Please see our Reading and Literacy Gallery below.

Our Vision for Reading

We aim for all pupils to be capable readers who can transfer their skills to other subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their learning. We encourage them as readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure. We appreciate reading as a pathway to embrace heritage and culture; as a way to open up new worlds to our pupils, both real and imagined; to develop empathy, creativity and imagination.

We value the academic benefits of reading: increasing knowledge and vocabulary acquisition and improvements in the quality of written work. We acknowledge the personal and emotional effects that reading can have on health and wellbeing and in developing memory, concentration and focus. Through reading, we aim to expose our pupils to a wide range of interesting vocabulary, which provides our pupils with the foundations to understand and take interest in the world around them as they grow. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society and being prepared to enter the workplace.

Pupils and staff enjoy Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) time, an opportunity to develop reading stamina and independence whilst prioritising reading for pleasure above all other activities. Throughout school, in all subjects, there is a high focus on the acquisition of vocabulary: planning documents ensure that staff provide opportunities to revisit previously taught words and introduce relevant, new vocabulary in each subject area.


Key Stage 2:

When pupils join us at Willow Bank we assess their understanding of phonics. If pupils need help with this, they receive intervention and support following the SSP programme Essential Letters and Sounds.

Pupils are grouped for phonics sessions on a ‘stage not age’ basis to ensure that they are able to progress through the phonics stages from their starting point upon admission to Willow Bank. We have invested in the reading scheme ‘Oxford Reading Tree: Project X’ which links to the phonics stages pupils are working. These books are specifically written to promote engagement of reluctant male readers.

Pupils are read to regularly and are given the opportunity to read on a 1:1 basis with a specialist Learning Mentor at least once per week. 

Key Stages 3 and 4:

At Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils are given the opportunity to read during dedicated literacy form-time sessions.  Pupils are encouraged to read a variety of texts, including digital texts.

New texts are purchased regularly for Key Stages 3 and 4 in consultation with pupils who request books that they are interested in reading. 

We are currently in the process of embedding the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme throughout the school. This supports us to ensure pupils engage with texts that are accessible but also promote reading progression by having pupils read within their zone of proximal development. Where they need additional support with reading comprehension and reading for meaning we put help in place.


As a school, we ensure that all pupils have the right to be a reader and access to quality texts, irrespective of their race, cultural background, gender, religion, creed, level of intellectual ability or physical and emotional circumstances. A graduated approach to support reading acquisition is in place to ensure that all pupils meet their reading potential.

Literacy Policy

Reading and Literacy

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