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Reading and Phonics

Subject Leaders: Mrs P Abernethy and Mrs J Eccles



At West Kirby School and College, we are passionate about supporting our pupils in being able to read. Our Reading Lead teachers work closely with the English teachers, Librarian and Form teachers to support all pupils at West Kirby School and College. Visit our Reading Support page to find out more. 

There is overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship to people's life chances. Reading improves concentration and relaxes the body and calms the mind whilst also exercising the connections in the brain. Reading teaches children about the world around them, through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience.

Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leading to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child's ability to write well. Children learn new words as they read, as well as seeing how to structure sentences and how to use language effectively. Reading develops a child’s imagination, when we read we translate the descriptions of people, places and things into pictures. Reading helps children develop empathy, when we’re engaged in a story, we imagine how the characters are feeling and use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation.

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1 we begin with early matching, categorising and sorting activities to develop visual discrimination skills needed for early reading. Books are shared in a small group; print has a high profile in the environment; school library will be visited weekly; books will be shared ‘over and over’. As children progress the emphasis of phonics teaching will support children's understanding that letters represent sounds in spoken words which will support their decoding of the printed words.

At West Kirby School and College, we use Read Write Inc. Phonics is taught in daily sessions. An interest in books is developed by sharing songs, stories and rhymes, fostering opportunities to talk and re-enact stories or follow children’s interests through information books. Books are shared with the children daily and children are motivated to look at and talk about story and information books in their child initiated play by utilising books in all areas of the provision.


Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 our intent is to be a school that pupils read confidently and for pleasure. This aspiration for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the next stage of learning as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading.  All pupils are expected to read for 20 minutes each day. The reading is assessed twice a year for accuracy and fluency by the reading support team. 

Up to Year 5 pupils are able to access Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme. From Year 5 pupils can use Read, Write Inc. Fresh Start intervention scheme.


Key stage 3 and 4

In Key Stage 3 all pupils are expected to read for at least 20 minutes a day. At Key Stage 4 pupils are continually encouraged to read as part of their English qualifications.

Pupils continue to be assessed twice a year until they reach the reading age of 12 years 10 months. At Key Stage 3 and 4 children have the opportunity to attend reading and phonics interventions as needed.

The benefits of extensive reading are well known. It can lead to faster reading speed and greater ability to process texts. It enhances general language competence as well as knowledge about the world. It also helps to make the reader a better writer by giving them massive amounts of input on usage and vocabulary



Resources, reading and phonics schemes

At West Kirby School and College, we are lucky to have access to an extremely well resourced library with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction for all levels of readers, alongside a number of high quality reading schemes including Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree and Accelerated Reader.

Pupils have the opportunity to attend individual and group interventions with our highly experienced Reading Support team. Across the school all pupils are encouraged to read and are read to. Throughout the year a number of reading initiatives take place including visiting author days, storytellers, World Book Day, trips to local book shops to purchase new books for the library and publishing pupils' books. 

Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme

At West Kirby School and College, for pupils up to Year 5, we use Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme. To find our more how to support your child with learning phonics visit phonics guideRead Write Inc. page on Oxford Owl for Home.

For pupils Year 5 and above who require additional support, we use Read Write Inc. Fresh Start. This teaches students to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension; also how to spell correctly and compose their ideas for writing step-by-step.


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Reading Support

West Kirby School and College provide reading, writing and spelling support to our young people using Read Write Inc. Fresh start programme. Reading Partnerships which aim to accelerate pupils progress in reading. The reading partners read 2 or 3 times per week for 30 minutes each session. During each session, the child will read 3 books; a familiar book that the child is confident reading, a recently introduced book and a new book. The reading partner will support them by observing and introducing reading strategies to enable our pupils to become confident independent readers. 

Drop Everything and Read

Studies have found that reading for pleasure enhances empathy and the ability to understand one’s own and others identity. It has also been shown that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. A few great reasons to engage in reading daily!

In Key Stage 3 at West Kirby School and College, we set aside 20 minutes each day for pupils and their teachers to Drop Everything and Read! All pupils are supported so they can engage with D.E.A.R. time and have access to a wide range of reading books aimed at their interest and ability level and regularly visit our fantastic school library.


Reading assessment

Pupils are also assessed using NEALE Analysis Reading Assessment (NARA). This measures the accuracy, comprehension and rate of reading. It also provides a comprehensive gauge of a pupil’s interest in reading. Pupils are assessed each year until they have reached a maximum reading age of 12.10 years. 

Visit the website to find out more


Accelerated Reader

All pupils at West Kirby School and College access 'Accelerated Reader', a computer program that helps teachers and librarians manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Pupils pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they then take a short quiz on the computer or ipad. Passing the quiz is an indication that pupil’s have understood what was read. 

Accelerated Reader gives children, teachers, and our librarian feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.

Dyslexia friendly school

Mrs Abernethy is able to do Dyslexia screening with our pupils. We use GL Assessment Dyslexia Screener, an online program which identifies dyslexic tendencies and recommends strategies for ages 5-16 years. It also provides a profile of strengths and weaknesses, which are shared with staff across the school.

For more information on this visit 


How Reading is embedded into the curriculum

  • Cross Curricular
  • Key Words
  • Dictionary Skills
  • DEAR
  • Class Reading (Exposure to higher level learning)
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Access to a range of reading materials
  • Set texts/novels to be read in every year group (novels, audio books, plays, scripts, musicals and poems) which links with English Learning Journey
  • Age/ability appropriate reading
  • Reading skills/decode a text
  • Reading for purpose
  • GCSE – Reading and analysing a variety of fictional extracts 
We aim for our pupils to be able to read across the curriculum, also called content literacy or active reading, is defined as "the ability to use reading and writing for the acquisition of new content in a given discipline.” 

West Kirby School and College, Meols Drive, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 5DH

0151 632 3201