Teaching of Reading Overview

What are the key principles and research behind the Teaching of Reading at Mayflower Community Academy?

The key principles behind how reading is taught at Mayflower Community Academy is based on the “Reading Rope” by Scarborough, H. S. (2001). We recognise that although there are many strands of teaching reading, a true reader is not an independent, fluent and confident reader unless all the strands are combined. Pupils must able to decode, comprehend, read with pace and fluency, but also use their imaginations to explore the wonders of reading and transfer reading in the classroom, into reading for information, knowledge, skills and pleasure, being able to adapt any form of reading for the real world.

Each class from Nursery through to Year Six, have daily, structured Teaching of Reading (TofR) sessions. The sessions are whole class based, as opposed to guided group sessions.

Sessions last between 30 and 45 minutes as appropriate for the respective age group.

Every child in the class is part of the session and all classroom teaching staff are involved in teaching and supporting the sessions. Lessons are based around a range of texts and genres, providing even coverage of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Digital Literacies.

Pupils are benchmarked every six weeks, from the average of class reading ages, teachers choose texts which will be of instructional level of reading for the pupils in their class. Pupils who are identified as below age related in reading, will participate in the whole class lessons, but will receive highly personalised interventions through the identification of needs from a Diagnostic Reading Assessment.

Lesson Structure


Every Teaching of Reading lesson begins with the pupils reading vocabulary lists. These are a combination of High Frequency Words (HFWs), Common Exception Words (CEWs) or project led, tiered vocabulary.

Click on the word list below to watch an example of chanting and vocabulary discussion.

Reading of Texts

Every Teaching of Reading lesson involves some reading of high quality texts. A range of evidence based reading strategies are used throughout the lessons. Here are some of the strategies that you would see in a typical lesson.

Spot Check


Capture the Mood


Control the Game


Teachers as readers is of great importance to us. We expect our teachers to read with passion, verve and enjoyment- to be a true reading role model to the pupils.


Knowledge Organisers

We understand that without background, secondary knowledge, pupils will struggle to understand and comprehend the meaning of many texts. Therefore, Years One to Six have produced knowledge organisers to be used as a tool supporting the Teaching of Reading. Each Knowledge Organiser differs across the year groups, but must contain key vocabulary and definitions, influences that affected the author and some background knowledge supporting the genre. Supplementary secondary knowledge is supported by the use of high quality project based learning texts that can be found in the classroom. Every class has a minimum of 25 secondary learning texts, as well as allocated e-books using our online reading scheme, Bug Club.

Graphic Schemas

Throughout the Teaching of Reading sessions, the pupils add their new learning to their own graphic schema. At the end of each lesson, pupils trace their graphic schema to articulate their learning. At the beginning of the next lesson, pupils trace their graphic schema with their finger as they retrieve the information to share with a peer. This is an opportunity to discuss pupil learning, make links to previous learning and supplement with secondary reading.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading comprehension is specifically taught using the Mayflower Reading Strategies. These strategies are introduced with immersion in Year One, with the browsing, skimming and scanning, finding key information, underlining lining and transferring the information. These strategies are imbedded throughout the Academy and are finally used to support the statutory testing in Year Six, giving the pupils secure knowledge of how to access reading comprehension papers in their secondary years.


Any pupil that has difficulty with reading will be assessed using the Mayflower Diagnostic Reading Assessment. This tells us which areas the pupil may need further support with, to become a proficient, confident reader.

Every pupil is assessed termly for reading progress (EYFS, Key Stage One and any pupil who needs support with phonics and reading will be assessed every six weeks). We use the benchmarking scheme produced by Bug Club to assess pupils.

Pupils who need extra support with their phonics or reading, will be an urgent priority. We use high quality small group or 1-1 evidence based interventions.

Reading comprehension strategies