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Reading at Ladybarn



Here at Kingsway Community Trust, Reading and the teaching of Reading is the foundation of our creative curriculum. Our bespoke Reading curriculum has the same high ambitions as the National Curriculum and focuses on word reading, comprehension (both listening and reading) and developing a love of reading.


Our English curriculum is based around the National Curriculum. We believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to instil in the children the importance of reading and inspire a habit and passion for reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want children to have an understanding that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about change. We want to inspire all children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance from nursery to year 6. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to thrive in Key Stage 3 and beyond. 

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We believe that teaching the children to:-

  • Read proficiently

  • Read fluently

  • To exercise choice

  • To have a positive attitude to reading

  • To have a love of reading


is one of our most important duties as a school. We aim to grow a love of reading for pleasure in our children (both in and out of school) as we recognise the importance of reading to their independent learning, further success and well-being. Our reading curriculum is accessible for all regardless of gender, race or religion; accessible for all learners including children with additional needs. We have a range of tools and techniques used to support and enhance the teaching of reading, including the use of IT, drama and debate. From year 2 upwards, whilst our approach is around using one core whole class text, some pupils may not be able to access this and will require differentiated texts to ensure full engagement.  Our consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading ensures that we close any gaps and enable the highest possible number of children to attain well.

and at our other Trust schools



  • Phonics lessons using the Twinkl scheme exclusively.

  • Decodable books for every child to take home and read in school to an adult, based on phonemes learnt in phonics lessons and their phonics assessment.

  • Reading lessons to develop both skills in line with Scarborough rope approach

  • Class reads of a variety of books.


Criteria for resources 


The texts we choose are selected to ensure that we have coverage across a full range of genres and themes within fiction and non-fiction. Texts fully represent the world we live in and the community we serve. We ensure there is diversity across the text range, which includes author, characters, setting and context. Where possible, we choose whole books and sometimes  text  extracts from high calibre authors, preferably with other texts that the children can then connect with.  

Reading Book Lists by Book Band
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Grey (typically Year 5/6

Our Reading curriculum is driven by high quality diverse texts and progressively builds knowledge, understanding and skills. Through careful mapping, we have ensured that we have strong links across all curriculum areas to ensure knowledge does not sit in isolation. Meaningful links with other subjects are made to strengthen connections, enable a deeper understanding of vocabulary and allow opportunities for our pupils to transfer knowledge and language across curriculum areas, thus enhancing communication, language and literacy across the curriculum.

Black (typically Year 5)

We have carefully selected the texts that drive our English reading and writing units from Nursery to Year 6, this includes a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We have worked hard to guarantee that we have high quality texts as stimuli in our reading and writing units and across the curriculum.   These culturally diverse texts and authors have been chosen to reflect the unique cultures and experiences that our children bring to our schools.

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Brown (typically Year 4/5)

The Lime and Brown book lists have been launched this year and have a similarly diverse range of authors, settings and protagonists. After a year we will speak to the children and ask for their feedback about the texts and then the list will be updated if there are books in there that have been less popular!

Lime (typically Year 3/4)

The importance of having accessible books within the lists  -  like Dog Man – is really high as a high number of children come to Lime books in Y3 and, for those children not on that reading book level yet then it helps with inclusion for children who are keen to have a go at books on the lists that there are some that are accessible.

Reading Book Lists Implementation

Each Key Stage 2 class has a book band recommended display and has the texts out in an inviting accessible display.

There is high profile around completing a book and finishing a book review which is then copied and placed into a prize draw for a book voucher. All staff are passionate about engaging the children in finding books they love.

Key Questions VIPERS

We use the VIPERS Question Stems as a high number of schools have adopted this successful Literacy Shed inspired approach and it married almost perfectly with the Trust approach already in place beforehand. They are as follows:


  • Vocabulary  -Draw upon knowledge of vocabulary in order to understand the text.           

  • Infer  -Make inferences from the text.   

  • Predict  - Predict what you think will happen based on the information that you have been given.              

  • Explain -Explain your preferences, thoughts and opinions about the text.               

  • Retrieve - Identify and explain the key features of fiction and nonfiction texts such as: characters, events, titles and information.             

  • Sequence  - Sequence the key events in the story (KS1)      or       Summarise - Summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph (KS2)

Prioritising Reading

A wide ‘diet’ of reading is provided for our children in our Trust, including whole class, guided reading, shared reading and individual reading, and, in addition, phonics lessons daily for Nursery to year 2 and a specific scheme for Key Stage 2 children who need further support with this. We consider storytelling and the sharing of stories to be the keystone to develop the enjoyment of reading as well as modelling fluent reading and comprehension skills. We therefore plan in a shared reading experience each day from Nursery to Year 6. To ensure that reading provision is as affective as possible, Trust leaders prioritise reading and have invested in the leadership of this subject:

  • By creating a one year trust wide role for the current Head of School at Ladybarn to support the development of reading across the Trust.

