At Highfields Spencer Academy we value the role that reading plays in a child’s education and, indeed, as a key life skill that will prepare them up for future endeavours.



Our Phonics provision aims to be outstanding. Using Phonics Play and Twinkl phonics our children will be taught daily, for 25 minutes – whole class and small, targeted groups – across F1 and F2 and KS1 to ensure they are challenged constantly.

Using small group work allows staff to pinpoint any individual who may need additional support in this area and will plan intervention activities if required. Teachers will always keep you informed if your child is having additional support. Planning is completed collaboratively and regularly reviewed to ensure consistency, progression and continuity for all pupils. There will be opportunities throughout the year for parents/carers to attend phonics training sessions, observing how phonics is taught and giving them the knowledge required to best support their children with reading and writing at home. Our Sounds & Syllables spelling strategy will be built upon excellent phonic knowledge across the whole school.


Reading Schemes

We currently will use Dandelion Readers in F2 and Year 1 so that they children have at least one book to read at home that matches their current phonic level. Children from Year 1 upwards take home books from a range of publishers including Collins Big Cat and Project X (Oxford University Press) that are colour book banded. These will be well-resourced and located centrally. Alongside these, non-schemed books are colour banded, which allows children to take ‘real’ books home as well. We will provide a diet and range of books at different levels within a book band.


Opportunities for Reading

In line with the New Curriculum for reading, we encourage staff and children to read from a range of authors – modern and classic – to broaden their experiences. Our children read regularly in a range of situations and across the curriculum. This includes reading as a whole class, in small groups and 1:1.

Topic-linked texts are included in our knowledge-based curriculum wherever possible to enhance the children’s learning and as a tool for developing them as skilled writers. We recognise the importance of picture books too and link these from F2 to Year 6, including whole school days eg. ‘Take One Book’.

Whole school displays will emphasise the love we have for reading – staff and children. We want to teach our children something new with every book they read in order to equip them to be independent thinkers, to argue their point using evidence from the text and, most importantly, to take pleasure in what they are reading. There is nothing a teacher wants to hear more than the ‘sigh’ from the children when the text they are reading ends and they want to read on. Our children and staff will be encouraged to share photos of them reading in the most ‘peculiar’ of places for our reading corners!


Mastery for Reading

In our Mastery for Reading curriculum, children work together on a single text, using ‘real’ books. Where possible and appropriate, books will be topic-linked, and every text the children read will extend their knowledge of the world, complementing the aims of our new knowledge-based curriculum. Whole class sets of books will be provided so that the children have access to high-quality texts, deepening and broadening their vocabulary. Modern and classic authors are incorporated as well as poetry.

Texts will be read in a combination of modelled reading by the teacher, individual readers or choral reading (children together).


Reading for Pleasure and Home Reading

Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These key skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.


Class Book Corners

We love reading at Highfields Spencer Academy Primary School and we want to make sure that every classroom from Nursery to Year 6 has a well-stocked and inviting Book Corner. In our Book Corners you will be able to find everything from newspapers to poetry, non-fiction to fairy tales and picture books to classic popular fiction. In all year groups, we will encourage children to be reading at home every night. Sharing a book together with your child is bonding, relaxing and gives you the opportunity to escape into another world with your child. Reading for pleasure will help develop your child’s vocabulary, communication, concentration, empathy and imagination. Whether this is sharing books by reading together (when children are in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and 2 this is crucial) or beginning to read more independently, we advise that all children read for 20 minutes a day.


Reading Environment

It is our aim to promote reading across the whole school, constantly strive forwards, searching for new and innovative ideas to develop reading further.

We aim to have amazing reading environments in school for pupils, which will include a Reading Shed, a Harry Potter themed sleepover, and a Storytelling Chair and surrounding benches, all found on our school playground. We will have two whole school book themed weeks each year, a World Book Day celebration and we will encourage books to be shared through buddy reading classes as the school expands.


Community Links

We will have close links with our local Library, and the children in EYFS and KS1 will regularly visit the library to share and exchange books.

Links with a local residential care home will enable our children to read to a ‘real’ audience, and classes take it in turns to visit the residents, sharing a range of texts including picture books, poetry and joke books.

We will encourage volunteers to come and listen to pupils read as part of our whole school reading approach and we will use Secret Storyteller, where parents will be invited to come and volunteer to share their favourite children’s book with their child’s class as a surprise!

  • Click here to view our reading policy.