At Starbank, our comprehensive reading curriculum is rooted in a sound understanding of the essential role of a high-quality education in English to continually nurture those skills of language that are vital in enabling each one of our pupils to experience educational success. We believe in an engaging and cohesive English curriculum that gives pupils the best possible opportunities to become confident, literate, successful members of society; with a deep love and understanding of English language and literature.

Our intent is to:

  • Nurture pupils who read easily, fluently and with good understanding at an age-appropriate level.
  • Embed early reading skills so that pupils become fluent, functional and purposeful readers through a systematic, synthetic phonics programmes (RWI).
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Drive acquisition of a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading.
  • Deliver a comprehensive and cohesive reading curriculum that permeates the curriculum to develop enthusiastic, autonomous and perceptive readers.
  • Ensure our reading curriculum facilitates mastery of a wide range of reading skills pupils need – from strategies for decoding to understanding themes in a longer novel.
  • Teachers model the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader.


Reading in the English Curriculum

  • English units of work are rooted in a rich text in KS1 and a class novel in KS2. This novel-based approach ensures the pre-writing phase heavily invests in immersing pupils in the chosen text to ensure pupils fully know and understand the book.
  • Class novels are carefully selected to represent good quality literature which will challenge our pupils at a far higher conceptual level and expose them to increasingly harder and more challenging texts that demand more of them. This approach facilitates reading with a clear purpose and deepening pupil understanding of what they read.
  • The class texts and novels also offer pupils a rich reading diet that feeds their imagination, develops their empathy as readers, includes cultural diversity and fosters a better understanding of the wold around us; in doing so we build on their cultural capital.
  • Supplementary texts and extracts also hold a valued place in our reading provision to expose pupils to exemplified texts.

SSP – Read, Write Inc

  • In EYFS and KS1, we use Read, Write Inc. as our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme.
  • Starting in Nursery and Reception, children are taught to how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes, identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make and then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words they hear or see.
  • Pupils in Reception and KS1 have a daily morning session (40 mins) and four afternoon sessions (30 mins) each week as part of a robust offer to teach and embed early reading skills.
  • In Key Stage 1, the children are taught in homogenous groups which ensures sharply targeted teaching to develop the reading skills needed to progress quickly through the programme until pupils can read fluently, without the need to blend sounds out loud first.
  • Parents are encouraged to access phonics videos at home via a link which is sent out each week.
  • Children take home a decodable book which they have read in school, as well as a Star Reader book which they can read with an adult.
  • We also share and discuss a range of high-quality books during our English lessons to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary. This includes a range of poems, stories and information books. 

Reading Tutoring – Individual and Group

  • Pupils in EYFS and KS1 have at least one weekly 1:1 reading tutoring session with the lowest 40% in Reception and the lowest 20% in KS1 receiving daily tutoring using the Read, Write Inc. Fast Track Tutoring programme. In Reception and KS1, this is very closely aligned with the RWI phonics programme with pupils in the RWI programme using RWI decodable books.
  • Vulnerable readers in KS2 have up to three 1:1 reading sessions per week (see additional table). Such pupils include the small number who did not pass their phonics screening.
  • The focus of the session is informed by each pupils’ individual reading target and the weekly reading skill focus as identified on the weekly English plan and guided reading plan. In addition to focusing on decoding where appropriate (KS1 and pupils who are not yet functional readers), there is an emphasis on checking that the children understand what is read, their views on the story and linking this to other experiences. Teachers and support staff complete a 1:1 reading record for each pupil to record progress and next steps.
  • Home reading diaries are used to log pupils’ reading at home and to communicate with parents about pupils’ reading.

Whole Class Shared Reading (Y2-Y6)

  • A carefully structured session with a skill focus and clear learning objective to ensure pupils use and apply reading skills (comprehension) to develop independent reading strategies. The sessions take pupils through instructional teaching of reading skills/domains developing greater independence and opportunities for pupils to apply and master taught reading strategies.
  • There is a strong focus on vocabulary in each lesson throughout the week with one lesson each week devoted to developing pupils’ depth and breadth of vocabulary, g. explore root words, visualise and physicalize, authorial intent.
  • There are explicit links with English units where possible – learning objective/skill focus, genre and reading content to facilitate a cumulative curriculum whereby pupils remember more. Pupils can deepen their understanding of the organisational, language and grammatical features of the text type from their English unit. They can explore and discuss the writer’s choices to develop understanding of the effects authors create, their impact and how they have been created – reading as a writer.
  • Teachers ensure there is sufficient time and opportunity for pupils to read and then express ideas, opinions and offer more extended stretches of speech about the book they are reading – responding in depth.
  • Adaptive strategies are implemented to facilitate access to the curriculum that reflect the starting points of SEN pupils and those attaining below the ARE.
  • Teachers are responsible for planning a wide-ranging reading diet throughout the year and plan for pupils to read widely across fiction, non-fiction, poetry including different types of texts, e.g. graphic novels, magazines, newspapers…
  • Pupils in Y2 begin Shared Reading lessons in the afternoon daily, once they are close to exiting the RWI programmes (blue and grey band).
  • Vulnerable readers in KS2 who are not yet functional readers and/or did not pass their phonics screening receive interventions that are stated on their PSP that is reflective of a graduated approach, e.g. accessing KS1 homogenous group RWI sessions; tailored and bespoke interventions let by the class TA to support access to the year group curriculum.


  • We ensure children are challenged with their reading and have exposure to a range of texts through the STAR reading challenge, DEAR and story time. Children are encouraged to read the books from the challenge, share them at home and complete activities such as book reviews, accelerated quizzes to demonstrate their understanding of the text. You will see this on displays and through conversations with the children.
  • Each class has a reading area/class library that is inviting and may be themed according to the English learning journey, reading focus and focus author. Pupils from Reception to Year 6 will take home an age-appropriate text that is accessible to read in the home environment.
  • Shared reading of the class story/novel offers pupils exposure to higher-level texts and increasingly harder texts than demand more from them. Through such sessions, teachers strive to model the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader, providing a high level of support.
  • We celebrate many national days to promote an awareness of authors, books and themes including World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Young Writers Competitions, library visits, Shakespeare Day and Book Fairs. All of these contribute to developing a love for reading and providing children with memorable reading experiences.