  • Creating a working group to develop reading provision: including the EHT, 3 HoS and 3 AHTs

  • Creating TLR linked middle leadership roles to support the development of reading

  • Investing heavily in book lists to support the enjoyment and enthusiasm of KS2 readers

Diversity in the reading curriculum

It is so important to us that the books we choose for our reading and writing and wider curriculum texts – as well as the home reading book lists – reflect the community we serve. We want all children to find characters and authors that they can immediately relate to.  The reading challenges in Key Stage Two that have been introduced over the last 2 years have been put in place as an attempt to foster this love of reading. The book lists have been carefully selected to be diverse in character, setting and author so children feel that they find connection with the faces and stories represented. The reading challenges have been really well received and has given real momentum to Key Stage 2 Home Reading.

All of the key texts that we choose have been considered as to whether they represent our Trust’s diversity. We have worked hard to ensure this representation in our text choices.

Our Class Libraries

Across our Trust, we encourage a love of reading whenever we can; children have time daily to read books, and read books that they want to read.

All classes have a book corner, which the children are involved in managing and stocking.

We invest heavily in our class libraries and they are created with a large budget to ensure our children have regular access to high quality literature.  

All our class libraries are inviting, attractive, filled with up to date books and are a key part of all our classrooms.  

As part of our class libraries we aim to have inviting Class Reading Displays and have worked hard to ensure that all classes promote a love of reading. This ‘Book Culture’ is high on the list of our School Improvement Plan.


As illustrated in the picture opposite, this is the purpose of our reading work:  to try and to engage and then extend the children with their reading and instil a love for books. If we are successful in developing this element of the book lists work then children will find authors and genres that they love and will read for pleasure.

Children in Key Stage 2 get time each day to visit their book corners and select books of interest. They also have a weekly slot in the library and get to take books out to read at home. This is free choice in addition to their class book band text.

This will look different in KS1. Here is a reading corner in KS1. The recommended author of Julia Donaldson is a class much loved author with many accessible texts that the children will be familiar with already.

Time is given across the school day to read independently in KS1, to be heard read by a specific reading Teaching Assistant and to do Guided Reading lessons three times across the course of the week.

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If you come into our schools, you will immediately see the importance of reading. It is the foundation of so much learning and so has an appropriately high status in every aspect of school life. 

Within the classrooms, the reading displays showcase the reading culture we have developed in our schools

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EYFS Book Corners

In the EYFS the children have a range of accessible picture books in their reading areas. These areas are as enticing as possible and the children tell us they love to visit their book corners and spend time looking through the books available.

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Our School Libraries

All the children get to visit the library at least weekly in small groups with an adult to explore the books available and to select a book to take home.

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Children's Charter

Alongside this high investment in reading, we recognise our children live in the city and may have limited experiences within and beyond this. Children’s wider learning helps to broaden and deepen their reading interests so we provide a range of fully funded experiences across their time with us.  Our Children’s Charter supports this work by providing a host of unique opportunities which help to broaden and deepen learning. Each year has at least one fully funded experience such as residential trips to Ghyll Head in the Lake District and trips to museums and theatre.  These visits are carefully planned within the curriculum to enhance wider learning and to bring learning to life.  We also ensure strong prior and post learning with targeted units and text use to maximise the impact of these visits.


All Trust schools follow a cohesive whole school approach following the  Twinkl Phonics DFE approved scheme. Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing in which words are broken up into their smallest units of sound or ‘phonemes’. Synthetic phonics builds continuously on prior learning.


Our staff, children and parents are trained to use the same terminology, resources and language when talking about phonics. The children read books that follow exactly the same progression as the school’s scheme which are fully decodable.


There are four key elements that children need to master in order to read and write fluently.


Rapid recall of GPCs

Rapid recall of tricky/common exception words.

Efficient blending skills

Efficient segmenting skills


These four skills represent the cornerstones of phonics and are practised everyday to ensure children make the expected progress.


We begin teaching an understanding of sound and sound identification in Nursery and as children show readiness. Nursery children enjoy a fun and multi-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets them excited about reading and writing from an early age. They continue on their phonics journey throughout Reception, Year One and into Year Two, with the aim of leaving KS1 as fluent readers. They will also have a growing understanding of text meaning which will be further developed during Key Stage 2. From Year 2 upwards, we teach whole class reading daily. Within these sessions, there is a clear focus on the skills and strategies our children need to become competent readers.

Development in phonics is reviewed half termly which means that children who are ready to move on make excellent progress. Year One children complete a phonics screening check in June. This is another way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills, and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

Pupils in EYFS and KS1 are given additional support if required to master their phonics through targeted interventions. Pupils in KS2, who have gaps in their phonics, continue to be supported through timely and effective interventions and with decodable reading books for older pupils.

