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Teachers encourage pupils to read high-quality literature across a wide range of authors.




At Down Ampney C of E Primary School, we focus on fostering a love for reading, developing strong comprehension skills, and promoting a deep understanding of a wide range of texts; fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The curriculum is designed to be ambitious, coherent, and well-sequenced, ensuring that all pupils, regardless of background or prior attainment, have access to a broad and rich literary diet. 

Our primary goal is to instil a lifelong passion for reading in children, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed academically and beyond. We enrich their cultural capital by exposing pupils to a diverse range of texts and authors that reflect the world around them and beyond. 

Through our Reading Spine, our core texts portray a sense of belonging and a sense of place, closely linked to British values and protected characteristics. Our school values of Courage, Respect and Trust a promoted through a variety of diverse and moral stories, which encourage a rich discussion on key themes. Children are encouraged to act courageously with tackling a different genre of books and to write for different audiences. 

The Reading curriculum is planned using The Literacy Tree, which allows the selection of texts to fit our themes and values and enables the teaching of focused comprehension strategies. 

Our inspiring new school library, built and painted by school parents and run by the volunteer school librarian, provides children with access to a huge variety of books, many of which are funded by our PTA and by donations. 

Our Reading Spine is underpinned by close matching of decodable phonics books linked to our Sounds-Write SSP and Accelerated Reader-coded reading books to enable children to read at appropriate levels and to make excellent progress in their reading.  


CPD through The English Hub, Literacy Tree and links with other local schools ensures leaders and teachers are highly skilled in developing children’s reading fluency and comprehension skills.  

High-quality phonics instruction forms the foundation of reading development in the Early Years, with a focus on systematic synthetic phonics teaching to ensure all children master essential decoding skills. In Reception, teachers and children read together as part of daily phonics lessons, using a text that is one unit behind current taught phonetic code.  

The implementation of our Reading curriculum is carefully planned and tailored to meet the needs of our students across different year groups: 

In Year 1, the focus is on introducing a wider range of guided reading books, some of which may contain words that are not decodable. These words are pre-taught before reading sessions to support comprehension and fluency. Upon reaching phonetic proficiency, Year 1 pupils take the Accelerated Reader ‘Star Reading’ test to determine their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). This assessment enables them to select additional reading materials beyond phonics books for personal enjoyment. Each selected book is read and followed by a comprehension quiz to monitor understanding. 

Once children no longer require phonic readers and demonstrate confidence in decoding Early Comprehension (EC), they transition to Accelerated Reader ‘reading for pleasure’ books. This shift allows them to explore a wide range of genres and authors, fostering a love for reading and independent exploration of literature. Many children enjoy choosing a reading for pleasure book alongside decodable phonics books.  

As children move into Year 2, the guided reading selection expands to include a wider range of non-fiction texts. In addition, students engage with Badger books, texts linked to Foundation subjects and Science, as well as a variety of wider reading materials. Focus groups of children continue to work with decodable phonics texts and exposure to more complex text types is incorporated into the curriculum. 

In Lower Key Stage Two, the guided reading strategies introduced in Year 2 are built upon. Reading Roots linked to our Reading Spine are introduced and the focus is extended to include a wider range of Foundation subjects, enriching students’ reading experiences and comprehension skills. As pupils progress to Upper Key Stage Two, focussed reading groups support those children who need further development of reading fluency. Initiatives such as The HFL Reading Fluency Project, run by trained teachers, support their development. Whole class sets of key texts are utilised, and a range of strategies are employed to enhance reading proficiency.  

Throughout all guided reading sessions, the development of crucial skills such as inference, prediction, summarising, vocabulary acquisition through phonics, and deduction are emphasised. 

We use our local town library and funded opportunities to provide classes with a wide range of books linked to other curriculum areas, to enable children to read more widely around each area of learning. 

Well-stocked classroom book-shelves inspire children to read widely and allow them to explore different genres and themes.  

Implementation of our Reading curriculum also involves fostering oracy skills through various strategies including Talk partners, oral presentations within and out of school, public speaking within house councils and worships, Story buddies, Oracy competitions: GAPH ‘Look Who’s Talking’ and the Mock Trial, Talking Through Stories, NELI, TalkBoost, and Language for Thinking interventions. 

Reading is promoted not only within the classroom, but also through extracurricular activities, reading challenges such as the Readathon, Poetry Slam and Flash Reading, author visits to the school and visits to see authors speak through the Year of Reading project and Cheltenham Literary Festival, as well as partnerships with libraries and literary organisations. 

Assessment of reading is robust. Regular phonics and statutory word assessments with Phonics Tracker ensure timely interventions are put in place and children are able to keep up, rather than catch up. Accelerated Reader assessments every half term allow children to see their progress and teachers to set up focused reading groups. 


The impact of the Reading provision at Down Ampney C of E Primary School is transformative, with pupils making excellent progress in their reading attainment and enthusiasm. Pupils exhibit a love for reading, regularly choosing to read for pleasure both in and out of school. There is a noticeable improvement in pupils’ reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills across all year groups. 

Assessment data shows that the majority of pupils are achieving at or above age-related expectations in reading, with disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND making significant progress. Pupil voice and feedback also indicate a positive attitude towards reading, with many expressing a new-found confidence and enjoyment in engaging with a variety of texts. 

Our Reading curriculum is designed to nurture a lifelong passion for reading, cultivate critical thinking skills, and empower students to become proficient and enthusiastic readers and this is evident in pupils’ academic achievements, personal development, and cultural awareness, laying a strong foundation for their future success in education and beyond.