What are we aiming for?

At Yardley Primary School. we know that reading and writing are intrinsically linked and strongly believe that exposure to high quality and challenging texts support learners in both of these essential life skills as well as developing a child's understanding of vocabulary, style and formality in a wider context.

Here at Yardley, we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding

  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of the grammar, knowledge and conventions for reading, writing and spoken language

  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas

  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

How do we achieve this?

English Lessons

Our English curriculum is delivered through dedicated reading and writing lessons each week from Year 1 onwards. Daily phonics lessons also take place up to and including Year 3.

Writing lessons:

  • Warm up - focused GPS skill/spelling rule.

  • Discussion of build up to the final piece of writing.

  • Writing always begins with reading.

  • Reading and text analysis should inform success criteria.

  • High quality modelling for all tasks.

  • Allow planning time before drafting.

  • Build in challenge and support.

  • Allow pupils to redraft in response to feedback.

  • Publish pupils’ writing for a wider audience.

Reading lessons:

  • Warm up: these should be quick and used to consolidate skills.

  • Session should practise one focused reading skill e.g. Retrieval, Inference, Summarising, Vocabulary, Reciprocal Reading

  • Utilise a wide-range of appropriate texts.

  • Discussion of genre/purpose/audience of the text.

  • Pupils have a chance to read/be read to.

  • Vocabulary pre-tutoring with images, child-friendly definitions, synonyms etc. in every session.

  • Repetition of key vocabulary.

  • Opportunities for paired talk and independent tasks.

  • Reciprocal Reading (predict, clarify, question, summarise)


  • Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme.

  • 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.

  • 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.

For more detailed information about our phonics approach, visit our phonics page here.

Yardley Loves Reading !

At Yardley Primary School, we children to not only learn how to read but to develop a love of reading which will stay with them far beyond their school years. As well as dedicated reading lessons, we teach, promote and provide reading opportunities through other ways too.

Class texts

The use of high quality texts within the reading curriculum is at the heart of our school's successful approach to engage and support pupils to become motivated and independent readers. If pupils enjoy reading, they read more frequently and become better readers. This is why we select a range of carefully chosen texts and ensure these are reviewed by staff and pupils each year.

Reading as a class:

Every class across the school is read to by an adult on a regular basis, fostering a love for reading through exposing pupils to high quality literature. Staff choose challenging texts that will uncover new vocabulary and themes, opening up discussions around the language of books. To ensure reading for pleasure is at the forefront at Yardley Primary School, all classes enjoy a text read to them by a member of staff everyday where possible.

Independent reading:

All pupils engage in independent, sustained reading. It provides an opportunity for pupils to read and enjoy a range of texts and to apply reading strategies. Each class has a dedicated reading area in their classroom, containing a range of books and text types for pupils to access independently. These texts include:

  • Poetry and plays

  • Fiction – the choice of books reflects the spread of interest and reading abilities across the class, for example picture books, graphic novels, etc

  • Non-fiction – as wide a range as possible, including plenty linked to the subject areas being studied

  • Books from a range of cultures and covering a range of themes are interwoven through all collections

Each year group has a dedicated reading trolley that contains a range of texts that can be found on our regularly updated reading spine.

Reading at home

All pupils are heard reading independently by an adult or their peers on a regular basis, changing their books when required. Pupils are assessed regularly and guided in their choice of text according to their ability, progressing to reading literature of their choice which is checked for suitability by an adult where necessary. Pupils accessing phonics will also have a decodable phonics book, in-line with their current phonic ability.

Virtual library

We also have our own Virtual Library that can be accessed in school or at home. These texts are carefully chosen and link to the individual year group’s topics and ability. Our virtual library can be accessed here.

50 Nights of reading

Another initiative that is successful within our school is ‘50 Nights of Reading’. To encourage a habit of reading for pleasure outside of school, Yardley runs a '50 Nights of Reading' strategy. Pupils record reading outside of school in their planners, once they have evidenced fifty nights of reading, they are able to select a book as a prize.

Other opportunities to enjoy reading

  • Regular author visits in person or online.

  • The Yardley Primary School Book Fair, which visits every term, allows pupils the opportunity to browse and purchase books, further promoting a love of reading for pleasure.

  • Our English Twitter account celebrates reading and writing at our school. Follow it here.

  • The Book Fairy regularly visits the school to deliver and share texts.

What does success look like?

We strive to produce pupils who are fully literate and articulate, and are prepared for their secondary education and later life. Through engaging lessons, we aim to foster a love of English and language and an enjoyment of learning. We challenge pupils of all abilities and in order to make good progress in all areas of the English National Curriculum. They are encouraged to have a growth mind-set and to develop the skills of perseverance and resilience. Through reading in particular, pupils are given a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Statutory assessments:

  • EYFS baseline assessments

  • Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

  • KS1 National Curriculum Tests and Teacher Assessments (Year 2) - commonly known as SATs

  • KS2 National Curriculum Tests and Teacher Assessments (Year 6) - commonly known as SATs

Additional assessments:

  • Year 2 pupils who did not meet the threshold in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check complete a phonics screening check at the end of the autumn term. This ensures that interventions and teaching are meeting needs and improving skills and knowledge, and to plan further intervention if required.

  • Regular assessment is completed by class teachers through work sampling, low stakes testing, marking of work and verbal feedback.

  • Assessment points are recorded termly. Year group teams work together to analyse assessments to identify gaps in learning and provision and to ensure this is in place for the next half term 's lesson planning.

Progression of Reading Skills

Year 1 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 2 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 3 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 4 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 5 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 6 - Reading Progression of Skills.pdf

Progression of Writing Skills

Year 1 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 2 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 3 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 4 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 5 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf
Year 6 - Writing Progression of Skills.pdf

Progression Through Genres

Year 1 - Progression Through Genres.pdf
Year 2 - Progression Through Genres.pdf
Year 3 - Progression Through Genres.pdf
Year 4 - Progression Through Genres.pdf
Year 5 - Progression Through Genres.pdf
Year 6 - Progression Through Genres.pdf

If you require any further information about this curriculum area or any other, please do not hesitate to contact us.