Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. In education, the term "Matthew effect" describes a phenomenon observed in research on how new readers acquire the skills to read: early success in acquiring reading skills usually leads to later successes in reading as the learner grows, while failing to learn to read before the third or fourth year of schooling may be indicative of lifelong problems in learning new skills.

This is because children who fall behind in reading read less, increasing the gap between them and their peers. Later, when students need to "read to learn" (where before they were learning to read), their reading difficulty creates difficulty in most other subjects. In this way they fall further and further behind in school. This follows through to adulthood where young people who learn well tend to get higher paid jobs than those who do not. The demographics in Barnsley where 40% of the local population have no education qualifications, with long term unemployment figures being persistently above borough, regional and national levels and most employment is in the entry level areas of retail, wholesale and construction means that the efficient and effective learning of reading has to be at the core of our curriculum.

At Hunningley Primary Academy, we want our children to:


  • Become fluent, confident and expressive readers who have both the skill and the will to read effectively
  • Read with enjoyment across a range of genres
  • Read for pleasure as well as for information
  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of literature
  • Understand the layout and how to use different genres and text types
  • Understand and apply their knowledge of phonics and spelling patterns and use this to decode words with accuracy
  • Build their bank of sight words to enable fluent reading
  • Have an interest in words and their meanings, developing a rich and varied vocabulary
  • Understand and respond to literature drawn from a range of cultures and literary heritage.

Our school understands the challenge that exists between teaching children to be fluent readers whilst ensuring that we support them to develop a life-long love of reading. To this end, we have worked hard to ensure that our reading scheme is congruent with the phonic phases and the sequence of teaching. Our reading curriculum is designed to achieve a balance between develop the Instructional Agenda (the skill) and the Pleasure Agenda (the will). This policy intends to promote a love of reading for all pupils whilst creating life-long readers who have the skills to access all areas of the curriculum with independence and confidence so that they go on to be successful in Key Stage 3, 4 and beyond.

Our reading curriculum is also planned in a way which promotes the cultural capital of all our children. We enhance our curriculum, especially for the most disadvantaged, by providing access to a diverse range of texts including those which promote different socio-economic backgrounds, disabilities, religions and cultures, and periods of history. Each year we plan to provide opportunities for pupils to watch and take part in theatre productions and have guest authors and poets into school.


Reading at Hunningley Primary Academy is taught systematically. Some teaching strategies  are generic across the whole school, whilst others are specific to key stages. Implementation is by the class teacher and is supported by classroom teaching assistants.

Phonics from the Start

What happens before formal phonics is taught? In Nursery we immerse children in activities providing opportunities to tune into sounds.

There are six aspects taught:

1. Environmental Sounds

2. Instrumental Sounds

3. Body Percussion

4. Rhythm and Rhyme

5. Alliteration 

6. Voice Sounds 

All the aspects are taught through group times and total immersion in a rich language environment. We aim to do this by providing a totally immersive nursery experience with lots of rhymes, singing time, rhyming stories, clapping rhythms, musical instruments taught through play at every opportunity.  Informal ways to explore letters: e.g. sand moulds, sounds of the week, phonics awareness through modelling writing, or sounding out words. 

We also use short discrete group times to model a variety of activities with all 6 aspects taught during the week and use carefully chosen books every day to over learn rhyming words and voice sounds. We encourage children to join in, especially with the repetitive parts to build confidence and learn. 

During the Spring Term pupils in Nursery will access more formal teaching of phonics through the delivery of the RWI Nursery programme.

Moving on with Phonics

In the Early Years, pupils will receive more formal lessons taught using the Read, Write, Inc Synthetic Phonic Programme. All our staff are highly trained to deliver this. It is taught daily, systematically both to whole class at the correct phonological stage and to discrete groups. 

It is important that the teaching of reading is matched to the teaching of phonics. As such, all children must have a banded reading book that matches the sounds they have learnt or are learning in their phonics lessons. Families are encouraged to read daily at home and record in their reading diaries at least 5 times per week.

 Year Group


Phonics Phase

Book band





End of Autumn


Aspect 1 – 6 Tuning into Sounds



End of Spring


Aspect 1 – 6 and RWI Nursery Programme



End of Summer


RWI Nursery Programme






End of Autumn


Red Ditties



End of Spring


Set 1 Green



End of Summer


Set 2 Purple





End of Autumn


Set 3 Pink



End of Spring


Set 4 Orange



End of Summer


Set 5 Yellow



Reception or when ready in Nursery:

• Children will enter Reception having been immersed in opportunities to tune in to sounds. Most children will begin the year reading a PINK book. 

• At the end of Autumn term, most children will be able to read CVC words and sight words by speed and labels. 

• At this point, the children will be ready to start RED books. 

• At the end of Spring term, most children will be able to read the Set 1 Green sounds and words and irregular words, labels and captions. They will be beginning to read Set 2 Purple sounds and words. 

• At this point the children will be reading within the RED band. 

• At the end of the Summer Term, most children will be able to read the sentences with Set 2 Purple sounds and words and decode regular words. Some will be able to decode regular words of more than one syllable. These children will be secure in RED and moving to YELLOW books.

