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Holbrook C of E Primary School

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Our approach to Reading and Phonics

At Holbrook we are aiming high with reading. We want children to become fluent, insightful readers who are excited by books and knowledgeable about authors, genres and great literature. Most of all, we want children to love reading.


A whole school approach


We read to and with our children every day and seek ways to encourage children in their journey towards being independent and enthusiastic readers. We teach the skills to help children become good readers in a mix of whole class and group reading sessions, with lots of one-to-one reading too when they are younger. We have a clear progression which sets out what provision is made for reading in each class.


Every class at Holbrook has a book which they read together. This changes at least termly. These are the books we want children to know inside out and they represent a range of authors and genres with due thought given to diversity and inclusivity. We choose our books with values in mind whilst ensuring they contain themes which complement and build on one another throughout the year, allowing children to explore concepts deeper. For example, in Year 6, during the topic ‘Into The Unknown’, Race to the Frozen North: The Matthew Henson Story allows for discussions on prejudice and discrimination which provides valuable prior context to the treatment of minority races during World War Two (which is subsequently covered in the topic ‘A Child’s War’). Additionally, when reading Goodnight Mister Tom, children can further develop their understanding of healthy family relationships and the impact this has on mental health and well-being. We put our key concepts into different contexts meaning that, through in-depth discussions, debates and questioning, children develop a secure and transferable body of knowledge by the end of Key Stage Two.




Early reading is taught using synthetic phonics. Holbrook follows the 'Little Wandle' scheme which ensures a rigorous, consistent approach to our phonic teaching. Pupils are taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading. Children in EYFS and KS1 have a well-structured and effective twenty minute phonics lesson daily. Regular assessments take place to help identify gaps in understanding, which are quickly addressed so that all children can keep up with the phonics program.


Reading fluency and comprehension


Reading is a multi-faceted skill. Our phonics approach enables children to make the best start with decoding and phonological awareness, leading to word recognition. The teaching of reading throughout school is designed to build on this, providing opportunities for children to learn and practise comprehension and fluency skills, using the National Curriculum as our framework. We use our ‘Super Seven Strategies’ for the explicit teaching of comprehension skills, with the aim of helping children become active, reflective readers. Reading is explicitly taught through a mixture of whole class reading lessons and group reading sessions. 

How this fits within our school vision


At Holbrook, we believe in the power of reading to inspire imagination, curiosity, and empathy. Our curriculum includes a wide variety of high quality texts that open our pupils up to the diversity of our world, as well as classic works of literature that have stood the test of time. We aim to expose our children to a range of genres, styles, and perspectives, allowing them to explore the world around them and develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others.


Through our reading curriculum, we strive to empower our students to live life in all its fullness, unlocking the limitless possibilities that come with a strong foundation in literacy. We are committed to nurturing a lifelong love of reading in our students, giving them the tools they need to succeed academically and beyond.



Take a look at our Reading Agenda