Reading at Highfield J&I School




At Highfield, we understand that being able to read opens the door to all curriculum areas and plays a huge role in children being successful in learning and in life. With this in mind, we are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of background, needs or ability. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum because we want every pupil to read widely and to gain a rich knowledge of each subject across the curriculum. We want our pupils’ to become life-long readers who want and choose to read themselves. By offering a wide range of texts, we aim to broaden our pupils’ minds and experiences to allow them to empathise with the world in which they live and support the development of their cultural capital. Our reading curriculum is representative and promotes high aspirations and achievement for all.

Aims for our pupils:

  • To be able to read with confidence and fluency
  • To have a thorough understanding of what they have read,
  • To draw upon a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct
  • To have an interest in a wide range of reading materials and read spontaneously for enjoyment and pleasure
  • To acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading
  • To develop an understanding and appreciation for different authors and their work
  • To meet age related expectations for reading, with the aspiration to exceed them



At Highfield, we use the validated systematic synthetics phonics programme, ‘Essential Letters and Sounds.’ This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive whilst ensuring quality and consistency from EYFS to Year Two as we use the programme with complete fidelity. As pupils begin in Reception, they further build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2 straight away. They have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through the Essential Letters and Sounds programme, the pupils are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more letters. Pupils work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound. The ’Essential Letters and Sounds’ assessment tracker is used every five weeks to assess the pupils’ phonics skills; teachers will also assess on a daily basis to identify any gaps that pupils may have in their reading and same day interventions are used throughout KS1 to ensure that children are keeping up and not catching up.

Reading in EYFS and KS1

At Highfield, every pupil, in every class, is heard reading on a 1:1 basis every day. Daily guided reading lessons are delivered to allow pupils to develop their ability to decode (blending and segmenting) and in turn to develop their fluency so that they grow into confident and competent readers. All children have a completely decodable book that aligns with their phonic level and current phonic knowledge. This further supports their fluency as readers. All children take their fully decodable book home (further rehearsal) along with a reading pleasure for text taken from the school library. Pupils are also provided with access to the Oxford Owl E Book Library which enables further practice and consolidation.

Early comprehension skills and techniques also form part of the provision in EYFS and KS1. Children are taught and encouraged to discuss and record their level of understanding of the texts read in an age-appropriate manner.  From Year 2 onwards and where pupils are reading fluently, reading lessons are primarily centred around the KS1 and KS2 reading content domains. In Year 2, children are also taught guided reading through whole-class texts.

Reading in KS2

In KS2 the focus moves away from phonics and decoding towards the development of comprehension. This is due to the expectation is that most pupils will read with an appropriate level of fluency by the end of Year 2. Pupils in KS2 read during daily whole class reading lessons with additional reading opportunities carefully planned for across the wider curriculum. A carefully selected whole class text, linked to the wider curriculum, is used as a stimulus to teach the key knowledge and skills required to further develop comprehension and understanding. Retrieval of previous knowledge – recent and distant – is part of every lesson so that children are recalling, reactivating or reapplying past learning.

Pupils who are less fluent engage in a phonics lesson twice a week to build on and consolidate work on decoding. The ‘Project X Code’ reading intervention programme is also delivered three times a week which supports pupils to quickly catch up and read with fluency. These children are also head read daily and the reading speed and fluency of all pupils across the key stage is also checked each term. 


High quality texts and passages are chosen in reading lessons, appropriate to the expectations of year groups or abilities of pupils. Vocabulary is explored and developed, with teachers providing opportunities to explore definitions of new words and make links between these words and known words. Key vocabulary from across the curriculum forms part of the classroom environment so that children understand and are able to use it independently.

Reading for Pleasure

We recognise that to develop a lifelong love of reading, reading for pleasure should be encouraged, modelled, and celebrated. In EYFS and KS1 Pupils make use of book corners and the library so that they are able to read for pleasure. In KS2, pupils are also given opportunities to read for pleasure, in which they can read books of their choosing or explore texts that their teachers have selected for them to try or again from the school library. This encourages pupils to make new choices. Teachers read to pupils in all classes each day.


Progress is closely monitored by the subject leader and the senior leadership team through regular school monitoring activities. This is then used to inform next steps for pupils, staff development and the implementation of reading across the school. 

Pupils leave Highfield as confident, competent readers who can read fluently and with good understanding. Pupils’ read for pleasure and have a real love of reading a wide range of texts. They are equipped with a secure understanding of a range of vocabulary and reading strategies. This is demonstrated by pupils being assessed as meeting and exceeding age-related expectations and having a good knowledge of a range of literature and authors. 

The impact of the curriculum is measured through: 

  • Pupil progress and achievement data
  • Learning walks, book monitoring and pupil voice
  • Pupils’ fluency and confidence

Increase in pupils’ vocabulary in written and spoken format

Contact Us

Highfield Junior & Infant School
Highfield Road
B8 3QF

Phone: 0121 647 1708



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