Reading at Chesterton Primary

The Reading Lead is Samantha Chapman

Our Reading Intent

As readers we:

  • Have a love of reading
  • Know the skills needed to be an accomplished reader
  • Talk about and ask questions about reading
  • Learn and discuss new vocabulary
  • Explore a range of texts in order to develop and deepen our understanding of the world around us
  • Read aloud and listen to texts being read aloud daily 
  • Understand fluency, including expression, volume, smoothness and pace 
  • Look for reading opportunities everywhere, not just in books
  • Are explicit about reasons for reading
  • Make and listen to book recommendations


Our Branches of Reading

Our 'Branches of Reading' embody the integral elements of our reading principles at Chesterton Primary School. 

The strand along the top is our DERIC strand... Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret and Choice.

Our Reading curriculum is built around these key elements which are developed and explored in our Reading lessons. 


Our Reading curriculum is driven by high-quality diverse texts and progressively builds knowledge, understanding and skills.  Through careful mapping, we have ensured that we have strong links across all curriculum areas to ensure knowledge does not sit in isolation.  Meaningful links with other subjects are made to strengthen connections, enable a deeper understanding of vocabulary and allow opportunities for our pupils to transfer knowledge and language across the curriculum areas, thus enhancing communication, language and literacy across the curriculum.

We have carefully selected the texts that drive our English reading and writing units from Reception to Year 6, this includes a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.  We have worked hard to guarantee that we have high-quality texts as stimuli across the curriculum.  These culturally diverse texts and authors have been chosen to reflect the unique cultures and experiences that our children bring to our school.

Chesterton Reading Spine

Vocabulary is important as it is closely connected with reading and writing. Children need to be able to understand words if they are to develop understanding of what they read.

Children learn words by hearing them and seeing them, so speaking and listening are important too. The more times they see and hear words, the more they can learn. Children are good at learning words, but they may need help.

 Teaching & Learning Vocabulary

We use a number of practical strategies to help children to develop their vocabulary

  • Class reading: vocabulary is discussed in the context of the book being read. Children are encouraged to apply this learning in their class discussions and written work.
  • Class environment: working walls display specific vocabulary for children to refer to and adopt in their own writing.
  • Specific teaching where the teacher identifies certain words and provides direct instruction in word learning strategies (looking at root words, finding synonyms and definitions, etc.).
  • We create excitement about discovering new words (it is okay not to know what a word means).
  • Children are encouraged to use new vocabulary accurately within full sentences in their speech as well as their written work.  Ambitious or new vocabulary adopted by the children is celebrated through verbal and written feedback.

Reading Vocabulary











We encourage a love of reading whenever and wherever we can; children have time daily to read books, and read books that they want to read. All classes have a library area, which the children are involved in managing and stocking with up-to-date books.  We have areas around the school for children to recommend books to others and follow-up on recommendations given.

Children do not just ‘become’ readers, and reading engagement is not possible if children struggle with the basic mechanics of reading. Fluency and enjoyment are the result of careful teaching and frequent practice. Ensuring children become fluent and engaged readers at the very earliest stages is a priority at Chesterton Primary school.

How do we teach reading?

We use the following to teach reading at Chesterton Primary School:

  • Phonics Teaching (Essential Letters and Sounds)
  • Daily group reading sessions in KS1
  • Daily whole-class reading sessions in KS2 to model and focus on decoding, fluency and comprehension (small groups may be used during this time)
  • Individual Reading
  • Story Time (all classes every day)
  • Explorations of the etymology and morphology of words 
  • Development of the fluency through paired reading, choral reading, repeated reading 

The purpose of our reading work in school is to engage and then extend the children with their reading and instil a love of books (and other printed material). By giving the children the opportunity to find authors and genres they love, they will read for pleasure, recognising the importance and value of reading in their lives.  For this reason, we have school librarians who help develop reading areas in each classroom and create reading lists.

Reading Information at Chesterton Primary School

Reading Assessment at Chesterton Primary School

Chesterton Reading RoundUp

Reading Recommendations

Essential Letters and Sounds 

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.


Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class. 

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.


We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.


We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).


We teach children to:

• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently

• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.

The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.

ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.


Supporting Reading at Home:

  • Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
  • We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
  • We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

               Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.

               Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.

               Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.

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