Marsh Hill, Erdington, Birmingham B23 7HY | Telephone: 0121 464 2920


Our goal at Marsh Hill is for all children to leave our school not only as a fluent and competent reader, but as a lifelong lover of reading! We try to share what we most enjoy about reading and encourage the children to read new genres and ever more challenging texts.Pupils in EYFS work towards being an "Brilliant Bookworm" through planned adult led activities and child initiated activties in the continuous provision.

The Teaching of Reading at Marsh Hill Primary School

The aim of our reading curriculum is to ensure every children leaves Marsh Hill Primary School able to read with fluency, understanding and enjoyment, regardless of background or SEND.

We believe every child deserves, and has the right to become a confident, keen and capable reader, and that reading is the fundamental skill needed to access the wider curriculum and the world around us. Not only do we strive for all of our pupils to achieve high standards in word reading and comprehension skills, we also aim for our children to develop a life-long love of reading and have a positive attitude towards it.

In order to foster a love of reading, our reading curriculum has been carefully structured so all pupils are immersed in a variety of rich literature, authors and genres, which reflect and celebrates the diversity of our school. Time is dedicated to promote a love of reading at Marsh Hill; Children are read to and have the opportunity to read independently each day.


As a diverse community, we recognise that not all children will have had the opportunity to develop a love of reading at home, and believe it is our duty to prioritise both the teaching of reading and provide opportunities for reading for pleasure, therefore making time for reading is a non-negotiable in every class.

Our highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers are reading role models and communicate their love of reading as well as carefully plan and deliver daily progressive reading sessions.


We, at Marsh Hill Primary School, are committed to supporting our pupils, regardless of their starting points, ability or background:

  • make good or better progress in reading
  • achieve the expected standard in reading or better
  • develop the reading skills needed to access the wider curriculum including both word reading and comprehension skills
  • read regularly, both in school and at home for pleasure and for purpose
  • are exposed to rich, high quality texts that are varied and challenging
  • regularly have opportunities to engage in discussions about the texts they read demonstrating understanding and give opinions
  • are taught by positive reading role models who foster a love of reading
  • leave our school with a bank of varied literature and a love of reading.

Acknowledging that children learn best when school and home work together, we are dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with parents/guardian’s and provide training opportunities to support parents/guardians in supporting their child’s/children’s reading at home.

Implementation: How is reading taught at Marsh Hill Primary School?

Reading is not simply the decoding of words, it is the ability to read and understand, a wide range of different texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our reading curriculum follows the National Curriculum 2014 and provides opportunity for children to develop the following skills:

  • To read aloud fluently, competently with expression and intonation
  • To read for purpose and meaning
  • To read a wide and broad range of texts across varied genres
  • To understand and decipher the meaning of new vocabulary and then use this
  • Foster a love of reading and understand the difference from reading for a purpose.

Reading is taught daily throughout the school both discreetly and cross-curricular in other subjects providing needed opportunities for the transition of the skills acquired in reading. The content is designed to be progressive and challenging for all.

Phonics Teaching

At Marsh Hill, we use Our systematic phonics programme in line with the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach which has been amended to meet and exceed the expectations of the National Curriculum and the needs of our children.

All planning is systematic and progressive and is in line with the school’s term-by –term phonics long-term plan. Phonics is taught by highly skilled practitioners. Resources, terminology and phrases used to facilitate the teaching of phonics is uniform across the school; we do not mix phonics schemes or resources in our school.

Phonics teaching is prioritised; it is taught discreetly for 25 minutes every morning. Children are taught in ability groups, across their year group. Groups are determined through rigorous assessment so that the teaching of phonics is matched to the children’s current level of skill and phonemic awareness.

Each session follows the same systematic structure of:

-Revisit (previous sounds and common exception words taught),

-Teach (new sound and Common Exception Words)


-Apply new sounds and words taught in word/sentence reading and writing.

