Accelerated Reader

At the Gateway Primary Free School, we use the Accelerated Reader software for monitoring the practice of reading.  Accelerated Reader is based on each child's individual reading level.  This is determined by a Reading assessment that each child takes at the beginning of the year.  As well as a reading level, this assessment gives a range of book levels within which each child will achieve maximum success with their reading.  This is the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), the personalised starting place for reading practice with Accelerated Reader. 

After a child has read a book within their level, they take an Accelerated Reader Quiz, which checks the child's comprehension skills of the text.  The score achieved within this Quiz decides on where a child goes next within their reading, either to another book within the same level or moving up to the next level within the range given. 

Children love reading these books and get excited about taking their Accelerated Reader Quiz.  They are motivated to read and can't wait for the next time to Quiz!!

GLC children learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. They use the Literacy and Language programme to further develop comprehension skills and ensure children become skilful readers and writers. 

The Read Write Inc.  Phonic programme

The programme is for:   

  • children  in  Year  N  to  Year  2  who  are  learning  to  read  and  write 
  • any  children  in  Years  2,  3  and  4  who  need  to  catch  up  rapidly 
  • struggling  readers  in  Years  5  and  6  follow  Read  Write  Inc.  Fresh  Start 

Children are taught children to: 

  • decode   letter - sound   correspondences   quickly   and   effortlessly,   using   their  phonic  knowledge  and  skills 
  • read  ‘tricky’  (red  words)  on  sight 
  • understand  what  they  read 
  • read  aloud  with  fluency  and  expression 
  • write  confidently,  with  a  strong  focus  on  vocabulary  and  grammar 
  • spell  quickly  and  easily  by  segmenting  the  sounds  in  words 
  • acquire  good  handwriting 

In   addition,   children are taught to   work   effectively   with   a   partner   to   explain   and consolidate what they are learning.  This  provides  the  teacher  with  opportunities  to  assess  learning  and  to  pick  up  on  difficulties,  such  as  children’s  poor  articulation,  or  problems  with  blending  or  alphabetic  code  knowledge. 

Children are grouped homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their   writing.   This   is   because   it   is   known   that   children’s   progress   in   writing   will   lag behind   progress   in   reading,   especially   for   those   whose   motor   skills   are   less   well developed. 

In Year R (or in Nursery if appropriate) the emphasis is on the alphabetic code.  The  children  rapidly  learn  sounds  and  the  letter  or  groups  of  letters  they  need  to  represent  them.  Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly.  This  is  especially  useful  for  children  at  risk  of  making  slower  progress.  This learning is consolidated daily.  Children  have  frequent  practice  in  reading  high  frequency  words  with  irregular  spellings  –  ‘red  words’. 

Staff ensure that   children   read   books   that   are   closely   matched   to   their   increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘red words’.  This  is  so  that,  early  on,  they  experience  success  and  gain  confidence  that  they  are  readers.  Re‑reading  and  discussing  these  books  with  the  teacher  supports  their  increasingly  fluent  decoding.  Alongside  this,  the  teachers  read  a  wide  range  of  stories,  poetry  and  non‑fiction  to  children;  they  are  soon  able  to  read  these  texts  for  themselves. 

Embedding   the   alphabetic   code   early   on   means   that   children   quickly   learn   to   write simple words and sentences.  Children are encouraged to  compose  each  sentence  aloud  until  they  are  confident  to  write  independently.  Steps are taken to ensure they write every day. 

Children  write  at  the  level  of  their  spelling  knowledge,  that  is,  they  use  their  knowledge  of  the  alphabetic  code  and  the  tricky  words  they  have  learnt.  They  can  soon  spell  more  complex  words  confidently  and  accurately.  The  quality  of  the  vocabulary  they  use  in  their  writing  reflects  the  language  they  have  heard  in  the  books  the  teacher  has  read  to  them;  they  have  also  discussed  what  the  words  mean.  Teachers will not correct words unless a child has already been taught how to spell words containing that spelling pattern or red word.

The  aim  is  for  children  to  complete  the  phonics  programme  as  quickly  as  possible.  The  sooner  they  complete  it,  the  sooner  they  will  be  able  to  choose  books  to  read  at  their  own  interest  and  comprehension  level.   

Struggling  readers  in  Years  5  and  6  follow  Read  Write  Inc.  Fresh Start.   

