Northern Federation


Reading in school

Early reading skills are taught consistently and rigorously. Alongside our systematic teaching of phonics, we also instil a love of reading. Teachers shares books for pleasure with their class daily, with opportunities to revisit favourites chosen by the children in their class or to share new and rich texts from their own collection. High quality texts are mapped across our year groups to provide opportunities to expand children’s cultural capital and experience of a range of genres. We do this through talking about texts, making connections with children’s experiences and broadening children’s horizons. Sharing books also provides further opportunity for children develop their understanding of how stories and poems work.

Children take part in daily reading sessions. These may be 1:1, group or class based dependent on age, stage and task. The infant school focus on building fluency, matching books carefully to individual children’s phonic knowledge. We use a variety of consistent approaches to support children to develop, from learning to read to include reading to learn. These approaches include:

  • Sound spotting with support cards for tricky words and digraphs

  • Cumulative blending

  • Decode and re-read for speed

  • Echo reading to build expression

  • Ghost read to build confidence and fluency

  • 1:1 reading

We enable children to read with accuracy, proper speed, and meaningful expression through targeted teaching and additional intervention work as needed.

As children move to the Junior school the teaching of reading fluency through the techniques above continues to be embedded whilst progressing into reading with expression through the exploration of punctuation when reading aloud. Children continue to develop their fluency alongside their comprehension skills building clear ideas of varying contexts through a rich diet of directed and supplementary texts.

To find out more about our phonics teaching programme click here.

Reading at home

Northern Federation use teacher directed texts, which are phonetically decodable. These are organised into colours indicated by the sticker on the spine. The books across the Federation are organised carefully according to their phonic content. This ensures that children are reading books matched to their phonic knowledge. 


It is really important that children develop their comprehension skills alongside their ability to read the words on the page so you may find that your child is able to read the words fluently but continues on the same colour stage for a while to enable them to focus on developing their understanding. Class teachers assess the children’s reading on a regular basis and will change their colour stage only when they are confident that both the comprehension and word reading targets have been fully met. Children at the end of Year 2 or in key stage 2, who have demonstrated their ability to use all the reading strategies, will move onto the ‘free reader’ scheme, where children will have access to a range of fiction and non-fiction books. Books at the junior school are still colour coded beyond phonic phases in order to indicate a progression appropriate to content for age ranges as books increase in complexity and theme.

Colour stages are intended to support each child as a reader, and enable teachers to support children with applying their phonics knowledge. They should not be used to make comparisons between children; nor is it a race to ‘get to the end’. Children should read at home as frequently as possible, and the adult to whom they read should sign the reading record each time. We ask parents to try to read with their child 4 times a week. As children progress into upper key stage 2 we understand that they often like to read for pleasure alone. Children are welcome to begin to record their own reading entry at this time.

We all know how vitally important it is for children to read and be read to at home. Equally, we know how difficult it can be to know how to help. 

Things to Remember

  • Reading little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.

  • Think about how long you are reading for – the amount of reading time shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention. It doesn't have to be a whole book, a few pages read with focus is far more beneficial.

  • Pick your timing carefully – it’s best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.

  • Every child is an individual – try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.

Additional online eBooks are available free from Oxford Owl.


Reading for pleasure

As well as learning the vital skills to decode books, children should experience a variety of books. Reading for pleasure opens up new worlds for children. It gives them the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters. Interestingly, reading for pleasure also improves children’s well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity, and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others.

There are some great suggestions of titles to read for each year group below.

Reading for pleasure - Reception List

Reading for pleasure - Year 1 List

Reading for pleasure - Year 2 List

Reading for pleasure - Year 3 List

Reading for pleasure - Year 4 List

Reading for pleasure - Year 5 List

Reading for pleasure - Year 6 List