At Highbury Quadrant, it is our aim to develop and create passionate readers for life. We use a systematic, rigorous approach to teaching pupils how to read which we believe to be central in establishing reading as a lifelong venture. Teaching is exciting, stimulating and directed. We intend to equip pupils with essential skills as early as possible with high expectations of all pupils. Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of our primary school. These key skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.

Early Reading Provision

Within Nursery, Phase 1 Phonics are implemented, whereby the children are able to identify the different sounds that they can hear in the environment. This is split into seven aspects:
environmental sounds
instrumental sounds
body percussion
rhythm and rhyme
voice sounds
oral blending and segmenting

Please find below a more detailed explanation of these aspects.

Little Wandle – Phonics

Reception, Year One and Year Two follow the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ systematic synthetic phonics programme which starts from Phase 2. The programme is rigorous, consistent and ensures the best possible start for pupils in early reading. Pupils are taught the sounds of the spoken language as well as how
they are represented as graphemes in words, sentences and texts. Pupils progress to blending sounds and then reading, decoding and responding to texts.

  • Letters and Sounds phonics lesson takes place every day for 30 minutes.
  • There is a whole class teaching approach in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 which is led by the class teacher.
  • Phonics in Year 2 moves on to have a stronger emphasis on spelling patterns.
  • Interventions are run daily on a 1:1 basis in order for pupils to keep up.
  • Assessments take place every six weeks.


Reception, Year One and Year Two have small group reading sessions. Texts used during these sessions are fully decodable and are aligned to the Letters and Sounds progression of GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence).
In the small group reading session in Year One and Year Two, there are four groups with a teacher or teaching assistant reading with each group. At the start of every small group reading session, children are encouraged to develop their sight vocabulary by practising the phonemes, high frequency and tricky words that come up in the book.

Destination Reader – Key Stage 2 Provision

To support pupils to develop their reading skills in a smooth transition from Letters and Sounds, we follow the Destination Reader reading approach across Key Stage 2. It begins in Year 3 and pupils follow it all the way up to Year 6. Destination Reader focuses on these key principles which we embed within the school:

  • Enable quality experience
  • Promote enjoyment
  • Increase reading mileage
  • Build firm foundations
  • Develop thinking and understanding
  • Make talk central

Destination Reader allows pupils to access real books of a high quality that are engaging and exciting. As talk is made central within partner reading, pupils are given ample opportunities to discuss books with their partners. To encourage respective communication, pupils are taught to use sentence starters to support them in actively listening and participating and discussing and explaining their ideas.

The approach covers seven key skills identified within the National Curriculum to support the reading and understanding of a wide range of texts. These are:

  • Predicting
  • Making connections
  • Asking questions
  • Evaluating
  • Inferring
  • Summarising
  • Clarifying

These skills are taught and modelled by the teacher before pupils are able to practise these skills whilst reading with their partner. Selfie activities are planned and used by the class teacher to assess pupils’ knowledge. The ‘Big Picture’ within the Destination Reader is used to teach written comprehension on a weekly basis. Teachers model and explicitly teach how to answer questions and write responses.

Reading for Pleasure

We encourage all children to read for pleasure. All children are able to borrow books from our well stocked school library, and their class book corner, which they are able to read or have adults read for them at home. We have phase reading assemblies which enable children to recommend reading books for their peers and to celebrate reading across the phase. Class teachers read aloud to the class on a daily basis. KS2 pupils take part in the well established ‘Islington Reading Road Map’, which encourages all children to read a range of genres whilst completing a road map. This leads to a special visit to the Emirates Stadium, whereby pupils are able to meet and be inspired by some of the authors of the Reading Road Map books.