Children who are in a RWI group will take the book they are reading home at the end of the week, they may also take home a non-fiction book from the same colour.  They will also take a high quality book home for their parent/carer to read to them. They will use My Book Blog to select books and record their progress.

Phonic screening check 

There are high expectations of children’s progress and targets are set to ensure they perform in line with at least national expectations.

Parents and carers 

Parents/carers are invited to an initial meeting and workshops are held regularly to show how they can support their children’s reading at home.  It is hoped that this will enable them to help  their  children,  but also  recognise  that  some  are  not  well-placed  to  do  this.  If  they  don’t,  their  children  will not suffer;  as it  is the  job of the GLC to  teach  their  children  to  read. 

Repeat meetings are organised for those who do not or cannot attend.  Steps are put in place to ensure that the children of parents who have not attended keep up with their peers.  Staff check that the children make good progress in lessons and are given extra   one‑to-one   lessons.  It is strongly encouraged that they read to themselves and to siblings at home.   

See the parent page on the Ruth Miskin Training website. Click here to view. 

The Literacy and Language programme

The Literacy and Language programme is taught to all children in Y2 – Y4, who are able to read with fluency and accuracy, and who have completed the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. 

Struggling readers in Year 4 follow Read Write Inc. Fresh Start. 

Children are taught to: 

  • develop writing through a clear editing process 
  • understand what they read 
  • read aloud with fluency and expression 
  • write  confidently,  with  a  strong  focus  on  vocabulary  and  grammar 
  • develop  knowledge  of  the  features  of  fiction  and  non-fiction  texts  - acquire  good  handwriting 

In   addition,   children are taught   to   work   effectively   with   a   partner   to   explain   and consolidate what they are learning.  This  provides  the  teacher  with  opportunities  to  assess  learning  and  to  pick  up  on  difficulties,  such  as  children’s  poor  understanding,  or  lack  of  ‘writer’s  flair’.  The  programme  follows  a  structure  which  is  the  same  for  each  of  the  six  units  in  each  year  group’s  curriculum.    Each  unit  last  for approximately three  to  four  weeks;  each  unit  starts    with  reading,  exploring  and  understanding  a  high  quality  text;  then  focuses  on  using  the  reading  to  develop,  draft,  edit  and  publish  an  extended  piece  of  writing.    The first part   of   each   unit   is   fiction   or   poetry   and   the   second   part   is   non-fiction.   The programme also includes a grammar focus for every unit.    Literacy  and  Language  ensures  breadth  and  coverage  in  the  teaching  and  learning  of  English. 

Alongside  this,  the  teachers  read  a  wide  range  of  stories,  poetry  and  non-fiction  to  children;   they   then   acquire   a   wide   knowledge   of   high-quality   texts   by   a   range   of  authors  which  link  to  the  curriculum.

The RWI Spelling programme 

The RWI spelling programme is   taught   to   all   children   who   access   the Read   Write   Inc.   Phonics   programme from Blue   group   and   above plus children within the Literacy and Language programme

Children  still  accessing  RWI  and  Fresh  Start  are  discreetly  taught  spelling  through  these  programmes.  Children on the Fresh Start programme will also follow the Read Write Inc. spelling programme. 

Children are taught to:

  • spell confidently  
  • use prefixes and suffixes confidently
  • learn  spelling  patterns  and  rules  in  order  to  apply  them  to  different  situations
  • use  the  Speed  Sounds  chart  to  support  with  spelling  (see appendix 1)
  • learn the origins of words
  • understand words in context, including homophones and synonyms 

In   addition, children are taught to work effectively   with   a   partner   to   explain   and consolidate what they are learning.  This  provides  the  teacher  with  opportunities  to  assess  learning  and  to  pick  up  on  difficulties,  such  as  children’s  poor  understanding,  or  misconceptions,  e.g.  just adding an‘s’ to make a noun plural. 

The   programme   follows   a   structure   which   is   the   same   for   each   unit   in   each   year group.  Each  unit  should  last  a  week,  and  children  will  learn  each  spelling  pattern  with  the  following  activities: 

Speed  spell  –  a  spelling  test  of  the  previous  unit
Spelling  zone  –  a  video  clip  teaching  the  new  spelling  pattern
Dots  and  dashes  –  children  identifying  graphemes,  digraphs,  split  digraphs etc.  
Word changers – adding suffixes and prefixes etc.  
Words   to   log   and   learn   –   children   add   difficult   words   to   their   personal  dictionary
Dictation  –  children  work  in  pairs  to  dictate  and  write  down  a  sentence
Four  in  a  row  –  spelling  test
Choose  the  right  word  –  using  words  in  context
Team  teach  –  children teach  each  other  the  spelling  rule
Jumping  orange  words  –  any  words  which  are  still  causing  an  issue  for  the  class  go  into  the  orange  word  box,  which  can  be  tested  throughout  the  day. 

