Reading at Belle Vue

Reading at Belle Vue Early Years and Key Stage 1

At Belle Vue we are passionate in our aim that our children are enthusiastic to read. We hope to ensure that they have access to wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest and we are constantly seeking to enhance the resources available.

In Reception and Key Stage 1 reading is taught through a balanced classroom reading programme consisting of a variety of text reading experiences, levels of support and methods of instruction. This variety is achieved in four distinct ways.

 Modelling Text Reading

Here a skilled reader selects a text from a wide variety of and reads to child in formal or informal setting. The children hear how expert, fluent, expressive and paced reading should sound. The children simply enjoy hearing a story being read.

 Shared Reading

Whole class or a large group joins in the collaborative act of fluent, expressive text reading and re- reading. The teacher takes the lead, orchestrating responses, drawing attention to reading strategies and features of the text. The text will be appropriate to the ability of the majority of the class. Sensitive questioning and prompting of individual children helps to ensure maximum participation and understanding. The children will listen and comment on the structure, learning and responding to terms associated with books and print and making links with what they already know.

 Guided Reading

This is the main platform for teaching children the skills of reading. Children are able demonstrate their developing expertise in a structured and scaffolded environment. The children work in small (up to 6 children) ability groups and will read from sets of texts each having their own copy. Each member of the group should be able to read and readily comprehend at or above 90% accuracy. The aims of the session should be to reinforce and extend the children’s reading capabilities. Guided Reading sessions are conducted once a week and range between 15-30 minutes dependent on the ages of the children.

During these sessions the book will be introduced to the children by analysis of the covers, title, picture walking, character etc, Hooks such as objects and pictures are also used to gain the children’s interest in order that they are keen to open there book to find out more. Concepts of print and directionality will be reinforced. Known words will be located and unknown words will be debugged. Following this scaffolded approach each child will be prepared to quietly independently read the text. After, the children’s understanding will be checked via sensitive questioning. Specific praise to reinforce the use of key reading skills will be given throughout. Guided reading enables the teacher to reinforce and extend children’s reading skills using a range of texts and text types. It enables the children to be challenged in a controlled and supported reading environment.

 Independent Reading

This relates to individual home readers. These should be read independently at 95% or above. Children should be able to show off what they can do and the reading behaviours they have been taught in shared and guided sessions. Little support should be needed.

Text Selection

All texts whether home or guided are banded according to difficulty using a national system. As previously mentioned this approach enables the children to be exposed to a diverse range of text, non fiction and fiction, different publishers, fonts and book sizes rather than following one scheme. Children will be given books to read at home at their reading book band level. In Key Stage 1 the children are encouraged to change their independent reading books as often as they need to and are given opportunities to do so throughout the school week. Children are also encouraged to pick additional books from either below or above the allocated book band level. This ensures that children can access any book that they please and catches their interest. A book mark system indicates the level of support parents will need to give their children when reading. Continuous reading practise is imperative to developing reading skills and daily home practise for at least 10 minutes is encouraged.

The schools guided/home readers include reading material from the following schemes:

  • Oxford Reading Tree (including main trunk stories, Project X, Traditional Tales, Fireflies, Songbirds, Treetops and Allstars
  • Collins Big Cat
  • Engage literacy
  • Start Reading
  • Hopskotch - Twisty Tales/Histories
  • Rigby Star
  • Rapid
  • Banana Story books
  • A selection of real books of children's favourite stories e.g. We're Going on a Bear Hunt


A key skill of early literacy skills is the development of phonic knowledge. Phonics is taught discreetly for 15-20 minutes daily throughout reception and Key Stage 1. Children are placed in smaller ability groups. At Belle Vue we are following the systematic teaching programme devised in "Letters & Sounds". The children are taught sequentially from Phase 1 in nursery through to Phase 6 in year 2. Details of the content of each phase and the sounds covered have been provided in the Phonic Books provided for each pupil. Please use this with your child to practise recognition of the sounds. The teaching of phonics is delivered through multi-sensory teaching methods in order that the children are engaged and find their learning fun. The children are giving the opportunity to apply their phonics throughout the other reading and writing tasks they meet during the school day.

Children in Year 1 will complete the government Phonic Screen in June of each year. This assessment is carried out by a qualified teacher on a one to one basis. Children will not know that they are completing a formal assessment. Parents will receive their child’s assessment outcomes as part of their school report. Children who do not pass the Year 1 Phonic Screen as they have not yet met the required standard will be rescreened in Year 2.

Reading Invention:

For those children who are struggling to learn how to read further support is offered in Key Stage via two reading programmes. Fisher Family Trust and Reading Recovery. Both programmes offer focused 1:1 support with either a trained teacher or teaching assistant. The programmes can last up to 100 sessions dependent on the needs of the child.


All children learn at different rates – books bought home should be shared for enjoyment – don’t be concerned about moving through the book bands – teachers will be aware of best time to move levels. Home readers are important but whole reading experience and shared enjoyment in stories is crucial for children to become life longer readers. 10 minutes reading experience at home a day can make all the difference. Time invested now is crucial in order that our children became passionate about reading.

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