Developing a love of reading – English

Developing a love of reading – English

At Hope Wood Academy, we strongly believe that all pupils deserve a rich English curriculum – tailored to students’ individual needs – which encourages extensive reading of both whole books, extracts and other types of texts. We believe that active encouragement of Reading for Pleasure is a core part of every pupil’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment because extensive reading and exposure to a broad range of texts contribute widely to each pupil’s social-emotional development, educational achievement and life experiences.



Reading in the Primary Department

At Hope Wood Academy, we believe in the power of reading to transport our learners to magical worlds of extraordinary characters and adventure.  We also value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to developing the reading skills of our learners alongside developing a love of literature. We strive for our learners to be able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts across the academy’s curriculum. We aim to achieve this by promoting a love of reading, teaching pre-reading skills and phonics systematically, whilst continuing to meet the needs of all of our learners.


Pre-Reading Skills

Pre-reading skills and activities are developed to assess the needs and learning styles of our students.  These carefully planned activities can include engaging our learners in sensory stories from rich, vibrant and imaginative texts, modelling how to hold a book, demonstrating that in English print goes from left to right and sorting pictures from text.

Classroom environments are developed and designed to allow learners to explore sensory and role-play activities linked to the stories they learn in class.

With encouragement and support, students become aware of and recognise print and signs in their school environment and community.  Language comprehension is developed through planned activities and by talking and reading to learners.


Phonics and Spelling Teaching



Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write by teaching them the alphabetic code. It helps young people hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. At Hope Wood Academy we use the Floppy’s Phonics scheme as a way of teaching phonics to our students.

Young people have daily taught phonics sessions where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities matched to their starting points and developing needs. Class staff draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure students are fully supported with their phonics learning.

Students work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. All learners begin their phonics journey with Phase 1. This phase provides a range of listening activities through play, to develop listening skills and the ability to discriminate sounds. Games include listening to animal sounds, environment sounds and beginning to hear initial sounds through playing ‘I spy.’

Once Phase 1 is complete, learners continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2. This marks the start of systematic phonic work where grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced (students are introduced to letters representing sounds). The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught, writing the letters to encode words. Learners practise sounding out and blending words and representing the sounds they can hear as written letter shapes. During this phase, our learners will be taught and practise letter formation through multi-sensory approaches.

Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then progressed to cover sounds represented by more than one letter e.g. ‘sh’, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage, just one grapheme (spelling) is given for each phoneme.

In Phase 4, learners start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants e.g. bend and scrap. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase to allow consolidation.
Learners working within Phase 5, broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn alternative pronunciations and spellings for graphemes they already know e.g. which ea / ee grapheme to use.

Phase 6 develops a variety of spelling strategies including homophones (word-specific spellings) e.g. see/ sea, the spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also, the accurate spelling of words containing unusual grapheme-phoneme correspondences e.g. laughs, two. Phase 6 spellings are taught through ‘The Spelling Shed’ scheme using weekly spelling activities and lesson.


Reading Books

Initially, as our young people learn to read, they are given a picture book with no words with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually as the students’ knowledge of phonics develops they will begin to phonetically decode words.

During Phase 2 of phonics, learners will take home reading books, which are fully phonetically decodable and linked to the phonics phase the child is on.  This allows learners to practise and reinforce their phonics learning at home. Students are able to take an additional book home, which exposes them to phonics beyond their phase, to share and read for pleasure. Our reading books are organised into phonics phases and then later, into numbered bands for use with Accelerated Reader once a learner has completed Phase 5.

Pupils also have access to additional phonics activities and eBooks online using their Oxford Owl class accounts.


Teaching of other reading skills

In the classroom, reading skills such as comprehension and inference are taught linked to focused class texts.  Pupils develop these skills through activities such as role-playing stories, using drama to interview characters and answer questions about story events.  Pupils are encouraged to give their own thoughts and opinions on stories and compare them to ones they have previously read.



Reading for Pleasure

We want our learners to love reading and actively promote reading and authors within our primary department.

Alongside their phonics practise book or Accelerated Reading book, pupils can choose an additional book from their class library to take home.  This is for young people to read either on their own, if able to, or alongside an adult for no other reason than they want to.  Our class libraries and reading areas are stocked with a range of fiction, non-fiction, and a variety of authors.  Pupils also have access to further texts via their class Oxford Owl accounts.

Class teachers read aloud daily to their learners and talk about books that they also enjoy reading.  Books that are read aloud to classes are voted for by learners using age-appropriate methods and staff provide choices that balance classic children’s texts with new, up-to-date releases.

Authors are also celebrated and promoted using a reading for pleasure display in the primary department corridor.  The author displayed changes regularly and provides talking points with learners about any texts from the author they may have read or may want to read. Author visits and online author talks are encouraged and provide opportunities for leaners to listen to authors and ask questions.

Reading is celebrated during key events for World Book Day with pupils able to dress up as their favourite characters if they wish to and engage in practical and interesting activities linked to books.



A strong focus within the department is on Reading for Pleasure as a means of promoting mental wellbeing and personal development and increasing students’ confidence with regards to reading as a pleasurable activity. At the forefront of this vision is encouraging pupils to read widely and often and for them to be comfortable with reading in order to build up self-confidence and enjoyment.

We aim to promote the concept of Reading for Pleasure throughout the key stages by seamlessly continuing to build on the skills and knowledge required in primary school, whilst further developing the independence skills needed for post-16 education. We ensure that we include a range of ‘real’ and age-appropriate books within the secondary English curriculum, as well as the opportunity for sustained reading from a range of other self‐chosen fiction and non‐fiction texts from our well-stocked school library.

All students read daily during timetabled sessions at the start of the day. After initial assessment, a best fit approach is used to match students ability with a reading band, which allows them to choose exciting books which best suit their needs. Students quiz their books on the Accelerated Reader programme which allows for staff to closely monitor and track progress in reading fluency.

We believe that all staff should be ‘reading role models for pupils; normalising reading and encouraging students to read through recommendations from their own reading. Likewise, major literary days such as World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day and World Poetry Day are celebrated within the department and wider school. Students are encouraged to take chosen books home and share these with parents and carers, therefore establishing and extending Reading for Pleasure as a social activity.

Classrooms all include a wide range of texts and students are exposed to a literally-rich environment including areas for students to enjoying small group or individual reading within a well-known and supportive environment. Students can read books from our library or engage in reading materials online via their Get Epic account which allows for a wide variety of reading materials to be accessed.