RWI  Spelling  ensures  breadth  and  coverage  in  the  teaching  and  learning  of  spelling  and  is  closely  linked  to  the  new  National  Curriculum  guidance  on  spelling. 

Children will have the opportunity to use ‘Fred Fingers’ (a strategy to support the sounding out of words) and to use ‘complex speed sound charts’ to help them spell word correctly. (Appendix 1/2).

Spelling Strategies

Teaching spelling is difficult and there is no one method which is applicable to all children. Consequently, all curriculum areas should use a range of strategies which run as a strand through teaching. The following five strategies have been selected for use on a cross-curricular basis:

1. Syllabification

Poor spellers frequently miss out parts of words, usually the middles. Encouraging children to listen for and identify the number of syllables in a word, then to repeat them as they write and then asking them to read what they have written, enables them to check that they have written the word in full.

For example, con-tin-ent

2. Word Families

New words can be developed from existing known words.
For example, in-dust-ry can be developed to produce in-dust-rial.
Words can also be grouped by letter pattern.
For example, ‘tion’ endings …… nation, civilisation.

3. Words Within Words

For example, measuring……me as u ring

4. Mnemonics

These can be used for whole words.
For example, beautiful – Bears Eat Apples Under Trees If Feeling Unusually Lucky

5. Associational Cluing

E.g.   friend (a symbol of a friend replaces the ‘i’ to aid remembrance)
broccoli- broccoli   has only one stem and two curly florets      
(the two ‘c’s  represent the florets and the ‘l’ represents the stem)

Spellings should only be marked incorrect if children have been taught the spelling convention. When a spelling has been identified as incorrect the following process should be followed:

  • use ‘speed sound chart’ to identify a plausible attempt
  • check in a dictionary
  • if the above two steps are unsuccessful teacher intervention is needed, this may be 1:1, small group, or during spelling lessons with the whole class (Appendix 2)

Common Exception Words

Common Exception words are words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics 'doesn't work', but are made more difficult by combinations of letters children may not have seen. Here, “it is harder to Fred a red”.

Each year group or stage will be provided with a list of exception words that children must being able to read and spell in order to meet age expected.

In giving children additional opportunities to study these exception words, we hope to close the gap. A homework task will be distributed every Friday, and will be due the following Thursday. The classroom teacher will then return each child’s record at the end of every half term to inform parents on their progress.

Nelson Handwriting programme 

The Nelson handwriting programme is delivered daily in teacher led handwriting sessions. Children access instructional video clips to help warm up   their muscles in  order  to  be  ready  to  write  and  are  then  introduced  to  a  letter,  punctuation mark or spelling pattern. They practise joining patterns and parts of words   before being asked to write full words. Children use handwriting books in these sessions, which are marked by the  teacher.

Children who are in Read Write Inc. Phonics Programme Yellow group and above plus those children accessing Literacy and Language will then transfer their handwriting skills learned in each session into a regular lined exercise book. Children are required to tick their best example in both books which develops their self-assessment skills.

Children  are  encouraged  to  interact  with  the  programme  by  tracing  or  copying  patterns  and   words,   demonstrating   neat   presentation.      Teachers   also   model   well-presented  and  accurately  formed  letters  in  handwriting  sessions  and  in  any  written  feedback  to  children.    Children  are  encouraged  to  apply  their  knowledge  and  ability  of  handwriting  skills  in  all   areas   of   the   curriculum consistently. 

Children in Year 1 will be taught explicitly to use self-assessment stickers (Appendix 11) as an introduction to editing and will use their purple pen to correct errors. They will begin a more in depth editing process in line with the rest of the school for most children in the summer term. The more able writers may begin this earlier.

The correct formation of both upper and lower case letters, including clear ascenders and descenders must be in place before moving on to joining. Again, this will begin for most children in Year 1 in the summer term.

Speaking and Listening   

Opportunities  for  speaking  and  listening  are  identified  in  all  areas  of  the  curriculum  as   well   as   being   taught   as   part   of   English.  The core skills   curriculum also has a speaking and listening focus for half a term. Children are encouraged to stand when speaking.  They will participate in a performance poetry competition and public speaking competition annually.  The Open Futures programme   (Ask   it,   Film   it,   Cook   it,   Grow   it)   encourages   the   development   of Speaking and Listening for all children.

Wider Opportunities for Reading and Writing 

A wide range of literature is used to encourage a love for reading. Children take part in core text lessons. Sometimes these lessons are linked to the Read, Write, Inc. materials and at other times they are linked to topic work. Particular books, authors and genres which link to their topic are highlighted on the long term plan. Teachers use these to deliver additional Literacy lessons. For children accessing  RWI, this is done through daily core text lessons and children complete  differentiated reading and writing activities based on their core text. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure and to write for a purpose.


Our school uses MyBookBlog (MyBB), a fantastic new website that motivates children to read books.  Children are introduced to great books using MyBB’s blurbs, book trailers and the ratings and reviews of other children.

After the children have read a book / chapter, they return to MyBB for support through the story. They blog their thoughts and feelings, grow their vocabulary, explore book- related non-fiction, and collect jokes and cards as they read.

Children take part in regular MyBookBlog sessions. These sessions consist of the above MyBookBlog features plus a weekly focus on comprehension strategies, using the Sheena Cameron resources and the opportunity to answer questions which use the PiXL question stems to support access to a variety of questioning techniques.

Home Reading

As an integral part of our Home Learning Policy, children will be expected to take home two reading books each week.

Monday-Wednesday children will read an appropriately levelled reading book.

Thursday-Sunday children will read a Read Write Inc. book studied that week; in which children should be able to read fluently and independently (for children in Read Write Inc).


Milestone 1
(Year 1 & Year 2)

Milestone 2
(Year 3 & Year 4)

Milestone 3
(Year 5 & Year 6)

To read words accurately

• Apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words.

• Respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes.

• Read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught.

• Read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word.

• Read words containing taught GPCs and –s, –es, –ing, –ed, –er and –est endings.

• Read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs.

• Read words with contractions (for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll) and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s).

• Read aloud accurately books that are consistent with phonic knowledge and that do not require other strategies to work out words.

• Re-read these books to build up fluency and confidence in word reading.

• Read accurately by blending the sounds in words that contain the graphemes taught so far, especially recognising alternative sounds for graphemes.

• Read accurately words of two or more syllables that contain the same graphemes as above.

• Read words containing common suffixes.

• Read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word.

• Read most words quickly and accurately, without overt sounding and blending, when they have been frequently encountered.

• Read aloud books closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation.

• Re-read books to build up fluency and confidence in word reading.

• Apply a growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology). 

• Read further exception words, noting the spellings.

• Apply knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes. 

(Note: this should be through normal reading rather than direct teaching.)

To understand texts

• Discuss events.

• Predict events.

• Link reading to own experience.

• Join in with stories or poems.

• Check that reading makes sense and self-correct.

• Infer what characters are like from actions. 

• Ask and answer questions about texts.

• Discuss favourite words and phrases.

• Listen to and discuss a wide range of texts.

• Recognise and join in with (including role-play) recurring language.

• Explain and discuss understanding of texts. 

• Discuss the significance of the title and events.

• Make inferences on the basis of what is being said and done.

• Draw inferences from reading.

• Predict from details stated and implied.

• Recall and summarise main ideas.

• Discuss words and phrases that capture the imagination.

• Retrieve and record information from non-fiction, using titles, headings, sub-headings and indexes.

• Prepare poems and plays to read aloud with expression, volume, tone and intonation.

• Identify recurring themes and elements of different stories (e.g. good triumphing over evil).

• Recognise some different forms of poetry.

• Explain and discuss understanding of reading, maintaining focus on the topic.

• Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence.

• Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

• Identify main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarise these.

• Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.

• Ask questions to improve understanding of a text.

• Recommend books to peers, giving reasons for choices.

• Identify and discuss themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing.

• Make comparisons within and across books.

• Learn a wide range of poetry by heart.

• Prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience.

• Check that the book makes sense, discussing understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context.

• Ask questions to improve understanding.

• Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence.

• Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

• Summarise the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas.

• Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.

• Discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader.

• Retrieve and record information from non-fiction.

• Participate in discussion about books, taking turns and listening and responding to what others say.