At Underwood West Academy, we want our children to become successful and enthusiastic readers. We aim to instil a love of reading where children read for enjoyment. We aim for children to become independent readers who read with fluency, prosody and accuracy.

Our approach to reading not only enables children to read a variety of genres and to read books from different cultures and times, but enhances their love of reading. By providing a text rich environment and using quality texts as a stimulus to lessons, children are given opportunities to practice their reading skills, widen their experiences, develop their imaginations and to read for pleasure.

Children are encouraged to choose books that match their interests from a wide range of different genres, such as picture books, novels, information books, poems and comics. Children also have access to e-books and audio books.


Early reading

In EYFS and Key Stage 1, early word reading is taught through our systematic Monster Phonics scheme alongside exposure to high quality texts that ensure our children encounter rich and varied vocabulary.

The highly engaging Monster Phonics decodable books which are linked to the sounds the children have been learning are used in early reading. These books encourage children to read using systematic synthetic phonics as the prime approach, providing practice of sounds and embedding what they have been taught.


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The progression of the Monster Phonics books is matched to that of the teaching programme. This means that the books introduce new grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the same order as the teaching programme and that the progression within the books is cumulative so children can practise the phonics that they have already learned earlier in their lessons. Each high-frequency word (decodable and common exception word) is also taught in the programme before the children read it in a book. Each book focuses on a key grapheme. Monster Phonics uses colour to help children learn the link between sound and spelling. This enables children to practise independent reading with books that are matched to their phonics knowledge which ultimately develops their fluency and confidence in reading.


See the link below to read an example of one of our decodable books

Monster Phonics - Free ebooks



In EYFS, children are encouraged to begin to decode regular words and identify first and last letters in their reading. By the end of their time in EYFS children can read and understand simple sentences and demonstrate this understanding through talking with others about what they have read. They have daily access to role play areas and continuous provision which encourage a love and pleasure for reading and books from an early age.


In addition to reading texts, children are introduced to Concepts About Print, looking at the conventions of books including book orientation, print, illustrations, words, letters and punctuation. Children learn that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. They learn that words consist of letters and that spaces appear between words.


Key Stage 1:

During their time in Key Stage1, the children continue to progress through the systematic phonics teaching and reading of decodable books (Monster Phonics). The children’s main focus of reading at this stage is word reading and their decoding and blending of familiar and unfamiliar words.  Throughout this Key Stage children begin to attach meanings and understanding to new words which broadens their vocabulary. They become more experienced at reading sight words without segmenting and blending.


Whilst in KS1, the children have access to a range of text types which they listen to, share and discuss with their peers. This is to develop an understanding of what they have read. The children are exposed to opportunities to engage in dialogic talk and also drama and role play, to ensure comprehension is achieved and misconceptions are addressed by an adult. 

The classroom environment promotes a love of reading and the children have opportunities to share and deepen their passion and enthusiasm for books.


The reading teaching at this level is heavily scaffolded and modelled by the teacher in order to ensure self-confidence whilst also developing a real pleasure and love of reading. Immersing themselves in high quality texts which are accessible and age appropriate to children at this stage of their learning is vital to the development and success of reading in their later school lives and beyond.



Children are introduced to new texts by looking at the book and discussing the story before reading. Key words, sounds and phrases are identified before the children attempt to read the book on their own. They are encouraged to track text 1:1 until they are reading with some fluency.

When reading, children are supported to attempt unfamiliar words or phrases by asking “Does it look right?” Does it sound right?” and “Does it make sense?” Children are prompted to identify any errors or try new words by rereading words or sentences or reading on to gain an understanding of what has been read.

Children are encouraged to listen to themselves when reading, to ensure their reading sounds good and is fluent and well phrased. Children are taught to use punctuation to enhance their prosody.

On completion of a text, children are asked questions to establish their understanding of a text – these can be literal questions or questions that require the children to make inferences about what they have read.

As the children get older and become more competent readers, they engage in comprehension sessions where they are taught to find answers to questions within a text. They are also engaged in inference lessons where they are taught to predict, suggest possible answers and “read between the lines”, searching for meanings beyond the written text.

