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Bolton Primary School

Caring - Inspiring - Enjoying - Excelling


Reading at Bolton

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. (The National Curriculum)

Reading at Bolton

Subject Lead: Ruth Elstone (KS2) and Debbie Tinkler 'Reading lead' (KS1) (Both since September 2020)

Monitoring Governor: Jane Morris (Since September 2023)



The 2019 Y6 SATS results show  79% of our pupils reaching the expected standard or above and 50% at greater depth.

Ofsted January 2020 on Early Reading: ' Children learn letters and sounds quickly. Adults check the progress that children make through the well-planned phonics programme. They make the most of opportunities to link phonics to handwriting. Children read books that are well-matched to the sounds that they know... If children fall behind, they receive good support and catch up quickly. Adults are well-trained. By the end of Y1, nearly all pupils achieve the expected standard.'


We place great emphasis upon reading and provide the children with an interesting range of books and other reading materials. We want them to read fluently and with understanding so that reading becomes a real source of enjoyment and pleasure.

The school uses VIPERS to teach the six reading domains: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Summarise/ Sequence.

We encourage all our pupils to 'Strive for Five' home-reads.

We encourage and welcome support from home with fostering reading for pleasure and ask parents and pupils to use the logs provided when reading at home as a way of monitoring their reading. The school aims to regularly provide workshops and support sessions for parents to help with learning at home. Children are encouraged to read and share books with their peers and this includes poetry and non-fiction. We also have a bedtime reading basket for each of our classes to encourage reading for pleasure. 


At Bolton Primary we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Bolton, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.



At Bolton, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.


Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. Debbie Tinkler is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.



Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.


Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 
  • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.


Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.


Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
    • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.


Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.


Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Bolton and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Each class enjoys access the local library van every term.
  • Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (author visits and workshops, national events e.g. World Book Day).


We use Literacy Shed Plus and The Power of Reading resources. The children are familiar with the six reading domains taught through VIPERSVocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarise (or Sequence KS1). The children are also taught about comprehension question types age-appropriately. Some children on Support Plans receive extra reading support and this is monitored.


We promote ‘Reading for Pleasure’ with vibrant displays, book recommendations/ reviews, author research and caring for the library/ library volunteers. We promote reading aloud, reciting, and performing of poetry and reading non-fiction.

Children below age-related standards in reading, receive regular intervention and support and will have a support plan in place that is shared with parents and carers and reviewed termly. 



Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
  • The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised placement assessment is used:
    • with any child new to the school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan provide appropriate extra teaching.


Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.


Ongoing assessment for catch-up

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:
    •  their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment
    • the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment
    • the appropriate half-termly assessments.
    • NTS Termly reading assessment whole school.

Teachers are competent and confident delivering this subject and keep up to date with current thinking and developments.

Pupils enjoy reading, in all Year groups, across a range of genres and all abilities succeed in reading lessons. Pupils use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics. Pupils have a good knowledge of a range of authors and poets. Pupils are ready to read in any subject and ready for their next phase of learning. Our internal tracking shows good progress in reading and both progress and teaching and learning is regularly monitored by our governors.


 Parents and carers have a good understanding of how they can support reading and home and contribute regularly to home-school records/logs. Reading achievement and progress is tracked and shows good improvement. Reading is at least in line with national averages and the percentage at greater depth shows an increase. There are no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged). Those that need support, receive support. 


The impact of our English Curriculum on our children is clear: good progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. We are confident that as children move on from Bolton to secondary education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do. 

At Bolton, we create life-long readers who understand the world better.


Please see our English at Bolton document below for more information, including our policy, progression of skills and long term plans.