Your new design will be uploaded in:
Please contact Delivery Team on
0113 3200 750 if you have any queries.

Reading at Diamond Wood

At Diamond Wood Community Academy we wholeheartedly agree that reading is fundamental to education.

Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. Through these, they develop communication skills for education and for working with others: in school, and in the future. Pupils who find it difficult to learn to read are likely to struggle across the curriculum, since English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching. This is why early reading is currently at the top of the Department for Education's agenda. As as a school we are fully committed to continuing to raise standards of literacy for all our pupils and ensure we enable all pupils to learn to read.

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • Word reading
  • Comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

National Curriculum

The aim of this website page is to provide information about our Reading Strategy at Diamond Wood Community Academy. This will include information about how we teach reading as well as how parents and carers can further support their children at home. 

Our Reading Subject Leader

Mrs Price is the Early Reading Leader in school. However, she is also supported by our other English Leaders.

 In July 2021 the DfE produced a new framework for teaching reading. To download the full document click here. In 2023, this guidance was updated. To read the updated framework please click hereThe aim of the guidance is to support educators in understanding and implementing the foundations of teaching Literacy. The guidance begins by setting out the social, cultural and economic importance of reading before outlining a conceptual model of it. The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading and the Early Years Foundation Stage framework are based on this model, which consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading.

Teaching children to read and begin to develop a love of reading is paramount at Diamond Wood Community Academy. We are continuously striving to improve our practice. Reading has remained on our Academy Improvement Plan for the past few years. It remains on there for the academic year 2023-2024.

Academy Improvement Plan - Key Priority 2 - To raise standards in reading by improving the teaching of comprehension.

  • To improve phonics outcomes to 100% (taking into account exceptional circumstances).
  • To improve the teaching of comprehension across the curriculum to ensure all pupils reach the expected standard for reading at the end of EYFS and KS1 (taking into account exceptional circumstances)
  • For pupils to become immersed in a world of books and poems which fosters a love of reading.
  • To improve parent/ carer engagement so that all parents recognise the value of supporting their children to develop their comprehension skills as well as phonics.

All subject leaders have also highlighted reading as a key priority within their subject improvement plans for this academic year. Their main action is;

  • To introduce key texts within units of work to support knowledge and understanding of key concepts, as well as Early Reading development.

The Simple View of Reading

The Simple View of Reading describes reading as the product of decoding (word reading) and comprehension.

Comprehension does not refer to reading itself, but rather, to the way in which we make sense of words, sentences and the wider language we hear. Children’s spoken language develops naturally. With fairly few exceptions, they learn to understand language without direct teaching as long as someone talks with them.

Spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development within the revised 2021 Early Learning Goals. These are the end-of-year expectations for pupils within their Reception year (4-5 years old). The aim is to reduce the language gap between children from language-rich homes and those who are not. The progress of these children depends on adults engaging them in high-quality dialogue and direct teaching. This means that children learn to articulate what they know and understand and develop their knowledge across all areas of learning using the vocabulary they need to support learning. To find out more about reducing the language gap click here.

Decoding (word reading) refers to;

  • Reading unfamiliar words (words that have not been decoded before) by saying the sounds corresponding to the letters in the words and then blending the sounds together, either aloud or silently.
  • Reading familiar words accurately and silently 'at a glance' and no longer consciously saying the sounds.

While children's spoken language develops naturally, this is not the case for learning to read. Written language is a cultural invention and most children do not learn to read without direct teaching. For children who begin school with a poor understanding of language, being able to decode words is essential for equality, because their understanding of language, their vocabulary and their knowledge of the world will expand rapidly when they can read for themselves.

Children need both good word reading and good language comprehension to become good readers. To learn more about the Simple View of Reading click here or watch the video below.

Substantive and Disciplinary Concepts: Our Reading Golden Threads

Click on the link below to download this information as a document.

Reading Curriculum: Substantive and Disciplinary Concepts

Our Approach to Teaching Reading

In Nursery, we teach Phase 1 Phonics before introducing children to RWI (Nursery Programme) during the Summer Term to the Nursery 2 cohort (those that will begin their Reception year in the next academic year). Phase 1 develops a child's ability to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds. Throughout this phase children will develop their speaking and listening skills. This phase is split into 7 aspects that are explored and developed through games. These 7 aspects are;

Aspect 1 – General Sound Discrimination – Environmental

The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested may include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.

Aspect 2 – General Sound Discrimination – Instrumental Sounds

This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.

Aspect 3 – General Sound Discrimination – Body Percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.

Aspect 5 – Alliteration

The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 – Voice Sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities may include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot’s mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice – /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.

Aspect 7 – Oral Blending and Segmenting

In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills. To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, the teacher could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.

Click here to view our 'Phonics in Nursery' Progression Map.

As explained on our English webpage, we have introduced the Read, Write Inc scheme for our chosen approach to teaching phonics. We have also implemented elements of 'Hooked on Books' to support the teaching and learning of language  and reading comprehension. 

