How children learn to read at Bluebell Meadow Primary School

At Bluebell Meadow we believe that children grow as readers in an environment rich in literature.

From two to eleven years old pupils have access to a wide range of age-appropriate books in their classrooms.  Book corners have been created where children can browse books at their leisure, spend time in more extended reading and share favourite texts with friends.  At every opportunity, educators enrich on-going topics and events by reading stories and sharing non-fiction texts with children.  Older children engage in extended studies of longer novels through a range of drama, discursive and written tasks while younger pupils respond to texts through role-play, small world scenarios and music. 

Bluebell Reading Curriculum

Reading Comprehension 

Reading comprehension is taught four times each week in Year 2 (where appropriate) to Year 6. Across each year, children will focus on four key strands of reading comprehension: retrieval, vocabulary/word meaning, inference and deduction, and summarising. Within each strand, a different question type will be taught each week. The question types will include: tick box, written answer, match up answers, find and copy, true/false. Children will be taught how to answer these questions to gain 1 or 2 marks as appropriate. Three mark questions will be introduced in UKS2. To answer these questions, children will be taught to make two points each with supporting evidence from the text (PEPE). During the reading comprehension sessions, children in each year group will follow a reading cycle.  

The reading comprehension teaching cycle is as follows:

  • Day 1- Exploration of the text – The teacher introduces an age appropriate, quality text to the children. This text is to be used for the reading tasks in the following two ‘modelled’ lessons. The teacher reads the text to the children, questioning their understanding of what is happening in the passage. Children identify and discuss any unknown vocabulary applying appropriate strategies to work out unfamiliar word meanings. Oracy is key in this lesson. Any objectives from the National Curriculum within each year group not explicitly taught within the modelled reading comprehension are covered in this session (e.g. discussing the text, giving opinions on the text, making links between texts etc.) In Spring Term, within this lesson, children are given mixed retrieval questions to ensure we are consistently recapping retrieval question types.
  • Day 2- Modelled Reading Comprehension – Using the same text that is introduced on day 1, each week, the class teacher teaches the children one of the four strands of reading comprehension with a focus on one specific question type (tick box, written answer, match up etc.). The teacher models how to answer the question type with the children. Following the teacher model, children are given the opportunity to answer questions on the same strand and of the same question format. Questions should be altered so the task is differentiated at least two ways (Yellow/Light Green, Dark Green/Blue). The teacher will support the children to achieve this as needed. As a class, children will mark their answers and discuss how to answer each question, improving their answer as appropriate.
  • Day 3- Independent Reading Comprehension –based on the text from day 1. Reading the text for the third day will increase children’s fluency at reading an age-appropriate text. This should be done independently. Children will answer a further set of questions using the question format that has been taught the previous day.
  • Day 4- Independent Reading Comprehension – Children will independently read a cold text and complete a set of reading comprehension questions. The question set will follow the same strand and question type taught that week. Children will mark their answers and discuss any misunderstandings as a class.
  • Day 5- Reading for Pleasure (PPA day)- The children during this time will access the school library (if possible) to read a chosen book independently (whether this be an accelerated reader book, reading challenge book or simply a book they’ve selected from the library.) During this time, adults are to listen to 1-1 readers.

Reading Year Group Question Progression

Whole Class Reading

Whole class teaching of reading comprehension is covered within the literacy lesson to allow children to apply the skills taught in reading comprehension to the class text. Teachers will recap the skills taught and children will have the opportunity to answer a set of questions on a range of strands and question types covered thus far.

Reading Stamina

Reading stamina is actively promoted across school. It is expected that all children will read 90 words per minute of an age appropriate text from Year 2 onwards. Based on their year group, the children are given a passage to read within a set amount of time.

By the end of each academic year, it is expected that:

  • In Year 1 children will read 60 words of an age appropriate text in one minute.
  • In Year 2 children will read 270 words of an age appropriate text in three minutes.
  • In Year 3 children will read 270 words of an age appropriate text in three minutes.
  • In Year 4 children will read 360 words of an age appropriate text in four minutes.
  • In Year 5 children will read 450 words of an age appropriate text in five minutes.
  • In Year 6 children will read extended texts at 90 words per minute (in line with end of KS2 testing)

To help children achieve this, all children in Year 1 to 6 are to complete a reading speed assessment at the start of the year. Children need to read the given passage for their year group with the class teacher/TA. If they achieve 90 words or more in a minute, they do not need to be assessed further in this way; if they achieve less than 90 words, they should be implicitly targeted with 1:1 reading on a daily basis. They will then need to be assessed for their reading stamina at the end of each term.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is encouraged in a range of ways across school. All classes base their literacy work on a class text to engage all children and inspire a love of learning across the curriculum. Additionally, all classes share a class story with their teacher at the beginning and end of each day so that the children have the chance to listen to someone reading to them. Regular time in our school library during our reading for pleasure allocated time also helps to promote the importance of books to a child’s education. Library clubs are currently running at playtime and after school to enable children to have access to a wide range of literary works. Where possible, children are given the chance to work alongside authors to listen to stories and produce some of their own. Opportunities for library visits are also planned to ensure that children can access this service. Parents are regularly invited into school to take part in reading workshops to develop good home-school links.

The Bluebell reading challenge runs for all children in Year 1 to 6. The challenge is to read 10 books across the course of the year and children are rewarded with a prize for completing this. The challenge comprises of a list of fiction books as well as choosing from a poetry and non-fiction booklet. These books have been carefully selected and are favourites of staff and children aimed at developing reading for pleasure. They can be read independently or shared at home with an adult.

Intervention Programmes for Reading

Regular and rigorous assessments take place throughout lessons and at various points throughout the year to ensure the children are accessing the correct level of reading for them. If children are not working within the expected standard, they will receive extra support and targeted intervention from one or more of the following programmes:

  • Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Keep-up
  • Nessy
  • Star Reader Assessment
  • Speed Read Assessment
  • Salford Reading Test

Progress made by children who participate in these intervention programmes is tracked by the TAs delivering them and then monitored by SLT to identify if it is successful or if a different intervention is needed to ensure that these children reach the expected level in reading.

Home Reading

In Reception, they explore and secure their understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondence through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Phases Two, Three and Four.  Through daily whole class and small group activities, they use their knowledge of sounds to tackle new words.  This learning is reinforced through regular practice with phonologically decodable texts published by Big Cat Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.  

This continues throughout Key Stage One.  As decoding becomes more fluent and sight vocabulary expands children tackle a wider range of text styles, sharing and discussing both fiction and non-fiction books.  They learn to use textual signposts to navigate texts and books more independently.  They consolidate their phonological decoding skills through Letters and Sounds Phase Five. In Year 2, children access Accelerated Reader when they are ready.

In Key Stage Two children are exposed to texts of increasing length and complexity.  We use Accelerated Reader programme so children can choose a book at their level and they would complete a quiz on the text once they have finished. The quizzes determine how quick they move through the scheme.

Reading links



For more information about the teaching and assessment of phonics please see our Phonics page