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At Elm Wood Primary school, we are passionate about children’s reading.  Throughout children’s time at Elm Wood, we intend to inspire children to love books and to enjoy reading for pleasure.  As children progress through Elm Wood, we aim for them to become confident and fluent readers who enjoy and can discuss, a range of genres and texts. By the end of Year 6 we encourage children to be able to identify key aspects of a text, discuss events, clarify vocabulary, make inferences and predict what will happen in a story. 


Our curriculum is planned to ensure that children have knowledge of a wide range of authors and can use reading to deepen their understanding of the world around them. We place a strong emphasis on reading for pleasure and encourage parents and carers to engage with reading at home.  

Curriculum Overviews



We place great value on reading at Elm Wood and we dedicate time daily in all classes for reading. Each class from Year 1 to 6 has a daily timetabled Reading for Pleasure session, which includes regular Book Club sessions for children and teachers to discuss and share book recommendations. Children are regularly read to by adults and enjoying stories and texts encourages the children’s love of reading.

Our writing curriculum is based on high-quality texts, carefully chosen to link with learning in history and geography topics where possible. These texts provide the model and inspiration for children’s own writing- writing as readers and reading as writers.

All classrooms have well-stocked book corners, which encourage children to explore and enjoy a range of high-quality texts. This is in addition to the book banded books that our children take home to practice reading at their reading level. We encourage children and families to fill in their reading diaries daily, and have made this a priority area for our home learning.  


We are very lucky to have our own lovely library in KS2, which is looked after by our Year 6 librarians. We regularly update our book stock to ensure that children have an exciting and enticing range of books to access to develop their independent book choices.


From Reception onwards, children across the school visit our local library in West Norwood. This is a lovely experience and teachers come back to school with a stack of books that the children have chosen, ready to enjoy in class!


We welcome the scholastic book fair twice-yearly to Elm wood which is available to parents after school. We also hold book swaps to ensure that all children from all backgrounds can access the pleasure of choosing a book for themselves to take home.


World Book Day is a big event at Elm Wood, with adults and children making a huge effort to dress as book characters, or to come in their cosiest pyjamas ready for a story! The teaching staff choose a different dress-up theme every year.... what will their next one be? 


At Elm Wood we have chosen to follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised synthetic phonics programme. The programme is a systematic structure for teaching phonics sounds in a given order.  Daily phonics teaching in Reception, Year 1 and in the autumn term of Year 2, builds up the children’s knowledge over time, so that they learn to read all the sounds in the English language.  New sounds are taught each day, with some review days and weeks to help children remember and practice what they have learned. Learning takes place as a whole class with keep up sessions taking place to ensure that no children fall behind.


Embedded into the programme are 6-weekly assessment tasks, which allow teachers to identify any children that may need extra support. Children begin to read by applying their knowledge of phonics to phonetically decodable books matched to their current level of phonics. We hold a very well-attended workshop each year for parents and carers to share how we teach phonics and how they can support their child at home. We also foster an early love of reading and stories by sending all children in Reception and Year 1 home with a ‘real’ book to enjoy with their family. This encourages children to enjoy sharing books and being read to, as well as developing children’s vocabulary and comprehension.  



Information about what sounds your child will learn when, as well as links to videos to help you to support your child with phonics at home here.


In Year 1 group reading practice sessions take multiple times per week for all children. During these sessions, the children practice applying their phonics to read fully decodable Harper Collins Big Cat books, matched closely to their current phonics knowledge.


Our highly trained staff teach fluency, prosody and comprehension in these sessions, in line with the reading practice recommended by the Little Wandle programme. Once a child can read a book with 100% fluency, they will move up the book bands linked to phases of phonics until they have reached the end of phase 5. 


For our Year 2 children who have graduated from reading phonetically decodable books, we deliver Destination Reader Light sessions daily. This is a whole-class approach to teaching reading which allows children to benefit from the teacher’s expert modelling, questioning and feedback and listening to texts.


In these lessons there are typically opportunities for teaching vocabulary: reading modelled by the teacher; paired reading aloud, independent reading and comprehension activities. Children develop their skills in retrieval, inference, prediction and vocabulary and this enables them to transition seamlessly to access the full Destination Reader programme taught from Year 3 upwards.

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In Years 3 to 6, children are taught reading in daily lessons.  We have chosen to follow the Destination Reader programme which is a whole-class, pedagogical-based approach to teaching reading in KS2 through engaging and structured daily sessions.


Reading sessions support children to read fluently with greater understanding, enjoyment and purpose. Lessons include whole class teacher expert modelling prior to the children applying these skills through paired reading, independent reading and comprehension activities.

Children deepen their understanding of the age-appropriate texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems.


The approach encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. It also builds a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose. We have carefully chosen texts from a wide variety of genres and authors with the aim to engage our children in reading for enjoyment, and where possible to link with their learning in other subjects. 


From Reception onwards, we identify children who may be falling behind in reading and rapidly put intervention in place to support them to keep up and catch up. Children in Reception and Year 1 will access daily small group keep up sessions with trained staff to support them to keep up with phonics.

Children in Year 2 and upwards who have not yet mastered phonics access additional teaching with a trained member of staff using the Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up Programme. They also access small group reading practice sessions in line with the Little Wandle guidance for reading practice, with books closely matched to their level of phonics knowledge. This ensures that they continue to practice and develop their decoding skills.

Children in KS2 who have mastered phonics and can apply this to decode texts, but who are working below the expectations for their year group access whole-class Destination Reader sessions. With carefully matched reading partners, they access age-related texts during paired reading in two of the weekly sessions, then apply the taught strategies to texts at their current level of reading during two other sessions. Teachers adapt the weekly comprehensions to support children at all levels to access as needed.  These children also access target reading 1:1 with a trained member of staff regularly throughout the week to support them to catch up. We also welcome volunteer readers from Beanstalk to support children 1:1 who may be working below in reading, or need additional encouragement.

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