Read, Write Inc Phonics

In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils;

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
    - Read common exception words on sight
    - Understand what they read
    - Read aloud with fluency and expression
    - Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
    - Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
    - Acquire good handwriting                 

All of the above is done through our daily Speed Sound and Story Book Lessons, as well as support from families with children's home reading time.

To find out about Read, Write Inc and how it is implemented within school please here to view our policy.

Daily Phonics Lessons

Pupils will have a daily RWI phonics lesson until they reach the point that they no longer need them. In Reception, these lessons last for one hour each day as they also include pupil's focused writing lesson. Pupils have a 40 minute phonics lesson. Our Nursery pupils also have daily phonics key worker sessions. At this stage, the focus is primarily on developing speaking and listening skills. Speaking and listening are an important set of literacy skills that will create the foundation to a lot of children's further learning. If their key workers feel the children are ready to begin being introduced to letter sounds, they will do so using the RWI programme. Nursery staff have attended separate, bespoke training from RWI to support them with this.

RWI Phonics - Speed Sound Lessons

The first 15 minutes of any RWI phonics lesson is dedicated to learning the sounds that children need to know. Once they recognise them, the children also have Word Time included so that they can practise reading decodable words.

To find out more about Speed Sound Lessons click here and look at the relevant sections.

Hooked on Books - Reading Rainbow

Designed by Jane Considine, the Reading Rainbow is a visual of all the necessary primary reading domains and competencies. Teachers use the Reading Rainbow to carefully track what they have taught and what might still need to be focused upon. Following the updated guidance from the DfE Reading Framework 2023, these lenses are no longer introduced to the children. They are simply used as a supportive tool for planning, allowing teachers to carefully track content coverage. Where appropriate, teachers introduce and model comprehension strategies 'in the moment' of reading. They are then given multiple opportunities and support to apply the strategies.

Click here to find out about each of the lenses. 

RWI Phonics - Story Book Lessons

After their speed sounds section of the lesson, children will be introduced or reintroduced to a story book which includes words which the children will either know by sight or are able to decode.

To find out more about the Story Book Lessons click here and look at the relevant section.


Hooked on Books - Book Talk 

Book Talk is a whole class and a targeted group approach to teaching language comprehension, ensuring all individuals are accountable. This leads to supporting pupils with their reading comprehension.

Pupils read and engage with various text types and develop their language and reading comprehension skills as they become 'Book Detectives' with a clear purpose for reading in mind. The Reading Rainbow lenses provide the focus within each lesson as well as 'Book Talk' bonus words which are introduced to scaffold and challenge children's answers to comprehension questions. 

To find out more about Book Talk click here.

RWI Phonics - Home Reading

At the end of each teaching cycle within all ability groups, teachers will send home books that match the children's reading abilities. These books will follow the same theme as the one the children have been reading in school. Books will never be sent home before adults read through it at least once first with the pupils. 

To find out more about Home Reading books click here and look at the relevant section.

Hooked on Books - Independence

At Diamond Wood Community Academy, we want our pupils to develop a deep love of reading. We aim for them to become 'Responsible Readers'. We want them to choose to read books because it is a developing hobby. We ask them to pledge at least 10 minutes per day to engage with their home reading book to work on their decoding skills. This may be with a family member at home or on their own if no one is available every day to read with.

To find out more about our Responsible Readers initiative click here.

Responsible Reading in Action...

High Frequency Words and Common Exception Words

At Diamond Wood Community Academy, we recognise the critical importance of teaching high-frequency words (HFWs) and common exception words (CEWs) to ensure our pupils become fluent readers.

High-frequency words are the most frequently occurring words in the English language, such as "the," "and," or "is." They often do not follow regular phonetic patterns and are taught as sight words.

Common Exception Words are words that deviate from common spelling patterns and phonics rules but are frequently used. Examples include "said," "come," or "you." CEWs are usually encountered in early reading books and are taught as sight words.

Some common exception words are high-frequency words, but not all high-frequency words are common exception words.

Click here to look at an overview of how HFWs and CEWs are taught at our school.

Reading Lessons beyond Phonics

Once children have completed the phonics programme and acquired a solid foundation in decoding skills, it is essential to transition to reading lessons that broaden their reading capabilities. This transition supports children's progression from decoding to comprehension and fluency. The main areas of focus within reading lessons are;

  • Vocabulary Instruction
  • Reading with Fluency
  • Developing Comprehension Strategies
  • Reading for Pleasure  

The weekly timetable for these lessons is outlined below. This timetable is followed on a continuous cycle until the text has been completed.

To find out more about our approach to teaching reading once pupils complete their phonics programme please click here.

Reading Beyond Phonics: Chosen Key Texts

During lessons, all pupils are provided with the same key text to focus on. The key texts chosen have been selected judiciously to ensure exposure to a range of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry texts that align with pupils' interests, reading levels, and the National Curriculum objectives. The chosen texts have also been selected to ensure that they are diverse, inclusive, and engaging to capture pupils' imaginations. Where possible, the use of whole texts rather than extracts are used. This ensures that children are also able to take the books home and engage in independent reading for additional practice. Any text chosen aims to foster enjoyment, interest and involvement.

