Our aim is to ensure that all pupils with SEMH needs are able to read fluently and with comprehension. We believe that all pupils can learn to read, regardless of their background or abilities. We believe that reading has a fundamental place in education and underpins all other subjects across the curriculum. Staff use a specific part of the planning framework to detail how they will promote reading in their lessons and this is also monitored during Learning Walks undertaken by Senior/HoD staff throughout the year. Through reading at Shenstone, we aim to:

Develop Literacy Skills: The primary aim of reading in school is to develop and enhance students' literacy skills. Reading plays a crucial role in improving vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and critical thinking abilities.

Promote Well-being: Reading fosters emotional well-being and provides an avenue for students to explore different worlds, experiences, and perspectives. It can offer comfort, empathy, and a means of escape, contributing to students' overall mental health.

Enhance Communication: Reading enables students to communicate effectively, express their thoughts, and articulate ideas with clarity and confidence. It aids in developing strong verbal and written communication skills, which are vital for academic success and future opportunities.

Encourage Independent Learning: Reading encourages independent learning by empowering students to acquire knowledge beyond the classroom. It cultivates curiosity, self-motivation, and a lifelong love for learning, enabling students to become independent thinkers and problem solvers

Specific information regarding our Phonics Reading Schemes can be found in our Reading Policy. 

Our Shensone Lodge Library



The Importance of Reading

Reading is a foundation skill upon which all other academic subjects depend; without the ability to read, students would struggle with virtually every school subject. Reading enhances vocabulary, comprehension and language skills.

Exposure to a wide range of texts and genres enables students to develop their ability to communicate effectively, both in writing and verbally.

Reading also encourages critical thinking and analysis. When students read, they are exposed to different ideas, perspectives and viewpoints.

They learn to evaluate and compare information, make inferences and draw conclusions. Cognitive development is stimulated by reading. It challenges the brain, improves concentration and enhances memory. It also helps students to develop problem-solving skills and creative thinking.

Reading is a fundamental life skill, essential for daily tasks, and a gateway to knowledge, critical thinking and personal development.

Fluent reading is a skill that empowers students to succeed academically and thrive in their future careers and personal lives.

Therefore, we prioritise and foster a love of reading across our primary and secondary sites.



At Shenstone Lodge, our children are baselined on arrival using RWI Phonics and Schonell Reading test. Based on their Phonics knowledge and Reading age, the children are set across the whole school for their Reading session which takes place daily at 9.40am – 10.10am. Phonics groups are taught by teachers and teaching assistants in small groups usually no larger than 4. The Phonics groups are assessed half-termly, and re-organised by what progress the children have made.

Reading groups are assessed every term. Reading groups are planned following a skills focused approach. Books are chosen based on the group of children they have at that time, the skills, however, focus on prediction, inference, discussion, retrieval, comprehension and summarising. This happens over a period of 12 weeks before the children are re-assessed.

All children are encouraged to read at home each evening. Phonics groups have appropriately colour coded set books which are sent home on a Monday and returned on a Thursday with a list of red words, green words and tricky words for children to read at home.

Children who access a Reading group have the option of taking a library book home or using BugClub – our online Reading portal which offers thousands of books at an age appropriate level. Teachers are able to set books for the children based on their Reading age. Reading records are also encouraged to be sent back to school to support the communication between home and school.

Each classroom has their own Reading/Phonics area which has been tailored to the children’s interests. They all display the book/Phonics sound the children are focusing on, a display of work, a range of books and some comfy seating that the children have chosen.



At our secondary school, The Brades Lodge, a focus on the importance of reading is maintained and built upon.

The reading age of students is ascertained termly using the Schonell reading test system.

This information determines which Reading Group students are placed in for their 25-minute daily reading session, which takes place at 9.05-9.30am.

Students have access to a range of reading materials, which are available in our mini-library areas as well as myON, an online reading platform that contains thousands of books across a whole spectrum of genres and interests. We encourage students to access this from home, using their personal log in details that they have been provided with at school, and using the following link:


For readers who require further support as their reading age is significantly below their chronological age, we provide specialist 1:1 intervention during the reading session. The Read, Write Inc. ‘Fresh Start’ programme is followed, a systematic synthetic phonics programme to accelerate progress for struggling older readers. Every day, students learn new letter-sounds and review previous sounds and words. They apply what they have been taught by reading words containing the sounds they know in lively, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts that are closely matched to their increasing phonic knowledge. By the end of the programme, they will be able to read these accurately and fluently. Students’ phonic knowledge is assessed before they start the programme, and then every half term in order to monitor progress.


At The Brades Lodge, the importance of reading is reinforced using a specific reading focus in every lesson, which subject leaders build into the planning for each subject.           

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