Reading at Gosforth Park First School

At Gosforth Park we believe that being a fluent and confident reader is at the core of our Curriculum and is the key that unlocks future learning.  Alongside teaching every child the mechanics of how to read, we also aim to help all of our children to develop a deep enjoyment of books and reading – to become readers!  We also encourage parents to support their children at all stages of their child's reading development.

Our School’s approach to Reading

In reading we aim to enable pupils to:

  • develop a love of literature
  • read with enjoyment and perceive reading as an activity which is a source of   both pleasure and information
  • become fluent, independent and enthusiastic readers who can read using a variety of strategies and for a range of purposes
  • read critically, understanding and evaluating what they find in written texts, and sharing their responses with others
  • understand the layout of books and how to use different kinds of books
  • understand and respond to literature drawn from the English literary heritage and from other cultures
  • have access to a wide range of reading material, including digital media,  and help them to develop the ability to select appropriately according to their purpose.

The teaching and learning of reading runs across the entire curriculum. We aim to provide a rich reading environment to develop the children’s skills in reading.

We are part of the Newcastle Literature Works Project in which teachers work together to identify strategies to use quality literature at the heart of the broader curriculum. The approach results in enthused pupils who enjoy reading, and it encourages them to share their views on what they have read, developing their ability to compare texts and express opinions about them. Teachers plan purposeful talk and writing opportunities. Gosforth Park leads on CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for other teachers in the area of Early Years/Key Stage 1, and we also host university students learning about the approach.

Every day, the children take part in shared reading as part of their literacy and each week they take part in Guided Reading/Individual Reading sessions with the teacher and support staff. Staff keep detailed records of reading progress.

We have a school library stocked full of enticing, exciting and engaging books. We encourage all adults in the school to talk about their own reading and to model reading habits to the children. Our library displays celebrate our class Literature Works activities.

First Steps For Reading - Phonics
Learning to read is one of the most important things that your child will learn at school. All other learning depends upon it so we work hard to ensure that children learn to read quickly and efficiently.  Reading is taught systematically by using a synthetic phonics approach so that children can tackle new words by blending sounds. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. The "Letters and Sounds" programme is followed from Nursery, from phases 1 to 6, and children are grouped daily for 15-20 minutes phonics sessions with teachers and teaching assistants. KS2 children, who have completed "letters and sounds", continue to work on "support for spelling" strategies in their classrooms.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all kinds of stories, poetry and information books.

In Reception, Key Stage One and Key Stage 2 we use Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Snapdragons and Fireflies reading schemes. As children progress they are offered a wider variety of texts, including a rich variety of high quality fiction and non-fiction books.

How long will it take to learn to read well?
By the end of Y2 your child should be able to read aloud with some fluency books that are the right level for his or her age. At the end of Y1 children take a National Phonics check which is an indicator of how well they are progressing in their phonics acquisition. At the end of Y2 their reading skills - both decoding and comprehension - are tested in SATS. In Y3 and 4 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading and be critical readers and to make clear choices in their reading habits.

Reading Support
Additional group or individual support is provided in all year groups for children who need reinforcement. Your child will have one-to-one support in phonics and reading if we think he or she needs some extra help. Our Teaching Assistants also deliver small group and one to one phonics support. We talk about this support with parents to ensure the learning continues at home.

Independent and Home Reading - How parents can help
All children are expected to read from books which have been selected with them from school. These books are from our reading schemes and also from our additional selections of fiction and non-fiction books. In addition children are encouraged to read from books they have chosen at home.


We encourage parents to read with their children every day until they are able to read independently and fluently. Even when children are fluent readers, parents are asked to hear their child read and discuss the text with them as often as they can but at least weekly. We ask that parents write a brief comment in their child’s Reading Record Book when they hear their child read, focusing on their child’s progress and giving praise at every opportunity.

Parents are also encouraged to use the reading record to make comments about their discussions and a note of any word or phrase which their child did not understand; these notes can then be referred to at a later stage.

We also encourage parents to keep reading to their child even after he or she has learned to read independently. This way, children learn from a good role model how to read with fluency and expression, and also see that reading is valued and pleasurable.

We work closely with parents to develop strategies to support reading at home. We also welcome parents to attend reading workshops at school.