Our Reading and Phonics Scheme

Our approach to reading and the appreciation of literature at Bourton Meadow Academy

Our Reading Philosophy

At Bourton Meadow Academy, we are committed to promoting the enjoyment of reading as we believe the ability to read and comprehend is the key to success and fulfilment in all areas of learning. We provide children with the strategies they need to develop proficient skills in both word recognition and language comprehension to help them become successful readers. Alongside both processes, we promote an appreciation of how reading a variety of texts, genres and authors unlocks hidden treasures to allow escapism into new worlds and beyond. Reading is a self- extending process – the more children read – the better they become.

Systematic approach to phonics

At Bourton Meadow Academy, we follow Soundswrite along with Letters and Sounds to ensure our children have the knowledge and skills they need to be proficient at word recognition.

To begin with, children are taught initial sounds; before moving onto the extended code where pupils are taught alternative spellings (e.g. –ai, -ae, -ay, -aigh) for each sound and how one spelling can have different sounds (e.g. head, seat, break).

Learning strategies used include the practice of word building and sound swapping, blending (pushing sounds together), segmenting (pulling sounds apart), manipulating (deleting and inserting sounds) which help children to read and spell. Dictation is also used to help with writing and spelling along with empowering children to have a go.

Teaching techniques used include a script format when teaching to ensure accurate language, sounds are presented in whole words along with the modelling of precise pronunciation.

Reading instruction

Year group


Foundation 1

  • Introduction to listening games
  • Introduction to letter names and sounds 
  • Listening to stories
  • Looking at wordless picture books with an emphasis on asking questions
  • Introduce and reinforce new words with objects
  • Singing and reciting rhymes

Foundation 2 – Year 2

  • Daily, systematic phonics lesson, in ability groupings, following Soundswrite and Letters and Sounds programme
  • Weekly, reading sessions reading a colour banded book suitable for your child’s reading ability
  • Books sent home to support your child with reading practice at home
  • Access to Reading Eggs at home

Year 3 –

Year 5

  • Weekly spelling lessons to boost spelling strategies and boost vocabulary
  • Weekly, reading sessions reading a colour banded book suitable for your child’s reading ability
  • Shared reading where children read the same piece of text and then answer questions independently/all together
  • Books sent home to support your child with reading practice at home
  • Access to Reading Eggspress at home

Year 6

  • Revision of comprehension papers, matching question stems with answers
  • Weekly, reading sessions reading a colour banded book suitable for your child’s reading ability
  • Shared reading where children read the same piece of text and then answer questions independently/all together
  • Class books sent home to support your child with reading practice at home
  • Access to Reading Eggspress at home

F2 – Y6

  • Class novel read for 10 minutes each day
  • Weekly library visits

Focused Reading / Reading Scheme

Teachers use the Collins Big Cat reading scheme to support their focused reading sessions. These sessions are supported by a colour band book system which starts in Foundation 1 and goes right up to Year 6. Once a week your child will read in a group to practice word recognition alongside developing language comprehension through answering a range of questions including literal, inferential and evaluative to develop their comprehension skills. Follow up sessions will include vocabulary boost work and independent tasks related to the book read in the group session.

Alongside this, in Years 1 and 2, children will also benefit from reading a focus classic picture book that they complete individual reading tasks on throughout the week.

Knowledge and skills coverage

In each focused reading session, every child is assessed against the set of key skills detailed below.

  • Draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts
  • Identify/Explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts e.g. characters, events, title
  • Identify / explain the sequence of events in text
  • Make inferences from text
  • Check reading makes sense
  • Read words accurately and fluently

Children will be assessed throughout reading sessions and when independently reading, to an adult, against the key skills to ensure they can draw upon relevant information to support answers.

Vocabulary Exposure

We are dedicated to eliminating any gaps in vocabulary, early on, by introducing new and interesting words with the support of visual prompts, concrete resources and /or relatable contexts to help children build upon what they already know.

Each colour banded book has a vocabulary boost session that teachers will use within reading sessions.

