Holistic Reading

At Owler Brook Primary School, we recognise that phonics does not help all children in learning to read. Therefore, we also deliver a reading programme called Holistic Reading. This reading intervention works on developing a bank of vocabulary that children can read on sight. It allows the children to become fluent readers with a wider range of texts built on sight reading strategies and games. We also ensure that our children that are new to English access this reading programme as an intervention to accelerate reading progress as rapidly as possible. Children are specifically targeted to access this programme in FS and Year 1 to ensure their reading fluency level is increased going into Y2. Children from Y2 and across KS2 access holistic reading as an intervention.

Guided Reading

All children across the school receive an adult led Guided Reading session in their class twice per week or a daily Book Study session.

During Guided Reading, classroom practitioners focus on targeted groups of children to extend their reading skills through carefully planned reading tasks appropriate for their age and stage. Children then complete follow up activities based on their focussed sessions and independent learning tasks which consolidates previous learning. Children are given the opportunity to develop their comprehension skills through comprehension activities, inference and deduction skill based activities as well as predicting and summarising.

During Book Study sessions, children access the same text. This is usually pitched at a higher level than the individuals in the class currently read at. This is to promote more exciting, challenging texts to pupils and to develop their skills of inference and deduction. As a class, the children explore comprehension questions based on reading domains, and then revisit the task either independently or with adult support.

Reading Environments

Each school has a school library stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Children are encouraged to borrow books from the school library to support their learning as well as choosing books for enjoyment. The libraries are well organised, attractive environments with comfortable seating.

Every classroom has a reading area with a reading display. Children are encouraged to access the reading areas independently and have regular opportunities to change their reading books. Each classroom has a range of book banded books and children know which book band is suitable for them. Parents are also invited into classrooms in mornings to encourage children to change their home reading books.


The range of books we use to teach reading ensures that our children read a range of quality texts that cover a variety of genres as their reading skills develop. As children become more confident readers, they are encouraged to choose their own books, which suit both their interests and reading needs. Our aim is for children to develop an ownership over the books they choose and to be confident in talking about reasons for their choices. In addition to the books in school, each class from Y1 onwards visits the local library; this enables our children to choose independently from an even wider range of books, as well as have experienced staff read to them and teach them how to use a library.

We also used the Library Service – this ensures that our classrooms always have a good selection of topic books to support our children’s learning across the curriculum.

Class Stories and Reading for Pleasure

Class stories are also used to engage children in reading within our classrooms – and where possible these are linked to our curriculum themes. Shorter stories are used in both Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage to hook in our younger readers. In school, we have books to suit all readers including an extensive range of high interest low-level texts. These allow all our children to access reading material at a level which is suitable to them.

Assessment of Reading

Assessment is an important strand of the teaching and learning of reading. It is used to inform the children’s next steps and takes many forms in our classrooms. Ongoing observations/assessments are made by our practitioners during Guided Reading/Book Study sessions as specific objectives are taught and reviewed. Additionally we use benchmarking and written reading tests to further inform our ongoing teacher assessments.