a book – front cover, turning pages, discussion/comprehension, pointing to words, use of sounds.

This continues throughout Key Stages 1 and 2. It is important that children have the opportunity to read widely, and to apply and develop their knowledge and skills across the curriculum. 

Using a mixture of fiction books based on colour bands and well-known authors as well as poetry books, books linked to topic work and non-fiction texts linked to current affairs allows all children’s interest to be catered for as well as showing children that a whole text does not always have to be the length of a novel (which can be overwhelming for some readers), it is often a short news article. This helps children to read independently for meaning across any whole text, not just a page or sentence.

Class Reading

A key aim is to develop reading for pleasure and a passion for books. To support this, each class has timetabled sessions for class reading. A ‘Cheeky Five…’ approach is also taken when classes have additional reading slots during the timetabled week.   

Within this time, we use quality children’s books to develop our reading for pleasure agenda. Texts have been chosen to ensure that each class encounters a balance of different texts types in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence (Reading Reconsidered – Doug Lemov). These are:

  • Archaic Texts – texts where the vocabulary, usage, syntax and context are vastly different to modern texts.
  • Non-Linear Time Sequences – events do not unfold in a sequence
  • Complexity of the Narrator – a range of narrators or narrators who may have a defined viewpoint.
  • Complexity of the Plot – what does it mean
  • Resistant Texts – discover the meaning through hints, clues and uncertainties

In addition to these texts, teachers will select class texts based on children’s interests, learning themes, and popular culture.

Wider Reading

We actively encourage children to select their own books from the school library, bring books in from home and welcome suggestions regarding the texts they would like to read in future. We also encourage all parents and carers to read daily at home with their child.


Key vocabulary is actively displayed in each classroom on a designated literacy board. For themed work, this is added to throughout the topic. All topics begin with a vocabulary-based lesson and this is referenced throughout the teaching and learning process. The language introduced is the same for every child within a year group.


For Nursery children, a Reading book bag is given fortnightly with stories/poems and activities to do at home. From September 2020, Reception have access to a Reception library whilst Years 1-4 continue to access the school library on a fortnightly basis.