At Handale, we are passionate about reading and we endeavour to make sure that all our children develop a love of reading and that every child leaves us as a confident reader.

Reading is at the heart of Handale Primary School. Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at school. Everything else depends on it so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.


We want every child to love reading and to want to read for themselves. Therefore, we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

Our Intent for Reading

At the heart of our strategy is our drive to foster a love of reading, enriching children’s learning through carefully designed teaching activities that utilise imaginative stories and thought-provoking texts. From the important foundations in our systematic and structured phonics program to our range of class novels, school library, regular visits to our local library, interaction with authors, celebrated book days, awards and class reading corners, we make sure our school illustrates the importance of reading at every turn. Reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for success in future lines of study and employment. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole federation approach to the teaching of reading in order to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children attaining the expected standard or higher.

We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading a range of engaging and challenging texts from a range of genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry).
  • Become fluent and age appropriate readers across Early Years and Key Stage 1 through our fully embedded and progressive phonic scheme Little Wandle as well as exposing children to appropriate texts to build further reading skills.
  • Reach the expected standard in Year 1 phonics with word reading fluency being the most important focus on the curriculum. This will then allow our children to build on their understanding of what they have read, exposure to an increasing range of vocabulary and developed comprehension skills ready for Key Stage Two.
  • Access and explore class novels and weekly extracts with coverage of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  • Children accessing Little Wandle weekly take home a book suitably matched to their phonic knowledge and all children select a book from the school library and classroom reading area following our ‘Read for the Stars’ home school reading initiative.
  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy.

“At Handale, read a range of books to further our knowledge. Reading is a priority and we get to select books we would like to read.”

“Reading lots of books makes me happy and helps me with my writing.”

Phonics and Early Reading at Handale Primary School


At Handale, we follow the Little Wandle Phonic Scheme which is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme developed for schools, by schools. Teaching young children to read is achieved by expert teaching of phonics. Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes or letter groups). Little Wandle provides an extensive teaching programme meeting all of the expectations of the National Curriculum to ensure children become fluent readers whilst preparing your children to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check.

Alongside the daily phonics session, children participate in a reading session and practise their reading with a book matched to their phonic ability.  We have ensured that our reading books are fully matched to the phonic scheme and pupils read books matched accurately to their phonic knowledge.

Whole Class Reading

When the children have completed the Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds Programme, they then move on to a whole class reading approach. We teach reading through two different approaches: whole class texts and through access of a daily novel. The daily novel is read for at least 15 minutes to the class by the class teacher at the end of the school day to model good reading though fluency and expression. At Handale Primary, we recognise that reading extends beyond decoding and fluency. In order for children to become successful readers in the longer term, children must develop language, comprehension, dispositions and linguistic skills that phonics alone cannot deliver. We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and enjoy reading for pleasure. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. Reading ‘real’ books is at the heart of our curriculum and within our school timetable we ensure that children across the school have access to authentic texts. Across all age ranges, children are able to enjoy the experience of reading together and sharing the joy and emotions of a shared text. Staff read to children of all ages daily, sharing their passion for and skill in reading aloud; this time is protected and prioritised within our curriculum. Modelling prosody, through pace, flow, rhythm, language patterns and rhyme, is essential so that all children are hearing quality oration of texts.

Read for the Stars

We currently have a ‘Read for the Stars’ programme in school to encourage children and parents to share books at home. Every term, the children are given a target of how many stars they need to achieve by reading at home. If a parent and child share a book three times a week at home, they are given a star in their reading record. If a child collects the required amount of stars, parents are invited into school to celebrate during a reading party. All teachers check reading records weekly. Children are also given the opportunity to read to other members of staff in school to gain extra stars towards their reading success.

Reading Environment

All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting books corners, which are updated frequently for children to sit and read in and we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children. In our book corners you will often find teacher and children recommendations and reviews of their favourite books. Teachers carefully select books which include previously read book, books from their year groups reading list and books of interest to the class. Non-Fiction books, graphic novels and First News also feature in all classrooms to ensure that there is a wide selection for different preferences.

We have recently updated our outside reading area for children to enjoy reading for pleasure at break and dinner times. Our ‘Reading Shed’ and ‘Outdoor Reading Classroom’ are updated weekly to include author focuses, exciting books and weekly reading tasks. Our reading leaders and ambassadors ensure that our reading areas are full of a variety of novels and texts to suit the different preferences of children across the school.

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To view our Reading Strategy Document, please click here.


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