The sounds and words taught are divided into 3 progressive stages and the expectations of coverage are:

Phase 2, 3 and 4: Taught in Reception

Phase 5: Taught throughout Year One

Phase 6: Year 2. Once children have a good command of phonic knowledge and use this competently to blend and segment, children move onto learning the rules of spelling following the Purple Mash Spelling Programme.

Please see Appendix 1: Phonics Long Term Plan to see the progression of sounds and words taught at each stage.

Guided Reading

Guided reading sessions are taught from Reception up to Year 2 where reading skills are taught discreetly in small groups for 30 minutes each day. Guided Reading is also used in Year 3 during the Autumn Term to facilitate the transition between the Key Stages.

Children are grouped carefully linked to their phonetic knowledge and reading ability across their class.

The skills taught in guided reading are progressive and are in line with the school’s progression map of reading skills and are mapped out on the MTP.

All texts used are fully decodable and are in line with the order of sounds on our school’s Phonics LTP. Guided Reading books used are taken from the ‘Big Cat letters and Sounds Scheme’. Texts must match the phonetic knowledge of each group so children can practise and apply their phonetic skills. During the week each child will read to an adult at least twice and they will develop their phonic and comprehension knowledge.

Reading records are kept to track progress during reading sessions.

Close Reading: KS2 Whole Class Reading

In KS2 children are taught reading skills through whole class reading allowing children of all abilities to immerse in the same high-quality text and vocabulary. During these lessons, children participate in the discussions around texts. We believe it is essential that less confident readers are exposed to high quality texts and the reasoning discussions which take place alongside appropriate reading interventions in order to close the gap and avoid it widening.

Close reading is taught discreetly for 40 minutes daily and is planned by the class teacher in line with the National Curriculum expectations and the needs and interests of our children.

Each week, a new text is carefully selected and explored in depth. Each day has a specific focus linked to the reading domains. Throughout the week, children have the opportunity to work with a partner and independently. All close reading activities are recorded in individual close reading books.


Teachers use questioning to promote understanding and deepen learning in reading lessons as well as assess the learning. Children are challenged in reading lessons through:

· using deep, challenging tasks

· peer tutoring (S, P, I)

· explaining their reasoning more often

· encouraged to make links to other texts/plots read, make comparisons.

Reading for Pleasure

Throughout the day, time is timetabled and prioritised for children to read independently and to be read to for purely for pleasure. As a minimum, in EYFS and Key Stage 1, each class will be read to at the end of the school day and in Key Stage 2 they will be read to after lunchtime. Texts are selected from our school’s ‘Whole Class Reads Reading Spine’ to ensure that they are rich, varied and appropriate to the year group as well as progressive across the school (please see Appendix 2: reading spine).

All classes visit the library each week to choose a book to borrow for the week. This choice is fundamentally the child’s but recommendations are made by the teacher based upon the child’s interests. As well as this, children enjoy reading and listening to texts being read aloud. In addition to this, the library is open at lunchtimes supported by staff and our trined pupil librarians.

We take any opportunity to celebrate reading, nationally and as a school. Each week we celebrate a poet of the week and each month we vote for the author of the month, displayed in our library.

World Book Day is a firm favourite, allowing pupils to engage in fun and varied reading inspired activities. Other activities include visits from authors and theatre companies who have carried out reading workshops, twice a year we have the travelling book fair available in school also, visits to the theatre and Birmingham Libraries and much more.

Assessment of Reading

Teachers and Teaching Assistants are continuously assessing the outcome and progress within reading through the assessment for learning process, both during and after the lesson. Staff speedily provide feedback in both verbal and written form. Tasks are given to either close a gap in learning or move the learning on. Questioning is a fundamental tool used across the school to assess the learning within reading lessons. The outcome of these assessments is used to informed future planning ensuring that the leaning is appropriately challenging, purposeful and progressive.

