Portway Junior School

'Creating life-long learners'

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‘Reading opens the world: it shows us other lives, and other ways of living. If you read, you can learn anything, go anywhere, be anyone.’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Reading Intent 

Reading is a powerful tool that builds knowledge - knowledge of ourselves, knowledge of others, and knowledge of the world in which we live. It is the key that unlocks access to all subjects and enables pupils to acquire knowledge across the curriculum. Our reading-based curriculum immerses children in a wide range of literature, including stories, poems and non-fiction, to help them establish an appreciation and love of reading. It focuses on both dimensions of reading: word reading and comprehension, which ensures that our pupils can read easily, fluently and with good understanding. Through reading, children develop a wide vocabulary that they can use to communicate effectively and express their ideas and emotions. They learn to be imaginative, inquisitive and empathetic citizens. We believe that developing confident, capable and curious readers who are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives is essential. Therefore, our aim is to foster a love of literature that will not only give them confidence in their forthcoming secondary education, but will stay with them throughout their lives.



At Portway Junior School, we understand that phonics is the most effective approach to early reading. We ensure a rigorous and systematic approach to the teaching of phonics by following the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme, which has been validated by the Department for Education (DfE). We work closely with our infants school, who also follow the scheme, to assess the phonetical knowledge of our pupils. Daily interventions are delivered to pupils who are not yet secure with phonics to address identified gaps in learning, so pupils can decode words accurately and read fluently.


Once pupils have attained phonics security, they actively participate in whole class reading sessions. Every week, they study an extract from a fiction, non-fiction, or poetry book. At the beginning of each sequence of lessons, the book is introduced, and subsequent sessions begin with vocabulary or theme recaps, as well as making text-to-text, text-to-self, or text-to-world connections. Pupils develop their reading fluency through guided oral reading and repeated reading exercises. Additionally, each lesson introduces a specific comprehension strategy, such as vocabulary, retrieval, inference, prediction, or summarization. These strategies are modeled and scaffolded as needed, followed by guided or independent practice by the students. Finally, in the last session of the week, pupils independently answer a variety of comprehension questions based on the text. This approach ensures that our students not only become proficient readers but also develop strong comprehension and critical thinking abilities.


At Portway Junior School, fostering a love for reading is a priority, and we have implemented various initiatives to promote reading for pleasure among our students. We are fortunate to have an incredible school library that boasts a diverse range of texts, catering to different interests and reading levels. To encourage regular engagement with the library, each class has a designated weekly slot dedicated to exploring the captivating books on offer. Additionally, we have daily reading for pleasure time where teachers play a crucial role. During this time, teachers carefully select a book or poem that they believe their pupils will enjoy and read it aloud, modelling fluency and expression. This shared reading experience not only exposes students to new literature but also helps create an immersive and enjoyable atmosphere that inspires a lifelong passion for reading.



Pupils leave Portway Junior School as fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as using their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. They are well-prepared and empowered readers, ready to embrace the challenges of higher-level education and continue their reading journey with enthusiasm and confidence.

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