Reading

Reading at Bluecoat

Reading at Bluecoat C of E Primary School is about learning a life skill and promoting lifelong learning. The skills needed to learn to read are taught with a balance on understanding of the context and plot, phonic skills, word work, punctuation and fluency and phrasing.

Key Focus

Our key focus is on teaching our pupils the skills they need to read and enjoy real books both for pleasure and information; this is encouraged and promoted through weekly school library visits, town library visits, our lunchtime mobile library and a variety of reading clubs such as Quest for Years 5 and 6. We see reading as a holistic to the curriculum and it is interwoven through every area including ICT with our home/school use of the Espresso, Oxford Owl and Nessy websites.

Oxford Reading Tree is used as the core scheme to engage our emerging readers from Reception through to the end of Year 2, supplemented by a variety of additional schemes according to pupils learning needs.


From Year 2 onwards, teachers plan and teach Guided Reading for the whole class so that areas of reading, grammar and vocabulary are identified for each session. These areas are explicitly taught through examples of high quality writing. Words are explained through dictionary definitions, pictures, videos and in context with antonyms and synonyms and alternative meanings are also clarified. Lessons begin with retrieval, interpret and author’s choice questions and then follow through with all the lessons required to scaffold the child’s successful reading at the end of the block. All children have the opportunity to practise reading the whole class guided reading text out loud, and they also use APE (answer it, prove it, explain it) to answer questions in detail. Children who are still struggling with decoding skills, in these year groups, will also receive group or 1:1 work with an adult.

At Bluecoat School we see…

  • Reading for Pleasure – adults and children enjoying reading books, listening to books, talking about what they love to read
  • Enthusiastic adults who are an inspiration to their pupils as readers and aim to support all children to be aspiring readers
  • READING – children reading in groups with an adult leading or supporting, in pairs, independently, aloud and/or silently, during lessons and at break/lunch times.
  • Fluent and phrased reading – reading that sounds good at any level from the simple sentence to the chapter of a novel
  • Well organised enjoyable lessons with appropriate resources
  • Clear objectives at the start of the session, referred to during the session and then reflected upon at the end
  • Book introductions (and recaps) – where adults set the scene/introduce characters/explain key vocabulary (not asking children to read COLD)
  • Discussions – children talking about the text and making direct reference to evidence in the text
  • Questioning – open ended questions formulated by adults and children and asked of peers and staff
  • Activation of prior learning – through the medium of text, film, photos, props…help pupils to bring what they already know about the subject to the table and share with the group so that they begin reading with all the neurones firing as to what to expect
  • Links – being made continually throughout the lessons at all levels and to prior learning in class and prior knowledge of the pupils.
  • Opportunities for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) as a focus or intertwined in relevant places throughout the session
  • Use of technical vocabulary throughout the session by adults and pupils
  • Using reading strategies appropriately – ensuring pupils are combining meaning, syntax and visual cues and are able to articulate what they are doing
  • Children having ownership of their reading both physically holding and using the book and also being reflective about themselves as readers
  • Metacognition – the awareness of and ability to talk about what you are doing – this applies to all areas of the curriculum including reading
  • Metalinguistic talk – children showing an awareness of why authors have selected words or chosen grammar techniques etc. for a purpose
  • Staff modelling reading – both reading aloud so pupils can hear how good reading sounds and how punctuation works and also talking aloud their thought processes
  • Time – time planned in for reading, for reflecting and for discussing- are we consolidating reading or extending reading and what next?
  • Give pupils time to reflect and discuss their own learning from that session what did you learn today?
  • Recording reading in reading diaries and most importantly next steps

Book Band Reading System

Following discussions with parents and carers about our book band reading system, and requests for further information, we thought it would be helpful to explain the system and our age related expectations for reading for the children of Bluecoat School.

Please be aware that children progress at different rates but if you are concerned please come in and speak to your child’s teacher. To download the Book Band Reading System letter please click on the link below.

Book Band Letter

Other elements we may see…

  • Talking about the blueprints of literature, the types of stories e.g. good vs. evil, journeys and returns, hope etc
  • Explaining signposts in texts – idea words which give us the signs to understanding the text , for example – or, furthermore, but, he, she, who, what, why, where, when, which
  • Opportunities for aural reading – for pupils to listen and enjoy and also use inference skills
  • Use of e-books (Oxford Owl, Espresso, Nessy)
  • Use of Learning Journals for pupils to note ideas/new learning from their reading session
  • Reciprocal Reading (comprehension/Inference focus) – a very effective method of pupils learning through child led reading sessions. The pupils, once taught the key skills of Predicting, Questioning, Clarifying and Summarising, are able to discuss the text and challenge their own learning in a very real and powerful way. Groups can run independently with cue cards or texts with a specific reciprocal reading layout or can be scaffolded by an adult
  • Visualise – pupils are encouraged to visualise parts of the text and then extend their inference about the text