How you can help at home:-

  • Reading every night at home with your child.

  • Each child in Reception to Year 2 will be sent home with a book banded book and a decodable book linked to their phonics learning. Read these with your child and ask them questions about the story.

  • Practise reading and writing tricky words. If children know these they are more likely to gain speed and fluency in their reading.

  • Practising your children’s handwriting    

Reading National Curriculum Programme of Study

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • word reading

  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


Reading Assessments

There are National Assessments in Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6.

In Year 1 your child will sit a phonics assessment to identify which phonic patterns your child can recognise and read. The results of this test will be reported in your child's end of year report. 

In Year 2 your child will have their first SATs assessment.   The tests in Year 2  consist of a set of assessments conducted by your child’s class teacher along with two reading papers. 

In Years 3, 4 and 5 you child will be formally assessed each term using bespoke assessments created by the Trust to be accurately pitched for each year group. The assessments makes use of national schemes like those created by Rising Stars to ensure that the year group pitch of these assessments is correct.   The results won’t be nationally recorded, but they help teachers assess children’s progress and are will be reported in your child’s end of year report.

In Key Stage 2 in year 6, aged 11, your child will sit further nationally reported SATs tests. These SATs tests are more formal and consist of timed papers in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation and Maths.  The papers (with the exception of writing which is marked and moderated in school) are sent away for marking and the results are known before children leave primary school in July.  These test results will also be reported in your child’s end of term report.

Alongside these summative termly assessments, we use on-going teacher assessment to get the most accurate picture of the child’s reading level and potential. We also use the Salford Reading Test to help assess the children’s reading age. After the assessment is carried out the results are collated and intervention sessions are timetabled for those children falling below their chronological reading age.

KS1 & KS2 Tests- videos for parents

Reading Aloud
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Reading aloud is one of the most important things we do.  Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about. We have specific time set aside each day for children to both read for their own enjoyment and to hear a story being read to them.

Reading aloud slows written language down and enables children to hear and take in tunes and patterns. During this protected time, our children experience and enjoy stories that they might not otherwise meet.

During these Guided Reading sessions, it is a great opportunity for the teacher to model how to use expression, volume and pace to create tension, humour and impact.

Across the Trust, from Nursery through to Year 3, we employ additional Reading Teaching Assistants whose remit is to hear every child in their class read every day.

This unique initiative ensures that all children’s books are changed and their reading record signed. This then puts the emphasis back on to the parent to try to maintain that reading frequency. We have clear home reading reward incentives for this and the children respond to these initiatives and incentives with great enthusiasm. Once the children are in Key Stage Two and a majority of children are at a developing level of fluency, we have invested in carefully selected reading book lists as seen above. In class children love to read a book and then recommend that book to their friends, which is all part of our relentless drive to building a strong reading culture. For those children that need additional support in KS2 we have a clear provision in place to support developing fluency for struggling readers into KS2.

Reading TAs Role

  • Will be reading the decodable book with the children focusing on application of phonics skills.

  • Comprehension of the decodable books.

  • Overlearning of tricky words.

  • Focus on pupil premium children and everyone else at least 3 times a week.

Home Reading

We believe that home reading is a vital component in developing reading skill, confidence and fostering a love of reading.  We encourage our children to read their home reading books every day and these are discussed every day and changed regularly by the Reading Teaching Assistant, Class Teacher and Teaching Assistant.

From their earliest starting points our children are encouraged to develop good home-school reading routines. Parents are encouraged to read these books with their children. 

Home Reading approach by year group


Autumn term and Spring 1

  • Children are to take ‘Read with Me’ books.

Spring 2 onwards

  • Children are to take home a decodable book that is appropriate for them. This should be based on a phonics assessment of Phase 2.

  • Children are to take home a wider reading book alongside their decodable book which encourages a passion for reading.

  • If children are not ready to begin their decodable book journey they should continue only taking a ‘Read with Me’ book and begin in Reception.


  • Children are to take home a decodable book based on their phonics assessment. The book should be a book the children can read comfortably.

  • Children are to take home a wider reading book alongside their decodable book which encourages a passion for reading.

Year 1

  • Children are to take home a decodable book based on their phonics assessment. The book should be a book the children can comfortably read.

  • Children are to take home a wider reading book alongside their decodable book which encourages a passion for reading - this could be a library book.

  • When children have passed their phonics assessment up to Phase 5 - they are to be benchmarked at Turquoise 18 and beyond.

Year 2

  • Children are to take home a benchmarked book for all those children who passed the phonics test.

  • Children who did not pass are to continue taking decodable book until they are able to pass the phonics assessment up to phase 5 or the phonics test.

