Fir Bank Primary School



At Fir Bank, we put reading at the heart of our curriculum and foster an environment whereby our children develop a love of reading. We provide a coherent reading curriculum that engages children throughout their learning journey at Fir Bank, helping them to grow into confident, intuitive and fluent readers. Through reading, we want to inspire, and excite children so that they establish an appreciation and love for reading that goes beyond their school years. Our children acquire a rich bank of knowledge about the world, both culturally and emotionally so that they can become successful members of society. We do this by providing children with creative and ambitious quality first teaching that is enhanced by a rich set of carefully chosen texts and genres. Our approach aims to enhance our children’s vocabulary and comprehension skills. We promote wider reading daily across the full curriculum, so that our children are continually immersed in the joy of reading, including reading for pleasure.



At Fir Bank Primary School, we teach phonics using the validated systematic synthetic scheme; Little Wandle. Early reading at Fir Bank, begins in nursery, when we teach Little Wandle, Foundations for Phonics. This begins our children’s learning journey by fostering a love of stories, rhyme and song that coincides with their communication and language development.

As children progress through nursery, they are introduced to letters during summer term so that they are ready for formal phonics lessons in September of Reception. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (Year 2 - Autumn term only). In Year 2, children then move onto daily whole-class reading comprehension lessons.

Children are assessed half termly and interventions/adaptations are put in place immediately for any children not on track.

Children that are falling behind, are assessed using the Little Wandle assessment tool to identify gaps and put into place immediate Keep-Up and Rapid Catch-Up interventions delivered daily to target these gaps.

All of our children in Reception and Year 1, complete three reading sessions per week in small groups as part of the Little Wandle programme.

In Year 2 to Year 6, children receive whole class comprehension lessons. These lessons expose children to a variety of text types and language using Literacy Shed. We explicitly teach children all content domains and have a strong focus on vocabulary.

We have a well-stocked Reading Scheme of books for home-reading from Foundation Stage to Year 6. We begin with wordless books in Reception that coincide with our teaching of Little Wandle. Once children can blend, children follow Big Cat Little Wandle Reading Scheme books. When children leave the phonics program, they move onto Oxford Reading Tree books up to Year 6.

We follow a reading scheme to provide our children with a broad variety of books that exposes them to an extended selection of books including, traditional tales to more modern books of all text types. We strive for children to take ownership of their reading and hence encourage them to choose the books they want to read within the scheme. This book is changed weekly depending on whether the child has finished it. This is closely monitored as action is taken when children do not bring book bags in regularly. Interventions are in place for those children who read less outside of school.

We have invested in a school library equipped with high-quality age-appropriate texts to encourage a love of reading. Children choose a reading for pleasure book to go alongside their book from the school reading scheme. All children enjoy a reading for pleasure library hour per week; ‘Book Club’.

From Year 1, we use Reading Ninja to encourage children to read at home. Once children have read 8 times in a week, they receive a privilege and there is one prize per class each half term for the child that has put in the most effort with home reading.

We encourage our children to take part in the local Oldham Library Reading Challenge during the six-week holiday and children are awarded for this in school if they are successful.

Every child is exposed to reading throughout the whole week and across all subjects in the curriculum.

All children read to an adult at least once a week and this is recorded and tracked in their reading records.

Year 1 to Year 6 are assessed formally each term using NFER or past SATs papers. These summative assessments enable teachers to identify any predominant gaps and content domains to focus on further more.

Our Key Stage 2 Reading Champions are responsible for leading and managing the library, alongside providing each year the opportunity to read in the library during lunchtimes.

We have invested in a Reading Shed outdoors so that Key Stage One can read during their break and lunch times. This is run by our Year 2 Reading Champions. Children can get comfortable between the cushions and blankets, this provides children with the option of reading for pleasure during their free-time.

Children have the opportunity to visit the local library as a whole class to lend books that they can take home. Staff ensure all children have a local library card with Oldham Local Authority in order to do this.



We believe that reading is the key to all learning, so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments. Children have the chance to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles is enhanced. Through the teaching of phonics and comprehension, our aim is for our children to become fluent and confident readers who can read for sustained periods. They develop curiosity through questioning and predicting what will come next. They will infer what the author is suggesting and they will be able to summarise and paraphrase texts they have read. Children leave Fir Bank with considerate comprehension skills and have a wide understanding of prior knowledge of the topic due to a solid grasp of vocabulary.

We are incredibly proud of the progress and commitment that our children develop, they are not frightened to challenge themselves. Our pupils leave primary school well-equiped for the next stage of their reading journey into high school and beyond.



Early Reading and Phonics


The systematic teaching of phonics has an extremely high priority throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and beyond. At Fir Bank Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting, and blending skills. Phonics is also taught to enable children to become confident writers and spellers, enabling them to hear the sounds in a word clearly and then write these down.



We teach phonics through the validated systematic synthetic scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. Children are taught the essential skills needed for reading and writing. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and Year 1. Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels.

Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered to differentiated groups of learners and includes fast paced, engaging activities.  Each child also has a reading book that is closely matched to their phonic ability to reinforce sounds learnt.

In EYFS and KS1, teachers assess pupils’ phonics knowledge half termly using phonics assessments and Reading Early Learning Goal. These regular assessments inform planning and groupings and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. Interventions are delivered to children in Years 3 & 4 who still need support and any SEND pupils who will benefit from them. These are also assessed half termly to monitor progress.



Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers and confident writers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we passionately believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods;

Learning walks and professional dialogue with teachers.

  •  Accessing children’s understanding of vocabulary before and after the ‘knowledge and skills’ have been taught.
  •  Images and videos of the children’s practical learning (books/ class floor book/displays)
  •  Interviewing children about their learning (pupil voice).
  •  Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books/ class floor book are scrutinised and there is an opportunity for dialogue between teachers and to discuss the learning and teaching in their class.


Please find below the Little Wandle Programme Overview that we follow and you can find more information regarding Little Wandle on their website using the link below. This link will take you directly to the 'For Parents' section of their website on how you can support your child's reading progression.

For parents - Letters and Sounds (