At Hexham First we strongly believe that learning to read and the development of a love of reading is vital to a child's success as a lifelong learner. We aim to inspire our children to read everyday either at home or at school with the aim of developing their reading skills and a love of books and reading which will last a lifetime.
Reading Aims

To build on the children’s language experiences and early reading skills that they have already acquired.
For pupils to emerge from inexperienced readers to independent readers who read a variety of texts for different purposes.
To look for higher standards because we have high expectations of our children.
For children to develop as readers and to be able to enjoy reading for pleasure, alone or as a shared experience with an adult or their peers. We want children to be able to read independently and be able to follow personal interests, use their research skills to extend their knowledge and understanding.
To recognise that reading plays an important part of education and life.

We encourage a love of books and of reading by providing a rich reading environment in our classrooms and in our school library.
Throughout the school, teachers read aloud to children on a regular basis. We read a wide range of good quality fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
We teach the word recognition skills needed to decode text and the language comprehension skills needed to understand what they read.
Word recognition skills are developed systematically in the early years through the teaching of synthetic phonics. We teach phonics daily in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1, using the Read, Write Inc material.
Language comprehension skills are developed and deepened through regular shared and guided reading in discrete English lessons and across the curriculum.
We assess children’s reading levels using end of term reading comprehension tests from Pearsons’ Bug Club and teachers keep on-going weekly guided reading records of children’s progress in reading.

We use Read Write Inc as our main phonics programme in school. Read Write Inc is a literacy programme that helps children learn synthetic phonics. The scheme includes both a phonics and reading focus. The sessions happen every day as the continuity and pace of the programme is essential to increasing the speed of children’s reading development.


In Key stage 1, pupils take part in guided reading session once a week and individual reading once a week. All pupils are provided with a reading diary which they are expected to bring to school every day along with their reading book. This diary allows on-going communication between home and school on your child’s reading progress.
In Key stage 2, pupils take part in a guided reading session once a week plus a weekly whole class text approach to reading in addition to this pupils have the opportunity to read their 'grapple book' independently every day.

There are a number of reading interventions in school which support those who are finding reading difficult. RWI one-to-one tuition is used in Key Stage 1 and Reading Buddies are available for children in Key Stages 1. Staff are allocated individual children who have been hi-lighted as underachieving in reading.

Reading schemes

Throughout the school children read a range of reading books from different reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Story World, Rigby Star and Heinemann. The books are levelled according to the Book band bands.
Bug Club
In Key stage 2 Bug Club combines beautiful print books and eBooks that children want to read.

Teachers have access to a range of levelled sets of books to use during Guided Reading activities in class. Children also change their free choice library books regularly and take home to read.

Teachers allocate reading material aimed at the reading level of individual pupils. The reading materials then encourage deeper thought

The reading packages come with materials that will help you to encourage children’s reading and comprehension skills.

Developing a love of reading
To develop a love of reading throughout the school these are some of the things that we do throughout the school year 
  • In Early Years and Key Stage 1 - children are read a quality text daily. 

  • In Key stage 2 the class novel is shared daily

  • A library slot is offered to all children weekly with the opportunity to change books

  • Children make an annual visit to Hexham Library

  • Every classroom has a reading area

  • World Book Day is celebrated across the whole school

  • Author visits and trips to local book shops are incorporated into the school calendar

  • ‘Swap a book’ half termly – staff, parents and children are invited to bring in  a book from home to swap and take home

  • ‘Book People Book Fair’ ran by staff twice a year – funds raised used to buy Pie Corbett spine texts from the Book People. 

  • Reading Buddies – once a week during playtime, Key Stage 2 children read with targeted children from year 1

  • Key Stage 1 and 2 – children choose a ‘grapple’ book as a book of choice, which is kept in their trays and is read for pleasure

  • Key stage 2 – ‘Close study’ – as a class, children read 6 quality novels from the Pie Corbett core list.

  • Whole school core books – in 6 years at Hexham First pupils are read to, discuss, and work with around 82 core books These books are the Pie Corbett ‘reading spine,’ which are central to our book stock but which is supplemented by many other great books.

  • Poetry Spine - The Works Key Stage 1 (which includes Reception) and The Works Key Stage 2 provide banks of poems for enjoying, performing and discussing, and some may be used as models for writing. Poems are organised by year group to create a poetry spine. Core poems are woven into the curriculum each term.

  • Non-fiction – children are given the opportunity to choose non-fiction from the library and quality texts are selected in relation to topics being studied.

  • Range of authors – staff are encouraged to select books by local authors, new authors as well as key authors 

  • ‘Book swap’

  • Advent reading challenge 

Reading at home
Reading with your child at home is vital in order to help stimulate your child’s imagination and expand their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. Reading books open your child’s mind to a whole new world of vocabulary. Books showcase a wide range of words that your child may not use or hear every day. When you include reading into your child’s daily life, it helps them develop a higher level of words to use in their everyday conversations. As you read, your child may ask what words mean, take time to explain the definitions and talk about what your child is reading.
Read Write Inc
We use Read Write Inc as our main phonics programme in school. Read Write Inc is a literacy programme that helps children learn synthetic phonics. The scheme includes both a phonics and reading focus. The sessions happen every day as the continuity and pace of the programme is essential to increasing the speed of children’s reading development. Have a look at the information leaflet for parents below.