The Teaching of Reading at Kirby Hill CE Primary School

 Reading is a fundamental part of the learning experience at Kirby Hill CE Primary School and the pupils are given a variety of reading opportunities, including:

  • Whole Class Guided Reading (DERIC)
  • Regular independent reading
  • Home/school reading
  • Hearing texts read aloud on a regular basis
  • Access to Accelerated Reader software
  • Cross curricular reading

Much of the programme of study is taught through English lessons and guided reading sessions. There is time set aside for independent reading and Accelerated Reader, listening to whole class stories and research linked to other subjects.

Reading is a skill which underpins a child’s ability to access the wider curriculum and allows them to broaden their vocabulary and develop vivid imaginations. To ensure that pupils at Kirby Hill are given the best chance to succeed, we ensure that pupils are given daily reading opportunities that build skills in fluency and comprehension (DERIC) and additional reading for pleasure time.

Phonics:  Read Write Inc.

When our children are beginning their reading journey from Nursery onwards, they will start to learn to read through our daily use of the Read Write Inc. Phonics  resources.    Read Write Inc. Phonics  is a systematic synthetic phonics programme and through its use, children learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. 

Throughout the programme, children learn the English alphabetic code: the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds.  They rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters, they need to represent them, in three sets of Speed Sounds Lessons.  Simple and enjoyable mnemonics help all children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly, especially those who are at risk of making slower progress or those who are new to learning English.  This knowledge is taught and consolidated every day.  High frequency words that are not phonically decodable are taught as ‘tricky words’ and are practised frequently.

Lively phonic books are closely matched to children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky words’ so that, early on, they experience plenty of success.  Repeated readings of the texts support their increasingly fluent decoding.  In class, children will read the same text 3 times (over a series of lessons) to help them to develop accurate word reading, fluency and comprehension.

Whole Class Teaching

At Kirby Hill CE Primary School we use DERIC as a whole class approach to teach reading skills from Y1 upwards, which equips pupils with the necessary skills to be successful readers. It focuses on building fluency and embedding comprehension skills with direct, taught sessions. DERIC stands for; Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret and Choice. These are all closely linked to the assessed strands in the end of key stage assessments.


D for decode - this is the sounding out and blending of words and then becoming more confident with reading words on sight.

 E for explain - asking the children to explain the meaning of words and being able to explain what is happening in the text they have read.

 R - for retrieve - asking the children questions where the answer can be found in the text or pictures. For example: How many cups are on the table? What colour is the bear's hat?

 I - for interpret - the children are to use their inference skills to use clues in the text and what they already know to make suggestions about what they have read.  (Using ‘because’ in their responses). For example: Why do you think the bear was crying?

 C - for choice - asking the children questions about why the author has chosen to lay out the text in a particular way.

When teaching, there is one learning objective for the whole class based around the same text. The activities or level of support is adapted for different abilities so that all children can access the learning objective and be challenged. Sometimes, texts are part of a class book or at other times they are a poem or non-fiction article depending on the writing focus. The whole class reading approach supports rapid progress of lower ability readers. Research suggests this is due to exposure to higher-level questions and answers. Pictorial stimulus or activities which are designed to have a comprehension focus but reduce the amount of decoding can also be used to support SEND/EAL pupils.

At Kirby Hill CE Primary School, we promote the use of a variety of carefully selected literature that is matched to the attainment level of pupils. These texts have subtle challenge and allow pupils to reinforce fluency, decoding and comprehension skills regularly.

 Additional opportunities are provided for pupils to practise and extend reading in other subjects.

Independent Reading at Kirby Hill

Read Write Inc.  – Book Bag Books

Children who are continuing to work through the Read Write Inc. Phonics  programme will take home phonically decodable independent reading books which have been carefully matched to the stage they are at, so they will be able to successfully read the sounds and ‘tricky words’ that they have been taught in school.   

Children will not move on to the next set of reading books until they have learned and secured the relevant sounds and ‘tricky words’ within that stage.  This may mean that children will have to read books more than once from a particular set.   Class teachers will keep records of the relevant sets / stages of Book Bag Books for each child.

Accelerated Reader

To enhance pupils’ pleasure when reading, and to allow us to set suitable challenge for all pupils, we use Accelerated Reader to ‘level’ free reading books for all children in school who have graduated from the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. This approach allows pupils to understand which books are of an appropriate challenge for them.  Accelerated Reader is also an excellent tool for helping teachers to track students’ independent practice and progress with reading.  Once a child has finished reading a book they complete an online quiz to check that their comprehension and inference of the text have been successful.

Reading for Pleasure

Children at Kirby Hill CE Primary School receive a rich curriculum that encourages a love of literature. All classes share class novels (in their entirety where possible) and are given access to a wide range of texts throughout the curriculum. We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child's educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment, because we know that extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts make a huge contribution to students' educational achievement.

To complement reading at home, we encourage all of our children to take home a book (either a non-fiction, picture or poetry book) linked to their interests, in addition to their independent reading book.

Working with Parents

Every child has a home/school reading diary; it is the school’s expectation that these are used as a dialogue between school staff and parents. Parents may comment on their child’s reading and teachers keep parents updated on reading progress.

There is some really useful information for parents on how best to support phonics and early reading at home on the Ruth Miskin website:


Any child who is at risk of falling behind with their reading will be identified quickly and appropriate support will be put in place.

 The following interventions will be considered:

  • 1:1 RWI Phonics Tutoring (4 – 9 years)
  • 1:1 RWI Fresh Start Phonics (9 years +)
  • Inferential comprehension booster sessions (Reading & Thinking)
  • Active Literacy
  • 1:1 daily reading
  • Precision teaching of High Frequency Words (‘tricky words’)


For further information on independent reading, please click on the link to see our overview: An Overview of Independent Reading at Kirby Hill CE Primary School.pdf


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