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Hilltop First School and Foundation Stage


In-school reading

All children in Reception read with an adult at least once a week.  They will also engage in shared reading of Letterland texts during daily Phonics Lessons. Alongside Phonics skills, children are systematically taught to read irregular words by sight.


Weekly reading for every KS1/2 child includes:

  • group guided reading session with a classroom adult
  • individual reading with a classroom adult
  • Comprehension focus lesson

Additional reading for targeted KS1/2 children could include:

  • Weekly reading with a volunteer
  • Weekly reading with PPG support assistant


Other reading experiences:

  • Listening to an adult read a text daily whenever possible
  • Listening to audio books
  • Reading ebooks
  • Silent reading
  • Partner comprehension (Close Reading)
  • Shared reading during Phonics Lesson


Guided Reading sessions

We use Quick Read Cards for adult led Guided Reading.  Groups not working with an adult will be involved in a range of reading focussed activities.  These are purposeful and planned by the class teacher.  Once children are capable to work independently, one of their weekly activities will include working on a Close Reading comprehension task with a partner or small group.  


Comprehension Lessons

Half the class will visit the library at a time each week with a TA.  After exchanging their library books, they will sit and complete a Cracking Comprehension Task or written ‘60 Second Read’ comprehension task in their comprehension books.  At the start of the year, Year 1 comprehension lessons take place orally.


Out of school Reading

Children in Reception and Year 1 are set Letterland ebook stories each week for their home reading practise.  These will be linked to their level of Phonics confidence and will have already been read in class phonics lessons.   They also take home a wordless (lilac/pink band) book to promote storytelling and expressive and comprehension skills.  Once Year 1 children are reading with a good level of confidence and fluency they will progress from a wordless book to an appropriate colour banded book which they can choose and swap as often as required.


Children in Year 2 -4 will take home one colour banded reading book at a time but these can be exchanged as frequently as needed provided that there is a record of the child having read the book confidently at home.  The class teacher will determine when a child is ready to move on to a new colour band.  Children should not be moved on until they are reading confidently at the current level with around 95% accuracy. Where a child is exchanging books frequently and yet not making progress through the bands, the class teacher will discuss home reading routines with the parent/carer.


Coloured Book Bands:








































Children are encouraged to read at least 4 times a week with an adult outside of school.  A record of this should be made in the Reading Diary.  Parents are asked to initial in the calendar at the front of the book and write a short description of challenges or successes experienced.  Children in KS2 who are confident and competent readers may record their own comments but it is still necessary for the calendar to be signed by an adult.  Even these children should be encouraged to read aloud to an adult at least once a week to practise fluency, expression and pace.



Ongoing pupil progress is monitored through notes made by adults during guided reading sessions and their progression through the coloured book bands.  Additionally key levelled texts have been identified and agreed as benchmarks for the end of each term in Years1-4.  Each child reads 1:1 with the class teacher and discusses the text.  This process is used to consistently measure whether the child is working at age related expectations for that stage of the year.


Catch up

All pupils in Year 1 are assessed using an agreed Letterland Fluency list.  Lower scoring pupils are identified for targeted 10 minutes daily intensive letter recognition / blending work with an adult.  Pupils in Year 1 are not taken out to the main class Phonics lesson for catch up purposes.


Children in Year 2 who are still working at a Year 1 level in Phonics join the daily Year 1 Phonics lessons accompanied by a member of the Year 2 staff team.


Children in Year 3 or 4 with SEN who are still working at a Year 1 level in Phonics have access to all Letterland resources and are set the same home reading tasks as the Year 1 children.  In school support is either coordinated by class teachers or the PPG TA.


From Nursery, pupils visit the school library to choose library books to take home and enjoy with parents and siblings.   In addition to 'set' reading books, families are encouraged to enjoy familiar stories, talk about the pictures and retell the events of the story. 


Why do we teach reading this way?

  • The more a child reads, the more confident and competent they will become.
  • Reading becomes more pleasurable as it becomes easier.
  • “Fluency develops as a result of many opportunities to practice reading with a high degree of success. Therefore, your students should practice orally rereading text that is reasonably easy for them” (Armbruster et al., 2003, p. 27).  
    • Independent level text (relatively easy for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 20 words difficult for the reader; 95% success or higher; with 90% comprehension).
    • Instructional level text (challenging but manageable text for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 10 words difficult for the reader; 90% to 94% success; with 75% comprehension).
    • Frustrational level text (problematic text for the reader, with more than 1 in 10 words difficult for the reader; less than less than 90% success; with 50% comprehension
  • Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read. To be able to accurately understand written material, children need to be able to:
    • decode what they read
    • make connections between what they read and what they already know
    • think deeply about what they have read

One big part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary, or knowing the meanings of enough words.  Readers who have strong comprehension are able to draw conclusions about what they read such as identifying what is important, what is a fact, what caused an event to happen, which characters are funny.  Comprehension involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning.