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West Wycombe School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust



The Masked Reader 2024


“Reading is a window into a new world.”

Lynn Butler



At West Wycombe, we believe that all children should be actively encouraged to develop a love of reading to lead them onto a path of ‘lifetime reading’. It is a core educational entitlement in our curriculum offer that every child at West Wycombe is exposed to a wide range of texts, experiences and reading opportunities to ensure that the application of reading skills is embedded.


We endeavour to prepare children for their transition to secondary school by ensuring they can access a wide range of texts, thus supporting them to be successful, life-long learners. We aim to challenge each child by delivering an engaging, enriching curriculum which ignites a passion for reading, fosters a love of language and provides an opportunity for imagination to flourish.



It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence. Skilled word reading involves working out the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and recognising familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Therefore, this is why we prioritise phonics in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.


As children progress and become fluent readers and move away from decodable books, they become free readers. Free readers in Key Stage Two have daily whole-class reading lessons. Three of these lessons are about a novel; one focused on a small text the class read together; answer questions similar to their end-of-term reading assessments. The final lesson of the week focuses on non-fiction and poetry. We use ‘VIPERS’.


At the start of every Guided Reading lesson, vocabulary is the main focus as the children discuss words that will come up in the weekly reading. Teachers use pictures to help the children understand new, challenging vocabulary.


Our teachers believe that by exposing children to new vocabulary, a visual prompt shows them the meaning. We have found that using images supports our learners with Special Educational Needs and those for whom English is an Additional Language.


Every week, each class visits the school library to change their books, explore the range of genres and grow their passion for reading. Each classroom also has a bookshelf of high-quality texts for the children to read. All teachers have a book basket where we have carefully chosen books that we share with the children within the school. Children can borrow books and share them with friends. Our teachers believe their baskets should include books with diverse characters written by authors from diverse backgrounds; about inspiring people from all walks of life. At West Wycombe, we believe that books teach empathy. 


Every child reads aloud through a mix of 1:1 reads with an adult and phonics-related reading sessions in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, and through 1:1 reads with an adult and in Guided Reading in Key Stage 2.


We use ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds’ decodable books for both the reading sessions and home reading in Reception and Key Stage 1. (Please find further information on the separate Phonics page of the website). Within Key Stage 1, we have Reading mornings when we invite parents to read with the children. 


In Key Stage 2, we use the Big Cat Collins reading scheme to challenge children to read at the most appropriate level; they begin when they are fluent in Phase 5 Phonics and complete when they become fluent free readers. We use the ‘Big Cat Collins Assessment for Fluency’ tool every half term. 


Each class has a picture book or class novel the teacher reads every day to expose the children to rich vocabulary and sophisticated structures; we aim to encourage children’s enjoyment of books and to encourage them to read for pleasure. Through our PiXL assessments, within Key Stage 2, we can identify children’s gaps within their learning and plan lessons accordingly. 


Our bespoke English curriculum further complements our reading lessons, exposing the children to high-level texts and vocabulary. Reading is celebrated through whole-school events such as World Book Day.



We achieve high outcomes in Reading at the end of both key stages; our children make good progress during their time at West Wycombe which is evident within the results we have achieved.


At the end of Key Stage 2 in 2022, 88% of our Year 6 pupils achieved the expected standard in Reading, with 21% achieving greater depth standards. Our boys achieved 89% of our boys achieved the expected standard, 83% of our girls achieved the expected standard and 83% of our children who are new to the English language achieved the expected standard. We expect to achieve similar results this year because of the high standard of teaching reading in Key Stage 2. At West Wycombe, we have high expectations of all pupils and believe that every child will leave our school with new skills, knowledge and a love for reading.



What our children have said:

"We read every day. Guided Reading is fun because we read and answer questions our teacher has made for us. Our teacher loves reading and that means we love reading too. Reading lessons are amazing." 

Adam Year 5

Page last updated: 27/04/24