How we teach Reading

The information below is from the school's English policy. For the full document see the link at the bottom of the page.


The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading

  • comprehension (both listening and reading).


At Nancealverne the teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Phonics is therefore emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners and emergent readers.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is our aim that, by the end of their education, where appropriate, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence.


Teaching reading at Nancealverne school has a longer term approach as the children all develop at different speeds and abilities throughout their time at the school. All teachers are responsible for the implementation of differentiated teaching and the provision of outstanding resources to support their learners at whichever stage they are in their reading ability. There is a dual importance placed on symbol recognition as well as purely whole word recognition with many of the children having access to symbol communication books and AAC resources such as iPads and other specialist tools.