Reading at Cowling Primary School

Reading Curriculum

Curriculum Subject Lead: Mrs Rebecca Conlon


At Cowling Community Primary School we believe that reading is the key to success. We also understand how:

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.’ (OECD 2002) and ‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

Our aims are for all our children to:

  • become engaged with reading from the beginning
  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

By the end of their primary education, we aim for all pupils to be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


Reading for Pleasure

At Cowling Primary School, we value reading for pleasure highly and seek to grow children’s love of reading by building a strong reading culture.

  • Reading is given a high priority in our curriculum. We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme and direct teaching of phonics takes place every day for all our EYFS and Y1 children from the start of the Reception year (week 2 of the Autumn term).
  • All our English units provide opportunities to read, respond and analyse texts. Additionally we timetable whole class reading sessions and/or reading practice sessions depending on where our children are in their reading journey. We also regularly read aloud to our children, both inside and outside of our English lessons and across the curriculum. Our children also read often across the curriculum: to learn from their reading, to read for pleasure and for specific purposes.
  •  All our classrooms have a well-resourced reading area, children in EYFS and KS1 choose sharing books weekly from these areas to take home and enjoy with an adult. All children in KS2 choose a book from these areas to take home to read independently or to enjoy with an adult.
  •  From Y3, all children follow the Accelerated Reader programme. These children take a Star Reading Test which will give them a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development , the range of difficulty level of books a child should read to allow for independent reading which enables the children to select home reading books at an appropriate level. Once children have completed their reading book, they take an Accelerated Reader reading practice quiz on that text to ensure that they are comprehending their independent reading. The results of these tests, along with the teacher’s judgement, help us to decide whether the child is ready to move on to more challenging texts. It is through this that we ensure progression in the children’s home reading.
  •  Children from Year 3 also have access to an online centre of books on MyOn linked with Accelerated Reader.
  •  We take part in World Book Day and from 2023 we will be organising visits to the local library as well as a visit from an author or illustrator annually.
  •  We are committed to ensuring all our staff become experts in teaching reading.
  •  We engage our parents and ensure they know the importance of reading, our schools approach to teaching reading and how they can support their child with their reading at home.
  •  We encourage all our children to take part in our reading challenge.


Reading Ambassadors

At Cowling we have Reading ambassadors from Year 5 and 6. Reading ambassadors are chosen for their love of reading , their effort and resilience when it comes to reading and their willingness to share their passion and enthusiasm with others to promote reading throughout the school. Their role involves:

  • Encouraging others in school to read, including the staff
  • Share book reviews and recommendations
  • Running a weekly Reading Club
  • Sharing a ‘walking library’ in the playground.
  • Help to maintain and grow our library and class libraries
  • Working with our local library service
  • Help with whole school reading events
  • Create displays to promote reading within school
  • Put together a half termly reading newsletter
  • Making announcements in assemblies. 

Our Curriculum:

  •  Early Reading and Phonics

At Cowling Community Primary School we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in week 2 of the Autumn term.

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ambitious expectations of progress.

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week in Reception and Year 1

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These  are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of children and use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids.

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

o   decoding

o   prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression

o   comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

Keep-up lessons

Any child in EYFS, year 1 and 2 who needs additional practice has keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the keep-up resources. We reassess these children every 3-4 weeks.

Additional reading practice sessions

Our children in years 2 and above, who still need to practise reading with decodable books, continue to have reading practice sessions. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. These sessions are in addition to their whole class reading sessions explained below (Y1 to Y6).

Rapid Catch-up

Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up is a complete catch-up programme that mirrors the main phonics programme but has a faster pace. It has been created to help children catch up quickly. By the end of the programme, children should be reading with enough fluency and accuracy to access the curriculum in class, and to read with enjoyment and understanding.

Currently, every child in KS2 who cannot read at age-related expectations is assessed to see whether or not our Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up programme is appropriate for them. If it is, these children are taught in small groups and have two 20-minute lessons a week that teach phonics and spelling. They also have a review lesson and two reading practice sessions.

Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.

Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.

Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.

  • Y2 to Y6


The DfE’s Reading Framework Update 2023 explicitly highlights fluency as the bridge between word reading and comprehension stating:

‘Pupil’s need to read with increasing automaticity so they can concentrate on the content of what they are reading. Fluency is the number of words a child can read accurately per minute, and also includes prosody. The journey to adult fluency takes considerable and continuous practice; it is therefore useful to consider fluency as progressive: children should be fluent for their age and stage. Once children have practised decoding the same word several times, they become more able to read the word ‘at a glance’. Familiarity with texts also supports fluency development.’


  • To address this, from Spring term, Year 2 follow Little Wandle Fluency, following on from their Little Wandle phonics programme. Children identified as requiring fluency intervention support are also highlighted and follow the same Little Wandle Fluency programme as an intervention.
  •  In Year 3 to 6 children participate in whole class reading sessions. Teachers select from a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, extracts or whole novels/books. Each lesson begins with looking at vocabulary in context as well as explicitly teaching word class.
  •  Texts are always modelled by an adult. The focus here is on modelling fluency, expression and correct punctuation. We emphasise the importance of the role of the teacher/adult when reading aloud as the best model for fluency and positive impacts for children’s comprehension. The children read the same text either in pairs or using choral/echo reading.
  •  The next focus is on vocabulary and rapid retrieval.. There is a lot of time to talk about different aspects of the text, modelling how we might infer, predict, summarise or explain.
  •  The final element is comprehension the children do independently. This is the outcome and not the skill.
  •  The same text could be used for the whole week, sometimes two weeks.


Through our high quality teaching of English, we aspire for all children to reach age related expectations or above by the end of each year group.

How we measure impact:

  •  Early Reading and Phonics

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Summative assessment for reception and year 1 is used every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the keep-up support that they need.

We complete fluency assessments to measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short one-minute assessments. We use this  in Year 1, when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books,  with children following the Rapid Catch-up programme when they are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books and   to assess when children are ready to exit our SSP programme.

We use a placement assessment with any reception or Y1 child new to our school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

  • Y2

When children have graduated from our SSP programme they progress onto Little Wandle Fluency. Teachers choose the correct initial assessment. The initial assessments assess children’s reading rate: the number of words read correctly in one minute. This allows teachers to calculate an accuracy rate for each child.  Once these have been carried out the teacher can then choose the correct fluency level of the child.

We are looking for a reading rate that shows the cognitive load is light for the child. We want children to be growing in confidence and speed as they read.


At the end of the year Year 2 pupils will also sit a summative Sats style assessment paper.

  • Year 3 to 6

We carry out summative assessments using the Rising Stars Progress papers in October, February and June with our KS2 children. We use these assessments and their gap analysis, alongside our formative assessments, to adjust planning and teaching in response to all of our pupils’ needs, including SEND, enabling additional support to be provided as soon as they need it.

Children following the Little Wandle Fluency programme in Year 3 to 6 are assessed every 6 weeks before moving on to the next Fluency stage.

Alongside this children complete 3 star assessments throughout the year to track their reading age in years and months as well as their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): The range of difficulty level of books a child should read to allow for independent reading.