Reading Across the School

Here at Ashton Hayes, we love reading! Books are the cornerstone of our entire curriculum. Learning to read is central and essential to all learning in school. We put a great deal of energy into reading skills starting from the moment the children enter our Reception Class. We celebrate and promote reading daily because we want our children to develop a passion for reading. We aim to ensure that all children have a love of books.


Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We use high-quality texts embedded into our learning to immerse the children in vocabulary rich learning environments. It is essential we provide our children with the knowledge and skills to prepare them for future success. We recognise that every child has their own starting point upon entry into each year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success.



Pupil voice is so important for understanding how the children feel about their learning. Through these discussions pupils voice what changes they would like to see e.g. more reading benches or more time for independent reading. Including the pupils’ perspective helps form a relevant and child led offering. All pupils are regularly assessed to ensure we are meeting the needs for those who require additional support. School English Leader, Miss Carter, monitors the standards of Reading through classroom observations, meetings with staff, analysing formative assessment and conducting pupil voices.


How We Teach Reading

We recognise the importance of using phonics to help deliver the early teaching of reading. As a school, we are currently transitioning from ‘Letters and Sounds’ to ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ validated SSP (systematic synthetic phonics) programme.


All children in Kestrel and Sparrowhawk class participate in a daily phonics session. A combination of both daily assessment for learning and half termly assessment points in EYFS & Year 1, produces a plan for pupils who have not secured the phonics taught. These pupils will receive extra phonics input, in addition to the whole class session. The daily phonics sessions continue following our programme schedule.


Reading consists of two key aspects: word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading). In EYFS & Year 1, the pupils will receive weekly reading books directly linked to the phonics taught in class. In addition to these phonics linked reading books, the pupils also receive two banded books a week from our school library, to supplement and consolidate their reading skills.


Reading is also taught through focused whole-class shared reading, group reading and 1:1 reading. Listening to familiar stories is essential for children to be able to understand, retell and discuss stories. Listening to stories aid their verbal comprehension skills and immerses them in rich vocabulary, that is not within their spoken repertoire. The more stories children enjoy, the more they will apply story structures, descriptions, character development and vocabulary into their own story building.


In our KS2 classrooms: Buzzard, Peregrine & Owl, we follow The Literacy Company’s Pathways to Read programme for teaching reading and a range of comprehension skills and strategies, follow this link for more information: Pathways to Read is used in addition to whole-class stories and buddy reading.


Our school library offers an array of reading books. We have banded books for pupils who are consolidating key skills and we have a large offering for our free readers. Children in Year 3-6 change their own books in line with where they are in their reading journey (banded or free reader). Pupils are heavily encouraged to read at home. All pupils are accountable for their learning. This academic year, we launched the GoRead app initiative to promote home reading.


Every classroom has an inviting cosy corner and we have an outdoor reading nook. To promote reading for pleasure the children ‘recommend a read’ and produce book reviews for their peers. The children can also gain inspiration from our governor and teaching staff recommendations featured on the ‘Our Favourite Stories’ page (below).


All classes enjoy a whole-class story time at the end of each day. We feel it is so important for children to listen to stories every day, particularly longer stories read over multiple sessions, to develop their ability to retain and invest in longer story lines.


We Recommend

Guidance for parents and carers with a wealth of resources and websites

The best 100

If you’d like to listen to a story being read…

Find a suitable book:

Book reviews and ideas:

How to help your child at home:
Help Your Children to Learn 


Have a look for yourself

Click the page tabs below to have a look at all of the wonderful ways we celebrate and share stories together...