School Gateway

Hillbrook Primary School

Be Responsible · Be Resilient · Be Reflective




At Hillbrook, we aim to inspire our pupils to become confident, enthusiastic and reflective readers, who appreciate the importance of reading as a life-long skill in the wider world, but also value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment.

We develop a love of reading through our curriculum and environment by investing in high quality, inclusive and diverse texts, creating inviting reading areas and simply giving children the time to read and listen to stories.  Our school reading spine ensures that children experience a wide range of quality books as part of whole class teaching. We are committed to ensuring that the books that our children read and enjoy are not just a window to the world but also a mirror in which all of our children have the opportunity to see themselves reflected.

Our fantastic library is an oasis of calm, full of wonderful books to be enjoyed! Every class visits the library at least once a week where children can browse and borrow books, cosy up with a good read or enjoy some class story time together. It is also open before school every morning so that families can visit together as well as during break times when our School Librarians offer Storytime sessions. Enjoy a virtual tour led by our librarians below: 


Special events such as Reading Breakfasts, Book Fairs and World Book Week celebrate reading and visits from authors and storytellers as well as competitions such as ‘Read-a-thon’ and ‘Extreme Reading’, nurture children’s reading habits and keep the profile and enjoyment of reading high. Our school librarians are responsible for spreading a love of reading and work hard to ensure that learning environments and libraries are well-stocked and inviting. We have a close link with our local library which classes visit on rotation and all pupils hold membership for. ‘Reading buddies’ are in place across the school and each class benefits from the support of a trained parent volunteer. Reading support is also offered by volunteers recruited by Learn2Love to Read and Beanstalk charities. 

How is reading taught?

Phonics and Early Reading

Throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One we follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised programme which uses a rigorous system of synthetic phonics to teach the technical aspects of using letter/sound knowledge to read and write words. We use decodable books and e-books, both at home and school, that are matched to the Little Wandle progression for children to practice their word reading.

In addition to daily phonics lessons, children also have three small group reading practice sessions each week where they are supported to read decodable books that are matched to their phonic stage.  These sessions also develop children’s fluency, prosody (expression) and comprehension.

Wider opportunities are given for children to apply their phonic knowledge throughout the day in speaking, reading and writing, in a language-rich curriculum.

 Phonics and Early Reading Policy


Across the school, we use a talk-based approach using Reading Conversations to develop pupil’s reading comprehension.  Drawing from educational and psychological research, this approach focuses on pupil dialogue whereby the teacher acts as a facilitator, modelling language and supporting and encouraging the children to share and discuss their understanding and opinions of texts more independently. A carefully selected lead text is used as the basis for reading conversations. These can be found on our reading spine.

Specific reading strategies are actively and consciously taught to support comprehension: Questioning, Clarifying, Summarising, Predicting, Visualising, Connecting. To promote active engagement with a text, pupils are also taught and encouraged to ‘think aloud’ as they’re reading.

We believe that not only do reading conversations increase depth of understanding leading to improved comprehension and enjoyment of a text but they also develop key social skills, encourage children to respect differences of opinion and values collaboration as children work together to bring more meaning to a text.

In addition to reading conversations, children are given regular opportunities to read and enjoy texts across the curriculum and across all subjects. For example, picture books act as inspiration for Art projects and sensitive issues are introduced through stories in assemblies. We strongly support the philosophy: ‘Read as a Writer’ and ‘Write as a Reader’, and links between reading and writing are developed where ever possible. For example, model texts scaffold and enrich writing and new and ambitious vocabulary is collected on working walls.


Click here for more guidance about supporting your child with their reading at home.