Assessments used in School

· In EYFS and KS1 children undertake a phonics and common exception word reading assessment at the end of each half term which will then determine their phonics group for the following term as well as inform the sounds and words to cover next. These assessments are continued into KS2 for those who are yet to complete the phonics programme.

· From year 1 onwards, Pira Standardised Reading Tests are used termly to monitor progress as well as identifying gaps in learning of individuals, cohorts and specific groups which is used to inform the next steps and teacher judgements

· Across the school, the children’s reading ability is assessed and recorded on the school’s tracking system, ‘Target Tracker’ which matches and breaks down the age appropriate National Curriculum

statements for each year group, indicating children’s progress and achieve of them. This is used for continuous assessment and monitoring and is informed by teacher judgments based upon assessment of learning, evidence from children’s learning in their books and discussion in class and the outcome of termly standardised reading tests (Pira tests by Rising Stars).

· Children working below their current year groups targets will be assessed on the previous year/s NC statements.


Teachers are aware of the individual learning needs of all children and plan for these to allow all children to succeed. Children with SEND have carefully planned IEP’s which are considered when planning and teaching reading through differentiation and by making reasonable adjustments. Children who are working below the age related standard will quickly be identified through regular assessments and intervention are put in place to avoid any pupils falling behind. Strategies used included: Daily catch up phonics one to one (in line with our phonics programme), Lexia programme, precision teaching, small group interventions, one to one reading, additional reading, pre-tutoring.

In KS2, children who still need additional support in word reading skills will received support targeted to address the gaps linked to their phonics skills. This is taught following the school’s phonics programme but at an appropriate pace for the children identified. Such interventions are timetabled and prioritised. Each Friday afternoon, children who have SEND or who are working significantly below the expected standard, will be receive pre-tutoring of the focus text for the following week’s close reading which is taken home and shared with their parents also.

We have two appointed Reading Assistants who receive regular training and whose role is specifically to boost and improve reading skills and outcomes of identified, targeted children, including those with SEND children. All interventions programmes and IEP’s are reviewed after 6 weeks.


We are committed to providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils and consider these when planning and teaching. Teachers will respond appropriately to pupils’ diverse learning needs. We are committed to the principle of equality of opportunity and this will be reflected in the curriculum offered to pupils. Our reading collections includes books which reflect our diverse, multi-cultural society and are specified on our school’s Reading Spine.

Reading at Home

Co-operation and support from parents is paramount if a child is to become a successful and competent reader and we strive to develop and encourage a strong partnership between home and school. It is our policy to send reading books home weekly and to encourage parents and carers to practise reading at home which is rewarded following our Reading Stars Rewards Scheme.

Parental workshops are organised for the beginning of the school year in each year group to familiarise parents with the reading curriculum including an additional Phonics Workshop for EYFS and Year 1 (explaining the Phonics Screening Check). Further individual meetings can then be held with parents who are struggling to get their child to read at home or who need support with strategies.

Home Reading Books

Children who developing word reading schools are given a home reading book closely matched to their phonetic knowledge. All books follow the order of sounds outlined within our school’s phonics programme. Thereafter the book banding system is used to group books according to the attainment levels of the pupils. All pupils then take their reading book home together with their reading record book and read it to their parents/carers who will sign it as proof that it has been read. Children can also choose a book from the library to read to parents or for parents to read to them at home.


We monitor the impact of our Reading approach through:

  • End of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 statutory assessments and the Year 1 phonics check
  • Termly assessment using Target Tracker
  • Learning walks and observations. (termly)
  • Pupil Voice- enjoyment, ability and confidence in reading (termly)
  • Reading lead reading with individual children
  • Book and planning monitoring (termly)
  • staff Feedback (termly)
  • Whole staff moderation sessions focussed on progression of reading across the school.
  • Local authority moderation sessions
  • Termly pupil progress meetings identifying key children requiring support or challenge
  • Head Teacher and SLT monitoring.

Progression of Skills for Reading  for EYFS to Year 6.