Reading is vital for pupils to understand, access and contribute to and within society. Reading can take pupils to places they may never get to visit and experience things they may never experience in the real world. At Ash Lea, all children are given the opportunity to enjoy literature and develop reading skills at a level appropriate for them. This means for many of our children, how reading looks will vary (Please see our reading scheme of learning for further detail of these variations). Some of our children may not learn to decode text and read independently in the traditional sense but we do not want this to exclude them from all that literature has to offer.   


Regardless of reading ability we will promote an interest and love of reading by:    

  • Exploring stories using different senses which convey narratives using a mixture of text and complimentary sensory experiences. This provision also extends and expands understanding of text and narrative from a sensory response through to understanding and conveying character and feelings within stories.   
  • Giving all children opportunities to listen to and enjoy a variety of texts beyond their reading ability – This could be through whole class story time or individual activities.  
  • Ensuring adults help our children to see themselves as readers.  
  • Ensuring that there is an appropriate selection of literature that interests our children, reflects their own culture and broadens their horizons.  
  • Developing children’s understanding of the different benefits and purposes of books by having books relating to activities and topics available during self-chosen activities e.g. a lego model book by the lego.   
  • Ensuring that children have literature in a format that they can access e.g. talking books, large print etc. 
  • Providing inviting reading areas which are easy to access and organised so children can find their favourite books and are enticed by new ones.  
  • Classrooms where reading areas aren’t appropriate will have means for children to choose a reading activity, whether that be having a story read to them or accessing it digitally.   
  • Giving children opportunity to visit the local library and mobile library and have access to books online books through RNIB book share.  
  • Taking part in special events that promote reading such as world book day.  
  • Supporting parents with reading strategies for encouraging reading at home.  


At Ash Lea phonics is used as the prime approach to teaching early reading.  We use the Little Wandle phonics scheme  For parents | Letters and Sounds ( which is a DfE validated Systematic Synthetic phonics programme. Many of our children follow the SEND pathway of the scheme, which can be adapted to meet the specific needs of individual pupils. As part of the Little Wandle scheme, high frequency words which can’t be decoded are also introduced in a systematic way. In addition to this, children may learn words which reflect their interests or are personal to them e.g. characters, people in their family, specific things they need for their care.  Some curricular areas will also have topic-based words that will be useful in helping children negotiate their environment independently. For example, in ‘community’ children will learn words such as toilet, fire exit, entrance, pharmacy, police, bus stop, supermarket signs and brand signage. 


As children can join Ash Lea at different stages, we understand that they may bring with them different experiences of learning to read, and these may not always be positive. We know that when children read more, they learn more, expanding their vocabulary and knowledge and for those that find reading difficult and do it less, the opposite is true. We want reading to be meaningful and enjoyable while they are at Ash Lea so use our knowledge of our children as individuals alongside assessment tools to ensure that the reading pathway they are on is right for them.  

Please see the link to our reading Scheme of Learning or talk to your child’s teacher for further information.