To strive for excellence in learning and all that we do’


At Great Dunmow Primary School, we want all our pupils to become confident and enthusiastic readers.  Books open doors to new worlds and we are consistent from EYFS to Year 6 in holding these doors open for children to pass through, so that they can continue their love of Reading as they move to Secondary School and subsequently throughout their future lives.  Through our carefully planned curriculum, we also aim to ensure that by the end of Year 6 all children are able to read fluently and able to access the Key Stage 3 curriculum in all subjects.

We aim to create a positive reading culture in school where reading is considered ‘a pleasure’ for all pupils.  We want children to be both excited and challenged by reading.

We intend children to begin to establish their own reading preference from the beginning of EYFS when they begin to choose their own books.  They will be exposed to phonics learning from the moment they begin school and continue that journey each day thereafter.

We expect children to be confident in their speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning in all subjects.  We want them to be able to recognise and use a wide vocabulary that their wide reading and language rich environment at school has exposed them to.  Our choice of high-quality texts will enable our children to develop a love of reading and a good range of authors, cultures and experiences.  This is especially important in the context of Great Dunmow which does not have a great diversity of ethnicity and culture.  The variety of books and genres should provide children with a better knowledge of the diverse and varied world in which they live through the knowledge that they’ve gained from texts.


Reading skills are made explicit during learning throughout the day, in all subjects.  Teachers ensure that their knowledge helps support pupils in developing their own language and vocabulary.  Phonics training for all teachers and support staff, as well as consistent reading assessments across the school has helped to underpin a strong subject knowledge.

At Great Dunmow, reading is taught through a whole class approach so that all children are exposed to quality first teaching.  This allows children to keep up rather than catch up and applies to both Phonics and to Shared Reading.

Shared reading sessions take place three times a week in every year group.  During each lesson, children are taught new skills and reading strategies. Retrieval, inference and vocabulary skills are focused upon in particular. The whole class approach helps to develop pupils’ confidence and enjoyment in reading.  Teaching is adapted to suit the needs and interests of the children within the class as appropriate.

The texts used in shared reading sessions are carefully chosen as part of a coherently planned curriculum, sequenced through a whole school reading spine.  There is a variety of text types that develop throughout the school, including narrative, traditional tales, information and poetry as well as a diverse range of settings, genres and authors. Teachers ensure that children see multicultural and diverse books within these sessions too. 

As each lesson progresses, teachers check pupils’ understanding and identify and correct misconceptions.  Rigorous assessments have been carefully tailored to our curriculum to ensure that skills being taught are evaluated.  These are used during shared reading sessions, and on an individual basis, and are carried out regularly to help identify and correct misconceptions and support progress. Additional Local Authority approved assessments are also used in order to help inform whether there are any areas where a child might need additional support, for example the YARC.  Where teachers identify a particular need they deliver targeted intervention to ensure rapid progress, such as Herts for Reading.

Reading for pleasure is integral in our curriculum and children are read to every day. Teachers model being excited and motivated by reading and share this excitement with their pupils.  A record of books read in the class are on display to help children recall and discuss their previous learning. 

Adults regularly hear children read, on a weekly basis in EYFS, Year 1, Year 2 and fortnightly thereafter.  Those that are not able to read as much at home with their parents or carers have extra opportunities to read in school.  In addition, PPG children will read to a designated LSA. Volunteers from the community, including parents, grandparents and organised volunteers, are welcomed into the school to hear children read.  Children are able to use the book areas in their classrooms, a small whole school library and external bookshelves during breaktimes. Children have the opportunity to join a book club after school.

Children select their reading books from a range of schemes that are carefully aligned to their reading ability.  Those children learning Phonics will have eBooks closely matched to their phonic knowledge which are sent home on a Friday and read both at home and at school.


Learning is a ‘process that leads to change … as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance and future learning’ (Ambrose et al, How Learning Works 2010)

As a result of our reading curriculum, children will:

  • Leave primary school as confident readers, ready for secondary education
  • Improve reading skills progressively in every year group and through targeted interventions where necessary
  • Develop a love of reading, modelled by staff and enabled by a focus on ‘reading for pleasure’
  • Be able to share and discuss their favourite books with others
  • Be familiar with a wide variety of vocabulary, explicitly taught
  • Appreciate a wider world full of rich heritage, diversity and culture

Mrs J. Stow – English/Reading Lead