Reading at Swimbridge


We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books

  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding

  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed

  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence

  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar

  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts

  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy

  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education

Reading Implementation

Guided Reading

Running alongside the Floppy’s Phonics scheme, guided reading is delivered regularly by the class teacher or teaching assistant. These sessions involve working with smaller groups of about six children. For small group learning activities, the children are grouped according to their level of development. This means that the teacher is able to choose books that use the sounds pupils have encountered during their Floppy’s Phonics sessions. This strategy is our main early reading approach as it allows for bespoke sessions, which meet individual pupils’ needs. Beyond Floppy’s Phonics, guided reading is also used as an approach to help pupils “catch up and keep up” with age related objectives and runs alongside whole class reading (see below). A typical guided reading session lasts for between 15 and 30 minutes and includes:

  • A text is introduced and discussed.

  • Children will be asked to make predictions about the book by using clues from the title, layout and images.

  • The teacher will share a reading objective or focus sound for the chosen text.

  • The teacher will recall and revisit different strategies to help decode new or tricky vocabulary.

  • The children read the text; on their own, with a partner or within the group.

  • The teacher will observe and prompt the children during their reading.

  • The teacher refers back to the main learning objective or sound and brings the group together.

  • Children might be asked to identify particular words, to talk about certain characters, or to express opinions.

Whole Class Reading

Following on from the Floppy’s Phonics program, pupils participate in regular whole class reading sessions. Whole class reading offers a high level of interaction between teachers and pupils in order to develop a good level of comprehension. In addition, pupils are exposed to a wide range of high-quality texts and discussion in an immersive environment that aims to provide appropriate challenges to build on pupils’ existing knowledge and understanding.

These sessions also include a variety of activities designed to extend the children and address teaching points such as retrieving information; understanding inference and deduction; commenting on the writer’s viewpoint and effectiveness; and the historical and cultural traditions of the text.

Independent Reading

Independent reading is the reading that children do on their own, at school and at home. In class the children may work as a group, or will read independently with a teacher, teaching assistant or adult volunteer.

We believe that independent reading plays an important part in developing children’s reading skills and confidence. Throughout the school the children have access to a variety of different text styles in class, our reading bay and in our library and they are given opportunities to freely choose and read at their own pace.

In the early years, the ideal text for independent reading is one that matches a pupils phonetic understanding. This may be a book in their book bag or an e-book accessed online through a pupil’s Oxford Reading Tree log in.

Pupils should read texts three times:

  • The first read allows pupils the opportunity to apply their phonetic knowledge and decode (sound out and blend) each word

  • The second read allows pupils to practise fluency and prosody (intonation and rhythm)

  • The third, and final, read allows pupils to comprehend and understand the text, in order to answer questions about it.

Once the Floppy’s Phonics program has been completed, pupils will work through our Swimbridge Reading Spine, which levels books up to “level 17.” This provides support for pupils as they progress through their reading career and ensures a range of text types and exciting vocabulary are being covered.

Most importantly, independent reading is the time when children can enjoy reading for pleasure as well as reading to learn. Therefore, pupils may also bring home a school library book alongside their decodable or reading spine book. This “free choice” book will be one that is inspirational and interesting to the child and should stimulate informal book chat at home.

One to One Reading

At Swimbridge School, this approach is used to support the development of decoding and skills for reading. Each child reads to an adult, who has received professional development training in the area of reading. This approach is used with all children for assessment purposes but most frequently with those who are requiring additional support with their reading.

Reading for Pleasure

All staff encourage the children in all year groups to read widely. Although our reading schemes provide an excellent resource, the rich language and images found in the brilliant picture books and chapter books by popular authors are essential reading for every child. These books can give your child an opportunity to stretch their reading, experience different text types, and enhance their reading immeasurably.

As well as rereading scheme books we strongly recommend our school and local library. Reading widely and often will improve how your child imagines, creates stories, writes and communicates ideas. All children need plenty of opportunities to talk about books, to share favourite books and to browse for enjoyment or to find information.

Developing a positive attitude to reading and books is as important as learning to read itself.

Reading Records

At Swimbridge School we recognise the importance of the time and effort parents put into reading to and with children in the home. To support this we ask that parents record all home reading and we encourage dialogue between parents and teachers through a reading record.

Children are encouraged to read every day and record this in their home reading record. This reading can include books sent home from school and the books your child chooses to read from their own collection or the local library.

Reading from a wide selection gives your child the experience of reading for pleasure and enjoyment. The reading record gives the teacher valuable information on your child’s interests and reading experiences.

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