What does Reading look like at Chisenhale?




Our reading curriculum strives for all children to develop a love of reading and to become motivated to develop their reading skills, which will enable them to flourish as fluent and confident readers.


Reading is the cornerstone to our pupils accessing so much of the curriculum and for this reason it must be prioritised and highly valued by all members of staff. It is prioritised through both English lessons and throughout the wider curriculum. To become a reader, experiencing books of all kinds, and sharing this passion with peers and the adults runs through the veins of our school culture.

We want our children to:

  • See themselves as a reader
  • Read for pleasure, becoming enthusiastic and reflective readers
  • Be introduced to language rich texts, which link to the wider curriculum and respond to children’s interests
  • Understand the relevance of reading to themselves and how this is a lifelong skill
  • Develop resilience as independent readers
  • Ensure our children have sound phonic awareness and use a phonics first approach to reading




Reading in Early Years

In Early Years, books are part of the daily practice both as part of shared reading, part of story time and they can be accessed independently for the children to explore and read throughout the wider Early Years provision. During shared reading, staff talk through the books read aloud, discussing key themes and allowing the children to share their thoughts. Books are re-read over time to support children to be able to use story language, retell stories, sequence events and develop their understanding of characters.

Early readers in Reception are taught phonics through the systematic approach using THE Partnership Phonics Programme, a DfE validated systematic synthetic approved scheme. Pupils read engaging decodable texts matched to their current phonics learning from Pearson’s Bug Club both in school during guided reading and as their home reading texts. Parents and carers are invited to a phonics and reading workshop which offers guidance on how we teach phonics at Chisenhale and how to support their child’s reading at home. These resources are also available on our school website and further help can be accessed on THE Partnership Phonics website:




In addition to their decodable book, children take home a reading for pleasure book of their choice which can be chosen from their classroom book areas.


Reading in KS1

Phonics teaching and learning continues in Year 1, like Reception using THE Partnership Phonics Programme and reading the Pearsons Bug Club decodable books that are aligned with the children’s learning within guided reading and as their home reading books. At the end of Year 1, children take the Phonics Screening Check. However, phonics learning continues until the children are able to apply their learning of the Phase 5 phonemes confidently in both their reading and spelling, learning and consolidating the different grapheme-phoneme correspondences at the start of Year 2.

Home reading books are also accessible online via the Pearsons Bug Club website:



Year 2 continue to use the Pearsons Bug Club reading books within guided reading. They can borrow Accelerated Reader books to guide them in their choices for their home reading books. Further information about Accelerated Reader is included at the end of this page.


Within guided reading, as the children are learning how to read, the decodable texts are carefully selected according to the children’s current phonics ability. When these books are introduced, staff talk through the front cover which introduces key sounds, tricky words and decodable words. The adults ensure children are reading aloud to develop their reading fluency. This ensures that the children increase their reading speed, automaticity in word reading, as well as develop their reading expression. The adults structure group discussions about texts thinking about the characters, plots, themes and the way that the author has written the book. This develops a range of reading skills and strategies, such as predicting, summarising, retrieving, visualising, forming connections and forming inferences to meet the end of KS1 expectation.


All children in KS1 also take home a reading for pleasure book of their choice which can be chosen from their classroom book areas or the school library. We are always striving to update the books in our classroom book areas, having a range of language-rich, quality texts. This includes a range of genres, ensuring that our school community’s diversity is well represented and that new releases are introduced as often as possible. We use the CLPE, Just Imagine and THE Partnership as guidance on these choices and teachers access the Tower Hamlets Library Services to order books each term that compliment wider reading across the curriculum.


Reading in KS2

In KS2 we use whole class guided reading, with all pupils having access to the same high quality text. Fluency practice is prioritised, making this the greater proportion of the reading lesson acknowledging the research from the EEF showing that greater reading fluency leads to improved comprehension. Within each lesson, staff model reading aloud, discuss how they read the text, sharing their “thinking as a reader”.  Through strategies such as echo reading or reading with a partner, children practise their fluency, developing this with repeated reads of the same text and receiving feedback on this from the teacher. As a class, the adults facilitate quality book discussions to develop a breadth of comprehension skills, such as analysing story themes, clarifying vocabulary, summarising the main events or discussing authorial choices in language. At the end of Year 6, children take a statutory reading SATs assessment.


In KS2, every child takes home a book of their choice to read for pleasure from their class book area and/or the school library. Like Year 2, these can be Accelerated Reader books - this system helps to guide the children to a book with appropriate challenge and interest for them to read. Further information about Accelerated Reader is included at the end of this page.

In addition, teachers timetable independent reading time for each child (normally this takes place at the start of each school day) to ensure they are having time to achieve their reading miles.  This gives all pupils the opportunity to practise their reading, build experience with a range of texts, encounter new knowledge and vocabulary, and develop their fluency. 


Story time

To promote reading for pleasure, all year groups have daily story time. Every classroom has a display on their door to show what book the class is currently reading. We also have a whole school display in the library to reflect our story time reads over the academic year.

All our book choices are considered. Staff are encouraged to select a range of books written by underrepresented authors which reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our school community.  


Chisenhale’s Core Book Challenge!

In spring term, we launch the Chisenhale Core Book Challenge! A selection of quality “must read” books are shared with each year group and they are challenged to read, reflect and enjoy these over the academic year. This is an opportunity for pupils to engage with a range of quality texts appropriate to their age, contributing to their rich reading diet. Further information about the challenge is available at the end of this page. 


Other ways we promote reading for pleasure

All classes visit the school library weekly.  Pupils can also access the library at lunchtimes if they wish, to engage with some quiet reading time.

The school celebrates reading through marking World Book Day, hosting book fairs and book swaps, and we will be launching a new initiative called ‘Reading Breakfasts’ this year for families to join in with. 

Reading is always discussed at Parents Evenings ensuring that we are working together with families to support this crucial development.


Support for pupils working below the age expectations

Teachers and support staff provide extra practice and support for the children who need to accelerate their progress. If a child needs support, we consider the specific needs of the pupil and offer targeted support within our adaptive teaching model in lessons and further tailored catch ups or interventions if required beyond the lessons.

This could include:

  • During whole class reading sessions, additional modelling and targeted questioning
  • Additional phonics teaching to keep up with the whole class learning within Reception and Year 1
  • 1:1 reading with a member of staff at their instructional level where fluency and prosody are modelled
  • Being part of a Reciprocal Reading group in KS2
  • If a child in Year 3 has not met the expected phonics standard in the Phonics Screening Check, further phonics support following THE Partnership programme
  • Explicit vocabulary teaching
  • Use of IDL to support reading
  • Additional reading opportunities to add to a pupils’ reading miles or to broaden their background knowledge about a key topic or curriculum area



Children leave Chisenhale with:

  • A love of reading!
  • Able to read fluently and with prosody
  • Able to understand what they have read
  • A growing imagination
  • A breadth of vocabulary, one which they wish to develop further
  • Able to communicate confidently and effectively with their peers about what they have read, articulating their thoughts and ideas, being able to elaborate and explain these clearly
  • With a habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and to seek information


If you have any further questions about reading, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher or contact the English Leads through the teachers@chisenhale.towerhamlets.sch.uk email address.



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