Reading cueing systems

Listening to children read independently or within a group enables staff to identify which cueing systems the children are using, or not using and support them to develop accordingly. Ultimately, cueing systems enable children to self-monitor which in turn helps to develop fluency. Staff can also use the cueing systems to calculate accuracy, error, and self-correction rate which is one-way staff can identify whether each child is reading a book at an appropriate level.

The three cuing systems are: Meaning, Structure & Visual – please see MSV cheat sheet to support your understanding of each cueing system further or ask a member of staff.

Reading support

From time to time, some children will require additional support with their reading. This may mean they become a target reader where they will read to an adult daily. Other support is available and will be discussed with parents/carers if required.

Reading peers

From Foundation 2 – Year 5, targeted readers are given a reading peer from Year 6 to read with daily. Each term, all readers and peers come together to share favourite books and learn about new authors.

Reading models

With any aspect of reading, across all curriculum areas, teachers model reading with enthusiasm and fluency to ensure children are surrounded by good examples of reading practice. Staff will use gestures, actions and facial expressions to help children make sense of new words.

Reading Assessment

Teachers have access to Big Cat Reading Assessment tool which enables them to record children reading their colour banded book to give feedback on their accuracy and whether they are ready to move onto the next colour band.

From Year 1, children will also sit a reading assessment paper each term to measure their comprehension skills. Their marks will be shared with you at parents’ evening and via their school report.

Reading Reward

In Key Stage 1, children are given a BMA B-CAT bookmark. Every time they read at home, parents are asked to initial their child’s bookmark. For every 20 initials, children will earn a trip to the Reading Reward Station to select a prize to reward their efforts.

In Key Stage 2, children will need to read two whole books (appropriate to their reading ability) to earn a trip to the Reading Reward Station where they can choose a reward for reading. However, instead of receiving an initial on a bookmark they will instead require an adult’s comment in their reading record book to detail their comprehension and evaluation. These comments will assist the teacher in forming a judgement against children’s reading progress.

Reading for Pleasure

To ensure we promote our reading culture at Bourton Meadow Academy, teachers will share their favourite childhood book and the book they are currently reading via their classroom door

Monthly reading assemblies, will offer staff and children the opportunity to share favourite books they have read recently and give them a practical review

Children will have a weekly visit to the school library to choose a book for pleasure

Reading Homework

In F2 – Year 3 children will have a colour banded book sent home which we encourage them to read with parents and loved ones. In Years 4 – 6, children will take a class library book as their reading book for home and during quiet reading times. Please support your child’s reading by asking comprehension questions to ascertain their understanding. Please see question prompts below.

As well as their reading book, each child has a login for Reading eggs (Early Years / KS1) or Reading Eggspress (KS2) via https://readingeggs.co.uk/ an online reading app to support reading development. Children are rewarded with certificates they have earned online along with prizes for the children with the highest number of awards.

We also have a number of reading SAT style books available to purchase that focus on assessment techniques and building comprehension.

Reading visitors

Each year, Bourton Meadow Academy welcomes a range of visitors to help us celebrate our reading culture. We have enjoyed visits from a number of authors, illustrators and for two years running The Really Big Pants Theatre company… where children got the opportunity take part in workshops, create their own masterpieces, and enjoy asking lots of questions along with attending book signings. Some of our children even got the place names, they invented, published on a map of one of the author’s stories. How fantastic is that? We will continue to have reading visitors to promote reading

World Book Day

At Bourton Meadow Academy, every year, we celebrate World Book Day. We follow a theme and encourage children to dress as a favourite book character whilst taking part in lots of focused reading and writing activities throughout the day which we then celebrate in a whole school assembly.


We are very lucky to be supported by an excellent scheme called Schoolreaders who match volunteers to our school to read with our children. Each year group has a volunteer who where possible moves up with the children to support relationships and ensure consistency. In addition, we are also supported by parent volunteers.