Additional Curriculum Documentation

Click here to view our  Whole School Word Reading Progression Map.

Click here to view our Whole School Comprehension Progression Map.

Protected Daily Storytime

Our daily story time sessions are protected and will always happen each day without exception.

KS1 children will be exposed to at least six key Storytime texts throughout each half term. They will focus on one text per week during their classroom-based story time sessions. These will be a mixture of stories focused on in previous year groups, new stories, poems and books linked to what children have been learning about in foundation subjects. Nursery and Reception pupils will follow the same timetable but this will be over two weeks to give more time for the different activities. They will access the key texts chosen but we will also take into consideration their interests and possibly adapt our selections if necessary.

Our Storytime timetable is outlined below. This has been created to consider our embedded library sessions. These are fortnightly in KS1 and weekly in EYFS. When children are in the library for story time, they will be able to browse, select and choose books to borrow. The session will end with the teacher selecting two unfamiliar texts and the children voting for the one they want to share. On the week that KS1 children don’t have their library session, children will be provided with some time to talk to each other about their library books and what they are enjoying about them. They will then choose books from their own class reading area and vote for the one they would like to share together to end the day. The timetable below shows what will happen on the remaining days throughout the school week (fortnight for EYFS).

To download our Storytime Overview with all of this information please click here.

Poems of the Term

Our ‘Poems of the Term’ initiative provides opportunities for pupils become familiar with and explore the work of a particular poet or poetry theme each term. Where possible, these may be local poets who are able to come to school for an educational visit and work alongside the children.

At least two weeks per half term are dedicated to sharing our chosen key poems during protected Storytime sessions. An opportunity for further exploration and activities linked to the poems poem and the poet themselves is then be provided on a Friday afternoon during our dedicated reading afternoon.

Regular assemblies also allow children to be introduced to and continue to learn about the poets and poetry and share their experiences, thoughts and opinions of their work. In time, children build a good bank of information about various poets and poetry and are able to begin engaging with and comparing their work. In some instances, poets who are also familiar and popular authors will be chosen so that children are able to make links, joins and connections between the stories and poems they have written.

In addition, children who are awarded ‘Star of the Week’ are gifted their own poetry books to take home and access. Where possible, these include books written by our selected Poets of the Term. Below are the chosen poets and poetry themes for the academic year 2023-2024.

Our Woodland Library

Here at Diamond Wood Community Academy, we are really proud of our Woodland Library. It was redeveloped and opened by the Mayor of Kirklees in 2019. Since then, it has continued to be enhanced and it is a well loved area within school by our pupils, staff and everyone else who visits. During the mornings, our Early Years children and pupils with SEN needs have access to it and in the afternoons it is usually used by KS1 pupils.

All classes have at least one 40-60 minute slot within the library each fortnight. This is a time when they can browse and select books, choose one to take home and then come together for additional shared learning. This might take the form of creating story maps or playing hot seating character games to name but a few activities. The session always ends with a lovely story time. This could be with a key text or one of someone's choosing.

Our library sessions are just as important to us as a lesson within the classroom would be and teaching and learning is monitored regularly to ensure high-quality teaching at all times. Our reflective staff team often film videos of their story time sessions using IRIS Connect technology to share their good practice with others.

The environment and table top displays are carefully planned out to reflect pupils interests of current topics. Our Reading Leader, Mrs Price updates them each half term to reflect the upcoming new core values, key themes and year group topics. Areas for pupils to look at texts which link to previously taught topics are also created to encourage children to keep learning and remembering what they have previously being taught. 

At Diamond Wood Community Academy we encourage the children to become ‘Responsible Readers’. We also work hard to support them in becoming independent learners. One of our key values is ‘Responsibility’ and another one is ‘Co-operation’. It is for these reasons that we have introduced the role of ‘Library Monitors’ as part of our School Ambassadors initiative. 

Classroom Reading Areas

At Diamond Wood Community Academy we value the importance of providing opportunities for independent reading. Children enjoy cuddling up to a teddy, looking at books and listening to stories/ poems. We aim to create an inviting book area in all classes but also make sure the rest of our setting's environment provides children with opportunities to experience print too. We also have outdoor reading opportunities all year round. Children are invited to enjoy a book in the Year 2 Reading Area at playtimes and dinnertimes. 

Click here to view our 'Independent reading opportunities' document.

Take a look at some of the wonderful reading opportunities pupils experienced last year and this year so far...

What OFSTED have said about our teaching of Reading...

Support for Parents and Carers

To download a copy of this poster click here.

Watch video tutorials on to help you to understand more about Read Write Inc. Phonics and how to help your child read and write at home.

If you would like to know any more information about our Reading Curriculum here at

Diamond Wood please do not hesitate to get in touch.