Valuing the importance of reading for all at Abbey Hill Academy

Reading and a true love of books is what the curriculum at Abbey Hill is based upon.

Our community understands the importance of teaching the foundations for reading as well as the skill of being able to read words on a page.

Our children access teaching that focuses on the pre-requisites for reading; focus and attention, the ability to communicate and access meaning, having an awareness of rhythm, pattern and order, supporting memory skills and processing, as well as supporting children with sound and visual discrimination, are all essential aspects of our reading curriculum.

Sound and visual discrimination are very important pre-requisites for reading. We focus our observations on what sounds gain our children’s attention and we continuously assess their phonological awareness. We also observe the symbols that they engage with visually. When children are ready to access specific sounds linked to specific sound spellings, we work systematically using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. The programme has a systematic focus taking our students from sound to symbol, from spoken word to print.

Access to the very best stories and books for all is our aspiration. Our mission is to read more and share more. We have a library of appropriate decodable reads that support our phonic approach to build confidence with sounds and sound spellings. We have core texts that link to our curriculum and offer knowledge consolidation as well as extension. Our children however, demand flexibility when it comes to book choices. Our book choices have to motivate and engage so we make skilful decisions always based on the knowledge we have about our children.

Maximising our interactions and ensuring shared reading opportunities for all are key. We plan daily, predictable reading opportunities as frequency and routine are important. Teaching is multi-sensory, connects to curricular knowledge and embeds our core vocabulary decisions. We observe student responses and extend learning opportunities.

Reading stage



Pre-requisite reading skills

Multi-sensory teaching

Maximising interactions for active participation.

Repetitive use of multi-sensory stories that connect prior knowledge and support core vocabulary decisions.

Access to a library of the very best picture books.

Pre K

Emerging readers

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds

Systematic synthetic phonic based programme delivered using multi-sensory teaching approaches. Interactive core texts are used to immerse children in sounds, letters, words and pictures. They are chosen to connect with prior knowledge and support core vocabulary decisions.

Complete access to a huge library of appropriate and matched decodable texts as well as a library of the very best picture books.

Pre K-Key Skill 1


Little Wandle Fluency– reading books carefully designed to promote fluency in our post-phonic readers allowing them more time to embed the phonic code and move into becoming experienced readers.

Core texts chosen to promote sustained focus, closely linked to our curriculum content with the aim of consolidating and extending knowledge and vocabulary.







Fluency 1- 60 Words Per Minute

Fluency 2- 70 WPM

Fluency 3- 80 WPM

Fluency 4- 85 WPM

Fluency 5- 90 WPM

Fluency 6 - 95 WPM

Fluency 7- 100 WPM

Fluency 8- 110 WPM

Fluency 9 - 115 WPM

Fluency 10- 120 WPM

Experienced readers

Core texts chosen to promote sustained focus, closely linked to our curriculum content with the aim of consolidating and extending knowledge and vocabulary.

Teaching is focused on reading accuracy, automaticity and prosody.

Shared exploration of text in the moment looking at:

-          vocabulary

-          spelling

-          retrieving

-          predicting

-          summarising

-          inference

-          using evidence from text

Opportunities to read a variety of pre-planned fiction and linked non-fiction using a range of pedagogical approaches:

-          Short intervals building up stamina and complexity

-          Choral reading

-          Short quizzes and T/F – high challenge, low threat

-          Reading aloud as a group, changing student frequently as teacher matches student to text

-          Adult reads to model fluency – using inaccessible texts

(Reading reconsidered by Doug Lemov 2016)

Incidental phonics support using the main concepts and skills of from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds to specifically support with spelling

At every stage, we believe in the importance of hearing wonderful stories read aloud by an adult. Our curriculum is planned to enrich our student’s experiences of books and literature.   

We have a school library that students can access at any time. We carefully guide and encourage reading for pleasure.

See our twitter feed and our student life section for current recommended reads.

Visit Drake the bookshop to find the perfect gift.

Abbey Hill Academy
Ketton Road
Stockton on Tees
TS19 8BU

Tel: 01642 677113

Horizons Specialist Academy Trust is a company limited by guarantee (Company No 08608287) and exempt charity registered in England and Wales.

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