Reading subject specific curriculum statement

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Marden Primary Academy’s cohesive and progressive reading model allows children to explore reading comprehension from the earliest point in school, whilst also teaching children to be confident, fluent readers.

Our reading strategy has been developed in order to support and develop teaching and learning across our academy. The strategy aims to:

  • Support all children in overcoming barriers to learning caused by school closures and to close attainment gaps.
  • Ensure that ALL children are exposed to high quality, challenging texts at every opportunity.
  • Ensure children develop an interest in and a love of books, encouraging children to become attentive listeners and independent and reflective readers.
  • Develop reading strategies and skills, accuracy, fluency, understanding and response to texts across all year groups.
  • Develop a child’s ability to use and manipulate a variety of texts, both fiction and nonfiction.
  • Develop children’s experiences through a variety of texts including books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, tablet apps and the internet.

There are two inextricably linked elements that need to be taught and developed if our students are to become proficient readers; decoding and comprehension. Reading is a fundamental tool that, once mastered, opens learners to a wealth of written knowledge and empowers them to become autonomous learners. In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment, pupils require exposure to a range of developmentally appropriate learning experiences. These experiences will enable our learners to apply phonic and graphic knowledge, draw meaning from the context and the grammatical content of the sentences and develop word recognition.

We ensure that books are central to every learning opportunity; texts are at the heart of learning using an inquiry-based approach. Marden Primary Academy follows a whole-class reading approach to ensure comprehension is developed and all children are exposed to high quality texts. Reading development is closely linked with that of writing. Through talking about and reflecting upon texts they encounter, the children come to understand how writers write and it is through their critical and imaginative engagement with texts that pupils’ reading of fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts enable them to make sense of the world and their place in it.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, the pupils’ phonological awareness and phonic knowledge is developed as they follow the Phonics International programme through daily phonics teaching. Students will receive 20-30 minutes daily phonics instruction following the programme.

In Reception, the children will learn to read, write, blend and segment with the following GPCs:

  • Unit 1: s a t i p n c k ck e h r
  • Unit 2a: m d g o u l ll f ff ss b j y
  • Unit 2b: ai ay w oa ow ie igh le o a e i o u y
  • Unit 3: ee or z zz wh ea ea se ze aw
  • Unit 4: ng nk v ve oo oo y ey x ch sh th ph

In Year 1, the children will build on their prior knowledge and learn to read, write, blend and segment with the following GPCs:

  • Unit 5: qu ou ow oi ue er ar ce ge se
  • Unit 6: ce ge oe i-e e-e o-e a-e u-e air are ear ere eer ear ere ier ir ur ear (w)or our si s ge ture x f ph or au aw ie ch ou ew ti ci ssi kn wr mb st

At Marden Primary Academy, we know that phonics learning does not end after the phonics screening check in Year 1. Therefore, in Year 2, the children will build on their prior knowledge and learn to read, write, blend and segment with the following GPCs:

  • Unit 7: -le -il -al aw au al oar oor our ch tch ge dge x kn wr mb sc gu bu ch rh
  • Unit 8: sh ch ti ci ssi /zh/ si s z g ge ou ous ph gh ch wa qua war gn st
  • Unit 9: ey, eigh, ea, aigh – as ai, ey, y, ie – as ee, y – as i, y, igh, ei – as igh, Ie, ei – as ee

All children in EYFS and KS1 will practise their application of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) by reading decodable books that are closely aligned to their developing phonic knowledge.


In the Early Years onwards, it is expected that our learners have daily access to a wide range of books accompanied by the language needed to share, understand, examine and interpret reading experiences. At Marden Primary Academy, we use The Reading Rainbow in EYFS and KS1. It is important to note that The Reading Rainbow teaches the skills of comprehension and not the key skills of reading fluency.  The Reading Rainbow is taught daily, alongside phonics lessons and listening to children read. At least 20 minutes of each day is dedicated to Reading Rainbow comprehension sessions.

The Reading Rainbow requires the teacher to model and demonstrate the processes of a reader and, through sharing deeper levels of analysis and thinking, sets high expectations of the children to be able to reciprocate with greater depths of comprehension. The Reading Rainbow scheme has high expectations of the children by supporting them with high order sentence structures that demonstrate deep understanding through the use of challenging, probing questions.

A high quality text is read aloud to the class. This may be only part of the text depending on the length and complexity of what is shared. If appropriate, the children can have a go at reading the text too, but this should always be modelled afterwards by the teacher so that the children can hear the language and the model of how to read fluently. The teacher uses the ‘reading lenses’ from the rainbow to develop the children’s comprehension. In EYFS, children will be expected to talk about the text, using the sentence stems to create sentences that answer the teacher-created questions from the selected lenses.  In Year 1, this should continue however the teacher should also model written answers that can be displayed for the children to see. By terms five and six, it should be expected that children will be able to write their own answers. Evidence gathering in both EYFS and Year 1 could be the recording of short video clips of the children sharing their sentences orally. Year 1 teachers can then use the written evidence children generate in later terms. In Year 2, the children will be expected to use a combination of independent oral and written responses.


At Marden Primary Academy, VIPERS is used across Key Stage 2, using a staggered and progressive approach to teaching comprehension. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading content domains found in the National Curriculum Test Framework:

This ensures children have a sound understanding of each of the skills. The children are exposed to high-quality texts linked to the transdisciplinary theme and central idea of the class’s inquiry-based learning. The children are routinely expected to independently produce written responses to questions about the text they have read. This does not have to be a whole text and is predominantly an extract or passage from a lengthier piece. Teachers encourage the independent reading of a text to increase the metacognitive load to develop critical thinkers and independent learners. The text is then modelled by an adult and discussed with children, using questioning  to probe and extract themes and key points.

By the time the children reach the end of our reading curriculum, they will have experienced a rich variety of literature in order to have moved from learning to read to reading to learn. Reading is essential to our children’s learning: the nature of PYP inquiry-based learning will ensure that children can access a variety of materials and information sources to develop knowledge that will be applied across the curriculum. As fluent readers, they will be able to read confidently and understand what they read. They will be able to engage in meaningful discussions about literature and pose questions about what they have read to develop their understanding of a text. Children will develop a love for reading and reading will become a lifelong habit.