Guided Reading


Throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1, children are taught during small guided reading sessions, 3 times per week. These sessions allow the children to apply their phonics knowledge and reading strategies they have learnt to a new text, matched to their phase of learning. In these sessions, fundamental skills such as decoding, language comprehension, fluency and prosody are taught so that children are able to retrieve and infer text. The children engage in tasks such as retelling stories, trapping key words or phrases, discussing book covers and titles and looking at features of different types of texts.

In addition to reading texts with an adult, children in Year 2 are also engaged in independent reading activities that require them to apply their comprehension and inference skills.

Independent reading 


Our book corners and reading areas are used for independent reading and are a place for children to practice their reading and develop their love of books. Independent reading opportunities allow for our teachers to listen to their pupils read so that they can assess their reading ability and provide feedback to make improvements.


Shared reading


Children are also in engaged in shared reading opportunities throughout the day. The children listen to whole class or small group stories where inference and comprehension skills are explored further. Children have opportunities to retell the stories as well as discuss characters, settings, plots, likes and dislikes. Shared reading enables children to listen to a story being read fluently and provides a rich language model that children can use in their writing.



Developing a love of reading


At Underwood West Academy, we strive to build a culture of reading for enjoyment that will develop a lifelong love of reading and future academic success. These are some of the ways we promote reading for pleasure opportunities:


  • Celebrating World Book Day
  • Celebrating authors
  • Book corners in classrooms
  • A well-resourced school library
  • Volunteer readers in school
  • Super Learning Days where different authors or genres of texts are explored
  • Use of a book vending machine
  • Weekly reading stars



Reading at home


We value the contribution and encouragement by parents and carers and children are encouraged to read daily at home.

Parents are able to sign up to the Monster Phonics e-books (see below) to allow them to have access to the decodable books at home. Teachers write the text the child has read in school in the child’s reading diary so that the children can read the book at home.


In addition, children take home banded early reading books that are matched to their reading level, as well as having an independent reading for pleasure book / library book. This ensures that the children have the opportunity to read a wide and broad range of texts.


Reading at home is promoted through our whole school “reading stars” reward system where children receive certificates and books to celebrate reading successes.


Please follow the link below to read the Parent’s Guide on accessing the Monster Phonics e-books at home and then follow the guide on how to help at home:


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See below for our reading progression of skills:


Useful websites:


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As children move into Key Stage 2, we teach reading using the Take One Book framework.

Within this framework we teach reading strategies and behaviours that can be applied to a range of text types and genres. Lessons follow a structure of relating text to self, book and world and promote dialogic talk for children to build on their understanding.

We use high quality texts and use a range of approaches including individual reading, small group and whole class reading, shared reading and reading aloud. Reading comprehension is taught through strategies that include activating prior knowledge, prediction, clarification, questioning, summarising and inference. Through our approach, we encourage children to become fluent readers who use correct prosody when reading aloud. We encourage children to express a pleasure in reading, discussing stories, analysing texts and making links to other texts they know.

Children in Key Stage 2 who have gaps in their phonics knowledge continue to read the decodable Monster Phonics books, reading three times a week in small groups.



In the Early Years and Key stage 1, children are assessed in their reading using the Monster Phonics tracking and the Foundation Stage Profile (Reception children only).

From Year 1 onwards, children are also assessed through end of term standardised tests (NFER) Key Stage SATs papers and the York Assessment of Reading Comprehension. These assessments ensure that texts are chosen to match children’s reading ability.

By the end of their time in primary school, we want children to be:

Enthusiastic and passionate readers who read for a range of purposes

Actively using their decoding and blending skills to read familiar and unfamiliar words

Knowledgeable about the world they live in through their reading

Able to activate prior learning when reading a new text

Fluent readers

Able to talk about stories they have read or heard

Make links with other texts and across the curriculum




Files to Download



Newcastle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 3LF

Please direct your enquiries to

Mel JamesBursar

01270 260580