Year 1 or when ready in Early Years:

• All children should enter year 1 with knowledge of some of the Set 2 Purple sounds and words. Most children should enter Year 1 ready to read a YELLOW book. 

• At the end of the Autumn Term, most children will be secure at Set 2 Orange and be ready to start Set 3 Yellow. These children will be secure on BLUE books.

• At the end of the Spring Term, most children will have completed Set 4 Orange and will be securely reading within GREEN books.

 • At the end of the Summer Term, most children will be secure at Set 5 Yellow and will be beginning to look at spelling patterns. They will be reading ORANGE books.

Year 2 or when ready:

• A Year 2 child at ARE will have completed RWI Sets 1 to 3 prior to starting.

• Year 2 pupils will continue to receive daily phonics teaching in groups based on phonics assessments. Most children who enter Year 2 should be reading a TURQUOISE book.  

• The emphasis now moves onto grammar, punctuation and spelling ready for the GPS SATs assessment.

• Those children who are falling behind the expected standard will continue to receive targeted phonics intervention in order to bridge the gap.

 • At the end of Year 2, children should be reading a WHITE book. 

Strategies and Aims for Early Years and Key Stage 1:

• A commitment to linking reading with writing

• Shared Reading, using a big book or text on the interactive whiteboard, with small groups or the whole class

• Guided Reading of the same text in small groups, including teaching a range of reading strategies and comprehension

• Daily and frequent readers on a 1:1 basis, for those children who need to ‘catch-up’ with their peers/chronological age

• Oxford Owl online reading platform

• Daily phonics lessons using Read, Write Inc

• Phonics intervention groups lead by skilled teaching assistants in each class where needed 

• Reading of texts linked to topic work

• Daily story time in which the class teacher reads stories to the class to promote a love of reading and model fluency

• Library visits, including the class and school library 

• Attractive reading areas around school

• Books promoted around school   

• World Book Day involving local authors, booksellers, poets, storytellers and a range of book related activities

• Extra activities to raise the profile of reading, linked to different themes.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 children learn to become fluent readers with increasingly growing comprehension skills. Children who are in a learning gap are given significant support through daily 1:1 reading and Rapid Reading Interventions to plug both their phonic gaps and reading with an adult for fluency. 

Developing Fluent Readers

Staff reading with children on a 1:1 basis, use a Fluency Rubric to determine the most important objective to work on. This is important so that the session is impactful on the learner. 














This is used in conjunction with the child’s banded reading book and when their banding changes they are reassessed on a new rubric.

Key Stage 2 Reading Skills

These sessions follow a structured weekly cycle. Teachers select texts that will immerse the pupils in their next genre for writing 2 weeks prior to starting. This will ensure a range of text types are covered and will strengthen the link between our approach of Reading as a Writer and Writing as a Reader.

The Sequence:

Day One: Introduction to the text and subject specific vocabulary. First read of the text individually and then again together focusing on reading fluency (phrasing, expression, smoothness and pace). Questions posed around making predictions and summarising what has been read.

Day Two: Further reading fluency of the text. Using echo and choral reading strategies. Questions posed around making predictions and summarising what has been read.

Day Three: Retrieval of Information. Teacher models using the skills required to answer questions in this reading domain. This will include identifying the key words in the question and having some understanding of where this answer will be found. Scanning the text to find key words and reading around them to find the answer. Emphasis is placed on answering in a concise and accurate manner.

Day Four: Word Meaning and Vocabulary. Teacher models using the skills required to answer questions in this reading domain. This will include identifying the key words in the question and understanding the meaning of the words in context by using words and phrases around it. Emphasis is placed on distinguishing between words, phrases and sentences and accurate copying from the text.

Day Five: Inference. Teacher models using the skills required to answer questions in this reading domain. This will include identifying clues within the text that lead us to infer something. Emphasis is placed on using evidence from the text to justify inferences. Inference grids may be used to scaffold and encourage more developed answers.

Assessment of Reading:

Independent Comprehension. This is a formative assessment whereby teachers give pupils a different text with questions from the taught domains presented in a similar way to those exposed to during the previous teaching sessions. Feedback will be given during the session allowing the pupils to self-assess against each reading domain. These will take place at the end of a reading immersion phase linked with the writing.

Formative and summative assessments are used to inform the planning and teaching of reading. We use weekly reading comprehensions, Year 2 and 6 SATs and termly PIRA assessments from Years 1 – 6. These are analysed using MARK online and Shine Interventions are used for pupils identified as a result of this analysis.

The Pleasure Agenda:

All pupils are read to by an enabling adult on a daily basis. This time is protected as we believe it is vital in developing a love of reading and the will to read independently and by choice. In these daily sessions, staff read aloud books at a higher level than the ability of the pupils to the whole class. They read with passion and excellent fluency modelling what makes a good reader. Staff select books that promote cultural capital and engage the interests of the pupils they teach.


As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles is enhanced.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading skills, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum and into Key Stage 3, 4 and beyond.


A Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, will be a fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning across all areas of the curriculum.


Reading Progression Skills

UL Phonics Progression

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