Our Approach to Reading

We love reading at Acre Heads!

No matter how, when or where – we aim to foster a love of reading. We’re generally book mad as a staff and we are passionate about promoting reading for fun, information and communication. We do this as a whole school and we also do this in classes. Each class has its own library within the classroom and the children are free to borrow and change their books as often as they like.

There is a bucket list for each year group in Key Stage Two – this consists of books that children should read as determined by the Literacy leader in consultation with the children. The books have been chosen for their high level of popularity and are highly regarded, age appropriate books.

We celebrate International Book Day every year by providing an exciting text rich cross curricular ‘Mega’ Day. From time to time we plan other Mega Days too; recent days we have enjoyed were Mega Roald Day, Mega storytelling day and Mega Poetry Day. Classes often write stories and read them to other children in school in shared reading sessions. We have held many ‘pop up’ book stalls and book swaps and there is always a display of recommended reading up somewhere in the school.

Children get the chance to impress parents and the community with their reading when they attend class assemblies and church services.

How to teach children to tackle unknown words

Encourage children as you read together to use the following skills:

  • picture clues
  • segmenting and blending
  • syllable counting
  • read around the word using the context of the sentence
  • use punctuation to help it make sense
  • look for words within the word
  • see if the word is similar to an unknown word
  • have a good guess
  • use a dictionary to find possible definitions

Year group expectations

Each year group has it’s own National Curriculum expectations.  Click on the links to see what your child should be able to do from Y1 – 6.  Why not print it off and help at home?

Year 1 Reading Expectations
Year 2 Reading Expectations
Year 3 Reading Expectations
Year 4 Reading Expectations
Year 5 Reading Expectations
Year 6 Reading Expectations

FS / Key Stage 1

• From day one we read, read, read. We read to and with the children. We get them excited to be in the world of story. They generally want to read for themselves because they are curious about books.

• Children first learn their letter sounds and names and then apply these to word building. At the same time they are encouraged to read stories from pictures. We use both ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ schemes as the basis for our phonics teaching. These are both highly recommended synthetic phonics schemes. They are practical and fun. The children also learn key words by sight.

• Children read individually, in small groups and as a whole class. A wide variety of different genres are chosen at an appropriate level of interest and comprehension ability for each group of children.

• Children are supported with vocabulary practice. As well as being able to read the text fluently, children are required to discuss the content of the book and their opinions about people, places and events. We have many more able readers who are able to discuss in greater depth. They are expected to be able to comment on the varied themes of different texts.

• Our core reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree but the scheme is reinforced by the use of other schemes at an appropriate level.

Key Stage 2

• Reading is greatly developed and widened at this level. The children will read every day in their Guided Reading group and still pursue their independent reading book.

• There are many opportunities for shared reading in lessons throughout the day.

• We encourage children to use their discernment and exercise their choice whilst giving them a broad range of material to experience.

• Skills acquired in Key Stage 1 are consolidated and struggling readers are given a wealth of strategies and support according to their needs. Dyslexia Action and the School SENDCo will be involved in the assessment of and planning for any specific reading issues.

• Generally, children are given opportunities to look at texts in greater depth, in terms of ideas, themes, specific authors, strategies for composition and language used by the author.

• Comprehension plays an even more vital role in children’s reading at this level. Much of the work done in Year 5 and 6 is to develop this skill.

Julia Donaldson’s top reading tips


Julia Donaldson has written some of the most popular and best-loved children’s stories including The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom, The Highway Rat, Zog and Stick Man.

She is also the author of the popular phonic Songbirds series, part of Oxford Reading Tree published by Oxford University Press.

Watch these videos of Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson talking about some simple and fun ways you can help your child with their reading at home. Guaranteed to make reading fun and help your child develop a love of reading.

Helping your child with reading

A great deal can be done in the home to help your child with reading.  The link below gives tips on how to inspire readers and share books with your child.