English at Orchard Meadow - Reading

Our Intent

Reading is a skill which underpins all areas of learning and so it is our intent that all children will leave Orchard Meadow as confident, fluent and independent readers.

Through reading, our children will be prepared for future study and later life so they can be confident, successful and fulfilled.

We strive to give our children a real sense of ‘reading for pleasure, enjoyment and meaning’ by making our learning environments rich in language and vocabulary.

Orchard Meadow readers will develop a lifelong love of reading and become as passionate about reading as their teachers are.

Through the specific teaching of reading skills, we support children’s reading journeys so that they can decode, understand and discuss texts fully.

Click here to read our English Curriculum Overview - Reading document.

Implementing our vision

Phonics and early reading

Phonics and early reading skills are taught comprehensively through the Read Write Inc Phonics programme. This applies to all pupils in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1. Pupils in Key Stage 2 who need extra support access 1:1 reading tutoring and small group sessions through Read Write Inc Fresh Start.

See the Phonics section of this website for more information.

Once the children are confident of the initial sounds, they are taught to segment and blend the letters in words in order to decode (read and to encode/ write). The children usually begin to do this in Reception following the structure of the RWInc programme, where they are grouped according to their rate of progress.

In Years 1 and 2, the children continue to follow the programme, again working in groups determined by rate of progress. During their phonics lessons, as well as revising and learning new phonic sounds, the children will apply and develop their phonic and reading skills whilst reading a range of phonic books, both fiction and non-fiction. The children are encouraged to develop the ability to read at speed, with fluency and expression, and to read like a ‘storyteller’. They also discuss many aspects of the book in order to answer comprehension questions verbally. The content of these books becomes gradually more complex. There are many opportunities to talk out loud and incorporate these ideas in writing tasks. We also have other weekly opportunities for cross curricular reading and writing where children are encouraged to use what they have been taught in their daily phonics lessons.

Reading in Key Stage 2

Theme Read

Reading core texts that serve as a stimulus for writing is a key part of our daily English sessions. We want our learners to ‘write as readers’ and ‘read as writers’. See the English Curriculum Overview – Writing document for more information.

In addition to this there is a daily reading session where reading skills are explicitly taught. These are designed to complement and deepen learning in non-core subjects and give pupils the opportunity to contextualise knowledge and read for purpose. The texts we use are carefully chosen and can be fiction or non-fiction, and we may concentrate on just an extract or we may read the whole text, depending on the unit focus.

For example, learners in Year 6 explore the Civil Rights Movement in America reading extracts from Martin Luther King’s speeches, selected autobiographies (e.g. Faith Ringold’s My Dream of Martin Luther King) as well as contemporary news articles and propaganda.

See the Theme Read Directory for a full list of Theme Read texts.

The overall intent is to create an immersive learning experience rich with meaning and purpose. We say that these ‘theme reads’ bring our topics to life and help children develop that love of reading and also learning!

Teaching knowledge through stories and creating a narrative around ideas is also a key part of our wider curriculum and intent. You are likely to see units introduced through engaging narratives such as Queen Matilda’s escape from Oxford Castle (History, Spring, Year 1) or a day in the life of a car factory worker in turn of the century Blackbird Leys (History, Spring, Year 5).

Reading skills are assessed and tracked against our reading assessment criteria (see below) to ensure that pupils are building skills progressively.

Raising the profile of reading

Classroom reading areas

Within our learning environments, we make sure there are a range of reading materials to develop children’s spoken and written language – these form displays on the wall and table-top displays, but also in our reading areas. Each teacher has developed an area in their classroom as a reading area which is stimulating, inviting, cosy and exciting – a place where children really want to go to choose something to read or go and sit and read there. There are a range of fiction, non-fiction books, as well as comics, poetry books, picture books, chapter books, atlases, new books, classic stories – and many more. Children can choose books from here to take home, and in KS1 they are also given books to take home that match their phonic ability which also includes the RWInc story book they have studied in class. We also have a beautiful, well stocked library which classes will be able to visit to also take books home to share with family.

Encouraging reading at home

Reading and celebrating our passion for reading is an important part of life at Orchard meadow. We get involved with World Book Day and hold a Book Week annually. Teachers choose books as inspiration to plan a range of activities for their children and we dress up and have competitions all associated with reading. As part of this we invite Book Fairs into school and we also enjoy having authors visit, or go to visit an author. All of these activities and ideas help develop a love of reading and show how fun reading can be.

The Orchard Meadow Reading Challenge

We want to really encourage children to read a range of literature and to celebrate their achievements when they do.

Our expectation is that children read daily and when they read to an adult at home and at school, their reading diaries need to have an adult comment/ signature by whoever they have read to.

After every 5 signatures children receive a certificate celebrating their reading. At certain points along this reading challenge journey (after 15, 30, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 reads) children are also awarded a different coloured badge to wear proudly on their uniforms – we want to see as many different badges as possible and we want children to be able to be proud of their reading achievements and tell teachers what book they reading and talk about it. At the end of each term, the class with the greatest number of reads win a book voucher to choose books for their class.

See the reading challenge roadmap above to see how readers at Orchard Meadow are encourage to read and develop their passion and skills in reading.


For each year group, there is a Core Skills Assessment Tracker that allows our teachers to identify the reading progress of our children over the academic year. These contain progressive skills that prepare our children to read at the Age-Related Expected standard at Year 2 and 6, which denote expectations from the National Frameworks.

Over time, teachers use these documents to identify common and individual gaps to plan into the learning journey. At each assessment point, our children are assessed as being either Below, Working Towards, Expected or Greater Depth, depending on which skills have been learnt.

Reading assessment documents:

Year 1    Year 2     Year 3     Year 4     Year 5    Year 6  

Reading Progression Document (by areas)

OFSTED Good School School Sports Gold Award PSQM

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