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The goal of reading is to gain information, whether it is what happens to the characters in a story, or learning about the world.

Reading fluency is the speed and accuracy of decoding words. Reading comprehension is the ability to understand what you are reading. A child is considered a proficient reader when reading fluency and reading comprehension are at the same level. Achieving the proper balance between reading fluency and reading comprehension is important.

In EYFS children are introduced to a wide range of stories and oral storytelling. Whole class story times are planned at least once a day, supporting topic related vocabulary learning and developing knowledge of story structure and content. Literacy teaching and continuous provision encourage story language and a love of stories. A wide selection of familiar, topic related or skills based (e.g. rhyming) books are available in continuous provision in a welcoming reading area.

From year 1 through to year 6, children are exposed to storytelling through all subject areas. All classes have reading time on a daily basis. Sometimes this will take the form of the class teacher reading to the children other times everybody in the class will read independently. All classes have a weekly session in the school library with a selection of books that can be accessed during these sessions. Children will take home at least one library book once a week. This will be a free choice reading book which excites the child’s interest and provides opportunities for parents to read aloud to their children and may not be at the right reading level for the child. The opportunity to choose books independently will help to foster a love of books.


Fluency is the ability to read with accuracy, proper speed, and meaningful expression. Students become fluent by reading. From EYFS, all children are given a banded book to help develop their fluency. We use Read Write Inc which are matched to the phonics sound that the children are learning. In the early stages, children are encouraged to sound out, segment and blend.

Daily reading (group guided reading in EYFS and year 1) in addition to reading in literacy lessons will support the teaching of fluency. To help build up the speed at which children read the Common Exception Words and high frequency words, these will be practised during daily fluency lessons. Research shows that learning just 13 of the most frequently used words will enable children to read 25% of any text. Learning 100 high frequency words gives a beginner reader access to 50% of any text, whether a children’s book or a newspaper report. When you couple sight recognition of common and tricky words with knowledge of phonics, that’s when a child’s reading can really take off. To aid this process we do fluency reading every day, which gives children the opportunity to read as many words as they can against a one-minute timer and build up their sight recognition words. From Year 2 upwards, the children will progress to daily reading of a short text (90 – 130 words) against a one-minute timer in mixed-ability partners. The teacher will initially model how the text should be read fluently and expressively. Then, the children will practise reading against the timer, recording the words read per minute each day.


Comprehension is the ability to read a text and understand its meaning. Comprehension is a key strand of the National Curriculum and is assessed in the national tests in Year 2 and Year 6. At Kirkheaton Primary School we aim to:

1) Teach reading comprehension as a whole class. This means that the teacher can better plan activities which allow children to access reading skills. It also allows the teacher to work with the children that need it the most at that time and provide opportunity to decode words as a whole class, which is integral to comprehension. Differentiation can be achieved in many ways: the difficulty of the text the children are working on; the questions the teacher is asking them; the level of support they are receiving. The outcome of the lesson is often written but not always. Teaching the whole class the same objective removes the problem of independent groups, it allows the teacher to focus on one objective in depth and better prepares children for the expectation of written responses at the end of KS1 and KS2. 

In year 1, teaching reading as a whole class should primarily be completed as it is in reception, where the teacher reads the book and the children are seated on the carpet. The teacher will ask questions to guide their comprehension. As the children become more accustomed to this, written answers should be incorporated into these sessions.

2) Teach focused reading comprehension as a whole class. This approach involves a teacher modelling the comprehension skill using ‘think aloud’ and then providing introductions to the text that support students' later attempts at independent problem solving.

3) Make comprehension skills explicit and simple. Children need to be aware of the reading skills they are using in order to give them a greater understanding of what makes a well-rounded reader. The teaching of the skills required for each of these reading domains must be incorporated into the guided reading lessons.  

Vocabulary (explaining unfamiliar words and developing vocabulary) – Vocabulary is taught explicitly for every topic.

Inference (use evidence from the text to explain and justify/read between the lines)

Predict (what might happen based on what you have read)

Explain (explain the differences/similarities between characters/feelings/settings/plots)

Retrieve (finding information in the text)

Summarise/Sequence (summarise what a paragraph/text is about/sequence events in order)

Reading Assessment

In Reception and year 1 reading is assessed regularly through group reading, 1-1 reading, and sound/word recognition checks each half term. Reading is assessed using NTS assessments at the end of Reception and every term from year 1 through to year 6. 



Home School Reading

In the early years and KS1, reading at home books are used primarily to develop fluency. As the children become fluent readers, comprehension skills are the focus of reading at home books. A list of questions to help parents/carers ask the suitable questions are available on the school website and sent home at initial parents’ evening.  Children are given books carefully linked to their level of phonics knowledge and skill. From Key Stage 1, children are able to choose from a wide selection of levelled reading books that help to improve fluency.  Reading at home books must be changed at least once a week. Class records help teachers to keep track of how often children have read to an adult and how often children have changed their reading at home books.

Reception – During the teaching of reading fluency, an adult reads 1:1 with individual children and in a small group, and support staff change their books in line with their reading level.

Key Stage 1 – During the teaching of reading fluency, an adult reads 1:1 with individual children during group guided reading and support staff change their books in line with their reading level (year 1). By year 2, the teacher will listen to individual children during ERIC time and children will be taught how to change their RAH books.

Key Stage 2 – Children change their RAH book independently in line with their reading level up to Oxford reading level 14 from which point children are able to access free choice texts. Class teachers and volunteers will listen to individual children wherever possible.

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