Reading aloud to an adult or peer has a great impact on children’s reading development as it gives children the opportunity to hear vocabulary in different contexts, builds a connection between the spoken and written word, increases attention span as children eagerly await for the next part to unfold, provides a supportive way to explore sensitive issues and most importantly promotes enjoyment and the opportunity to bond.  


Children have a weekly session in the library where they are encouraged to borrow two books for pleasure. Once children have read these books they can place them in the purple library returns box located in their shared area or outside Mrs Handley’s office. Children can also renew books via the library team. The library is open at lunchtime for KS2 children.

KS1 Reading Record example questions and responses

KS1 Areas to comment on & questions to ask

Comments could relate to:

Word recognition


  • Oliver can identify individual sounds in words.
  • Amy is reading whole words by blending sounds together.
  • James tends to mistake –b- and –d-. He then self corrects once he has read the whole sentence through.
  • Ana is saying –saw- instead of –was-
  • Great attempt at sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Hannah spotted a full stop.
  • Thomas read with confidence using   punctuation to guide his pace.
  • Read at a steady pace with enjoyment.





  • Adle loved the happy ending.
  • Miles asked if there were other books written by this author as he has enjoyed it so much
  • Needed a little encouragement tonight to stay focused 
  • Grace predicted that the little girl would lose her teddy. She was so pleased when it was returned
  • Immy thought that the adult bear would fall asleep first… she was right.


Personal response

  • Shazia recognised an exclamation mark and changed his expression as a result
  • Ryan recognised speech marks and was able to use different voices for each character.


  • Emma drew a picture of the wizard’s workshop – it had some great features.
  • Seb wanted to make pumpkin soup too – so we did – and he loved it!
  • Kayla was mesmerised by the pictures.
  • Matt wants to become a vet too now.
  • Finding this book really challenging  - words and themes.

Book navigation


  • Harry selected the pages he wanted to read using the contents page
  • Clara used the glossary to help her with tricky words
  • Henry recognised why it would be hard for the children to leave their parents.
  • Ruby was able to retell the story at the end
  • We discussed what a mangle was and how long it would take to do all of our washing.
  • Asked so many relevant questions about the story and characters - super

Example questions:

  • Is this book fiction / non-fiction? How do you know?
  • What have you found out so far?
  • Predict what may happen next…
  • If fiction, who are the main characters?
  • If fiction, what were the main events?
  • If you were this character, what would you have done in this situation?
  • Could these characters exist in real life?
  • Where/When does this story take place? How do you know?
  • Check vocabulary. Why did the author choose that word?
  • What does this word mean? Can you give me another word which means the same?
  • What were your favourite parts? Why?
  • Did the title match the book well?
  • What did you learn from reading this book?
  • Who would you recommend this book to?

KS2 Reading Record example questions and responses

KS2 Questions & Example responses

Comprehension questions

  • Tell me what happened in this book
  • Who are the characters? How would you describe them?
  • What is the setting? How has the author described this setting?
  • What problems did the characters overcome? How did they do this?
  • What was your favourite part of the book? Why?
  • Which character in this book is most like you? Why?
  • Have you read any other books that remind you of this one?
  • What did you learn from reading this book?

Evaluative questions

  • How would you recommend this book to a friend?
  • What rating would you give this book?
  • Would you recommend any changes? If so, what would they be?
  • Do you think the author made any judgements or assumptions in this book?

Example responses

  • Aliya really enjoyed this book set by the sea. It reminded her of the Lighthouse Keeper books.
  • Tom was engrossed in this book largely as it reminded him of our own camping adventures. He said the main character reminded him of himself as he was accident prone too!
  • Esme was upset when the children had to evacuate and leave their parents. She said she would never want to experience that. She was comforted when the family reunited at the end of the story.
  • Daniel loved when the main character got signed for Manchester United. He said he hope that happened to him.
  • Charlie is thoroughly enjoying this series. He said he would recommended it to his friends as being a 5 star read due to not wanting to put it down. He did share that some of the solutions were a little far-fetched but he enjoyed how over the top they were.



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