Reading at NRHS


At New Rush Hall School (NRHS), our intention is for all pupils to foster a lifelong love of reading. We, therefore, hold high aspirations for all our pupils and provide opportunities at all levels, for our pupils to develop the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills needed for further education.  Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do at NRHS. Pupils are exposed to high-quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all classes. Alongside the skills of decoding and comprehension, book talk encourages pupils to think as a reader and discuss their likes and dislikes, whether reading Pirates Love Underpants in Year 2 or Noughts and Crosses in Year 9. As pupils progress through their school years, we intend to develop their capability to read critically from a variety of texts. Reading for pleasure is our ultimate goal, and part of this requires us to dismantle the anxiety around reading that many of our pupils share. We want all of our pupils to leave school with the tools needed to thrive in society, therefore, it is imperative for them to be able to read fluently and comprehend effectively.

Pupils will learn to read until they can learn from reading.


When pupils begin at NRHS they are assessed in their word reading and comprehension skills to ensure the learning they receive is bespoke to their needs. Any pupils requiring it will undertake a structured phonics programme, alongside the repetitive teaching of tricky words. Across the school week, pupils who require phonics have four 10-minute sessions of 1-1 phonics within their reading lesson. Phonics sessions are interactive and engaging. Every session begins with revising sounds, introducing a new sound, identifying objects with this sound, segmenting and blending these words to write each word, then exploring any rules within this sound. Games such as Phonics Bingo, and Trash or Treasure are played to embed the pupil’s learning. Any pupils that are performing at below expected levels as measured by standardised scores are offered 1-1 Additional Literacy Support. These sessions are bespoke to each learner and respond to their individual gaps in learning (spelling, reading single words, reading comprehension). This is delivered through a Phonics Reading Scheme and Little Wandle in conjunction with what is being taught in the classroom for continuity.

Pupils are given decodable books to read as they progress through every stage.

When they are ready, pupils have access to a broad range of engaging texts which are banded to the appropriate level.

We operate the 5-finger rule:

  • If a child is making 5 errors or more per 100 words the text is too hard.
  • If the child is making 3 errors per 100 words the text is likely to be at an instructional level.
  • If a child makes less than 3 errors they are able to read independently.

All pupils have a Reading Journal where they record the books they have read, and the adults they have read to will comment on their word reading, expression, fluency, and understanding. This journal acts as an integral part of the pupils’ understanding of a text, giving them the opportunity to add new words/phrases they have learned and complete an activity based on the book they have read.

In Theme lessons, where we teach pupils to demonstrate understanding and meaning, they are taught various reading strategies. Retrieving, predicting, inferring, clarifying and summarising are explicitly taught until the pupils have the skills and knowledge to combine these skills to comprehend what they are seeing and reading. Pupils are taught talking and writing stems to discuss and explain their ideas.


The impact our teaching of reading will have is that our pupils will be competent readers who have a thirst for reading a range of genres. Not only this but, our pupils will read varying literature with the intention of developing their knowledge on a given topic. Ultimately, they will begin learning to read until they are reading to learn. This develops confident and resilient learners who feel empowered to access a wide variety of education, employment and/or training. The vocabulary that the pupils will use will inhibit cultural capital that prepares them for the wider world, giving them the qualifications and therefore opportunities to compete on an equal footing with their peers.