At Gusford, we believe that a life with proficient English skills opens doors and opportunities for the future. We strive for this for all our pupils. 

To ensure this, particularly with reading in mind, from EYFS onwards, pupils will be taught using a systematic phonics programme. We aspire for pupils to leave our primary school with the ability to understand the English language as well as using it to read, speak and write to a high standard.

We aim to equip pupils with the strategies and capabilities to read well and promote a love for reading across a variety of genres and subjects and into the wider world. With this, high quality texts and modelling of reading will expose them to challenging and inspiring language. 

Our passion for reading is shared by many inspirational people and we believe:

"Reading is important; if you know how to read then the whole world opens up to you." Barack Obama.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr Seuss.

"If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books." Roald Dahl.


At Gusford Primary, we follow the Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme 'Little Wandle: Letters & Sounds Revised' for the teaching and learning of phonetic awareness and phonics.  We understand the importance of ensuring that every one of our pupils can read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and have a relentless drive to succeed in this mission.

We have ensured that our phonics teaching and learning informs our 'Big Cat Collins' reading book scheme.  Phase 2, 3, 4 & 5 'Big Cat Collins' books are fully decodable and show a cumulative progression in phonics which match our 'Little Wandle' SSP programme.  When it was introduced in April 2022, all teaching staff were fully trained on the new 'Little Wandle: Letters & Sounds Revised' programme. 'Speedy words', 'Tricky Words' and 'Shuffle Time' are just a few of the consistent phrases we use with our children.  In the foundation stages, all classrooms have grapheme charts and sound mats that we refer to daily to support our knowledge of taught phonemes. We work hard to ensure that all of our children have access to stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction to develop their vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading. 

In Reception and KS1 children are given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. Children are assessed every 6 weeks and carefully placed into the correct phase to match their ability. This allows our children to maximise their progress in small phonics groups. Each reading practice session focuses on one of the three key reading skills: decoding, prosody and comprehension. We also strive to motivate children across the school to choose to read and become frequent readers by ensuring they are regularly read aloud to. We listen to children read 1:1 regularly.

In KS1 and KS2, English lessons are centred around a quality, core text and we focus on oracy, language analysis and writing skills. Core books are set books which have been carefully selected to ensure that our children experience a rich diet of traditional, contemporary, diverse and a mixture of children’s classic literature and modern literature. 

Reading the core texts daily allows pupils to become engulfed in the narrative. In addition, weekly reading lessons focus on the reading skills needed to understand, analyse and discuss the text fully. We use the Vipers programme as well as our National Curriculum progression document to ensure thorough coverage of the reading skills throughout the school. Poetry is a dedicated week across the whole school each term. 

Assessments (PIXL tests, Salford reading ages, fluency checks) are used throughout the school and an in-depth analysis of the results is provided and used to inform planning and any intervention needed. Pupil progress meetings with SLT and teachers each term ensure different groups and individual progress is monitored and interventions organised to support progress. The reading subject leader conducts learning walks, lesson observations and pupil questionnaires throughout the year. These inform future areas for improvement and the impact of new initiatives. As a school we ensure that standards are being met at the end of EYFS and in the Phonics Screening Check. Each year, data is analysed and any areas for improvement identified and addressed. Year 2 children still follow the phonics programme, if they did not pass the Phonic Screening Check. Phonics and reading interventions are planned across KS2 if the Phonic Screening Check has still not been passed by the end of Year 2.


All pupils will be able to read with accuracy, confidence, fluency and understanding, ready to access the secondary school curriculum.  All pupils will make at least good progress from their starting points. Pupils will develop a life-long enjoyment of reading and books. 

Children enjoy reading regularly, for information and for enjoyment and pleasure. Children discuss books with excitement and interest. Our children are adventurous with vocabulary choices and use vocabulary from their reading books in other subjects. 

Cross-Curricular Links

English and reading are linked within many subjects, including Science, History and Geography as well as the Arts, Maths, ICT and RE. Although many subjects use English and reading as a vehicle to their own learning and products, many developments in English can be fostered, including reading instructions for experiments in Science and reading and discussing the validity of accounts from historical figures. These cross-curricular links benefit both subjects and cultivate a love of learning, reading, writing and enriching knowledge and understanding across the curriculum.

Reading Newsletters

World Book Day Events 2023

Reading logo

Thank you to everyone who supported the reading events this week in school.

•It was lovely to see the engagement of the children and the parents at the Reading Cafes. • 'Seeing is Believing' parent share sessions, with the reading focus, was a very positive event for the children, the parents and the staff, everyone enjoyed it! • Our World Book Day catwalk parade was a huge success and the classes with the best catwalk were Mr Webber's English class and the children in planet class. Our new reading buddies have been a wonderful addition to reading at Gusford. Classes from across the school have paired up to enjoy some shared reading session together. It was lovely to see some of the old children reading to the younger children in our school. Well done to you all!

Reading Cafes

Due to the huge success of our recent reading cafes, we will be running these across each half term. This is a chance for you to come and read some of our wonderful books with your child. You will also be treated to a croissant while you are here. We look forward to seeing you all there. Please find the dates for each classes breakfast reading café below which will start at 8:20-8:40am.

Thursday 9th March - Nursery and Reception

Thursday 16th March - Year 1 and Year 4

Thursday 23rd March - Year 2 and Year 6

Thursday 30th March - Year 3 and Year 5

Reading Workshops

We would like to invite parents and carers in for some more reading workshops across the term. These workshops are designed to give parents information about how we teach reading, comprehension and questioning, what the national curriculum says about reading, and activities to support your child at home. Parents also had the opportunity to look at examples of books used in school in different year groups and ask any further question about reading at Gusford.


  • Thursday 9th March 2.45pm

  • Wednesday 15th March 2.45pm

  • Friday 21st March 21st 9.00 am

  • Thursday 23rd March 2.45pm

If you need any further advice or support with your child's reading, please contact the school office.