Key Stage 2

Most children will now have progressed onto the Lime and above Reading levels and will start the Reading Challenges associated for that reading colour


The VIPERS approach to questioning is shared with parents so as they read with their child they have age appropriate question prompts to help support the development of comprehension.


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Guided Reading

Guided Reading Lessons in Reception

  • Children have guided reading in small groups based on a decodable book linked to their phonics lessons.

  • These lessons are based on early reading comprehension skills and reinforcing and application of phonemes taught in the phonics lessons.

Reception Guided Reading Lessons will:

  • Walk through the book, where the children explore the title and blurb and are given the opportunity to predict and explore the images in the book.

  • Address misconceptions within the text

  • Discuss unfamiliar vocabulary

  • Encourage a fluency in reading

  • Encourage skimming to find keywords

  • Create a conversation about the text

  • Begin simple retrieval comprehension skills, where appropriate

  • Apply phonics skills of segmenting and blending and overlearning of tricky words. 

Guided Reading Lessons in Year 1

Autumn 1

  • Lessons based on decodable books following the pattern of Reception Guided Reading lessons.

Autumn 2 onwards

  • Lessons based on the VIPERS philosophy using a variety of high quality picture books and non fiction texts.

  • Emerging children and target children to continue interventions using decodable books following the pattern of Reception Guided Reading lessons.

Guided Reading Lessons in Year 2-6

  • Lessons based on the VIPERS philosophy using a variety of high quality picture books and non fiction texts.

  • Emerging children and target children to continue interventions using decodable books  / level appropriate texts

Celebrating Reading Events

As a Trust, we want our children to leave us with a thirst for knowledge and a love of literature and reading.  We place a large focus on reading for enjoyment, and will always find ways to connect with authors to inspire the children’s love of reading. We want our children to have a love of literature and understand how authors can inspire them in the future. What better way to encourage reading for pleasure in our school than by having a top-quality author to motivate our students about the joy of reading? We regularly have authors visit school and will connect with them by sharing some of the work that the children have done when reading their books and being inspired:


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The photo to the left shows Matt Dickinson back in school earlier this year. Matt is a successful author, explorer and film maker, and he spent the day inspiring our Year 5/6 children with some brilliant creative writing sessions.

Each year we link with a number of excellent authors. Jamie Littler, who wrote the Frostheart series, links with the Year 4 children and will respond to their work. 


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Frank Cotteril Boyce and Abi Elphinstone helped to launch our book lists by sending videos and interacting with staff and children.

Rob Lloyd Jones, author of the Wild Boy Series, has worked with the Trust across the last few years to help inspire the children to read more and to write following his style.

Book list launch video is here

Jamie Littler, Frostheart Video is here

Video from Frank Cotteril Boyce here

Video from Rob Lloyd Jones here

Video from Abi Elphinstone here


Celebrating National events like world poetry day and World Book Day are always on our events calendar and help to foster the love of reading that we set out to instill in our children.

Follow Our Reading Adventures on social media here


Covid 19 Reading Curriculum Recovery Plan

At our Trust our pupil’s well-being is at the centre of all we do.  We acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during this time, so we have worked hard on our holistic Recovery Curriculum ready to welcome back all pupils in September.

Our Recovery Curriculum acknowledges that there have been big loses to children during this difficult time. We acknowledge that every child in our school has had a different experience during this time and as a school we have prioritised the importance of investing and restoring relationships and providing space for pupils to rebuild their learning voice. We shall focus on ensuring that the pupils are ready to learn and social and emotional learning will be prioritised. “The anxious child is not a learning child.”(Evidence for learning)


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  • A whole school scheme of work has been designed for the first 2 weeks in September to support children's return to both school and reading, following the pandemic. 

  • It’s important our children understand the world has changed and their lives have changed. It’s vital they know that they are not the only ones living in this situation and our teachers share their personal experiences to encourage discussion. 

  • It’s imperative that we give our children the opportunity to discuss their feelings surrounding the current pandemic. Our reading recovery texts have been chosen to allow for that deep discussion, with a focus on speaking and listening and a reintroduction of the basic reading skills such as fluency, retrieval and summarising. 

  • Children have had a long time at home with their immediate families and their interactions will have been limited. They will need to develop the basic skills again and adjust to a new way of learning, with speaking and listening at the heart.

Our Holistic Whole School Reading Recovery Approach

1 Teaching

  • High-quality teaching for all

  • Effective diagnostic assessment

  • Supporting remote learning

  • Focusing on professional development

2 Targeted academic support

  • High-quality one to one and small group tuition

  • Teaching Assistants and targeted support

  •  Academic tutoring

  • Planning for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

3 Wider strategies

  • Supporting pupils’ social, emotional and behavioural needs

  • Planning carefully for adopting a Social and Emotional Learning curriculum

  • Communicating with and supporting parents

  • Supporting parents with pupils of different ages

  • Successful implementation in challenging times


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