English -Reading

Reading Intent

Good literacy skills provide us with the building blocks not just for academic success, but for fulfilling careers and rewarding lives (EEF, 2017). 


Northam Federation believes reading 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 our pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject ready for their forthcoming secondary education.    


Our curriculum teaches pupils word-reading skills to read a variety of genres and enable them to be  active participants in discussions about texts, using comprehension skills. Pupils enjoy the social element of storytelling and are curious about an author’s choices and background. 

Pupils take risks when choosing reading books, by independently exploring their own likes and dislikes. Pupil’s enthusiasm for reading helps them to become successful, life-long learners.


Key pedagogy underpinning the teaching of reading at Northam Schools' Federation:
Choosing the right text:
Using the philosophy pf Emmett Betts from 'Foundations of Reading Instruction', we choose 'instructional' level texts in the teaching of reading.
Emmett identified three levels of text:
  • Independent (the pupil needs no support to access this text)
  • Instructional ( a bit harder, but not so hard that students can’t improve their reading from working with them under the guidance of a good teacher)

  • Frustration (books so difficult that learning would be unlikely even with a supportive teacher)

Before reading:
Teachers think about and talk to pupil about the background of the text​.  They preview the text with a walk through​ (without reading), this is particularly important for some pupils with SEND. And lastly, they identify the purpose of the text.
Close Reading:
We follow the core principle that students readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature.  To achieve this we follow advice from Mortimer Adler who advocates three reads:
  • The “first read” determines what the text says and focuses on the key events.

  • The “second read” determines how the text works and unpicks what the author was trying to achieve.

  • The “third read” allows the reader to evaluate the quality and value of the text and connect it to other texts.

Teaching the Reciprocal Reading skills:
Within our sessions teachers scaffold and plan for the teaching of key reading skills: 
Reading is a complex, multifaceted process,
  • Predict​ - Previewing: activating prior knowledge, predicting, and setting a purpose.

  • Clarify​ - Knowing how words work: understanding words through strategic vocabulary development, including the use of graphophonic, syntactic, and semantic cueing systems. Monitoring: asking whether a text makes sense and clarifying by adapting strategic processes

  • Question - Self-questioning: generating questions to guide reading  

  • Infer​ - finding the hidden meaning -  making connections: relating reading to self, text, and world, creating mental pictures

  • Explain​ -  making judgments

  • Summarise - synthesizing important ideas

Reading Implementation
The teaching of reading focuses on two main strands: language comprehension and word recognition. Skilled readers develop when they have a firm grasp of both strands as demonstrated by Scarborough’s Reading Rope (2001). 
Word recognitionWord recognition begins with early reading through a systematic synthetic approach to phonics teaching. At the Northam Schools' Federation, objectives and progression are based on the Letters and Sounds strategy; however, teachers use this in combination with Read, Write, Incand Sounds Write resources to ensure the needs of all pupils are met 


Language comprehension: The drawing together of knowledge to develop reasoning and understanding is essential for language comprehension. The four skills of reading – predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising form the foundations for this process and underpin all strategies for the teaching of reading. Learning objectives are taken from school progression documents and are tracked using an assessment programme called SIMs. Teachers meet the needs of all learners by developing these skills in: 

  • Whole class shared text time (daily adult led sessions where pupils listen and respond to a high quality text.)

  • One-to-one reading sessions (collaborative adult and child sessions, where the adult facilitates progress by addressing individual barriers to learning) 

  • Whole class guided-reading sessions (adult led sessions, where a text has been chosen to stretch and challenge and is followed up by a high quality teaching and learning activity) 

  • Independent reading (parents are encouraged to question pupils about their reading books, and children respond and write book reviews)

  • Cross curricular reading  (pupils use texts in other subject areas to retrieve information, learn new knowledge or develop skills)