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Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

We are readers...



At Heartwood Primary School we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading. Reading is at the heart of everything that we do.

Reading is not just about teaching children to decode texts, it is also teaching comprehension; giving a deep understanding of the text so that reading is enjoyable and informative; helping them grow to be life long readers, essential for school, work and life.


We are proud that our English leader, Bex Starman, is a former Specialist Leader of Education for Literacy in the county and is currently a Literacy Specialist for the Wensum English hub, supporting other school's with their implementation of early reading.


How we teach Reading


Read Write Inc. is the school’s chosen Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme and children begin learning this from the beginning of Reception. We are part of the Wensum English Hub to ensure that we are always up to date and that our children are always making the best possible progress. Through the Read Write Inc. programme, children are taught to be fluent readers by teaching the skills systematically to decode texts (accuracy), teaching the skills to become quicker when reading (automaticity) and to also read with a storyteller’s voice (prosody). The Read Write Inc. programme also teaches children comprehension skills. Read Write Inc. is taught daily to all children who are not fluent readers. Please see the phonics page for more information about Read Write Inc.

We are proud to be working in partnership with the Wensum English Hub to ensure we continually have the largest positive impact on children's learning through the Read Write Inc. phonics.


Once children have completed the Read Write Inc. programme they have daily reading lessons which focus on vocabulary, comprehension skills, fluency and prosody. 


At Heartwood we use Destination Reader.



Destination Reader is a pedagogical based approach to teach reading through engaging in daily, structured lessons that support children to read with greater understanding, enjoyment and purpose. Destination Reader can be applied to all texts and involves using clear reading strategies to support comprehension and learning behaviours to support children in conversation.


We teach the reading strategies through carefully chosen texts that provoke an interest from the children. The EEF have found that this adds 6 months of progress  We want our children to be curious and captivated readers who automatically question, clarify, predict, use background knowledge and summarise as they read.


Reading throughout the day and across the curriculum


Every morning, the children in each class vote for the picture book that they would like to listen to whilst they eat their toast. Two age-appropriate books are carefully chosen by the class teacher for the class to vote on. On a Monday the books are both maths books, and for certain days, the books reflect the outside world, e.g., Remembrance Day. Teachers model all aspects of fluency and a love for reading daily.

Each class has a ‘class reader’ which teachers have carefully chosen from the school’s ‘reading spine’. Time for reading the class reader is a daily non-negotiable.


Every classroom has a ‘class library’ which has a range of fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, and comics in it, that include the children's interests, and choice. 


Teachers plan reading into lessons across the whole curriculum; this shows its value and importance in our school, gives children more exposure to different texts, gives children more practice of reading a range of texts and genres, gives children more practice at using their reading skills such as inference, and challenges able children by enhancing their learning.


Our school library is ever growing and we work collaboratively with the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre and an independent local book shop, Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, to ensure that the books we own are inspiring, cater for our children’s interests, widen our children’s interests and are books where children can see themselves as characters. Our school library includes all the books from ‘No Outsiders’ which encourages children to explore identities, focus on diversity and embrace difference.

Link to Reading and Poetry Spine



Congratulations to our Years 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 children who earnt their Blue Peter Book Badge. We are proud of each and every one of them for reading for pleasure. Click on the link to see where the children with a badge can now get in for free (until they are 16) 



During a half term holiday we created a reading trail for our children around Swaffham, with the help of local shops. All children who entered received a prize and one child from each class received one of the recommended books.


During the Christmas holidays staff recorded themselves reading their favourite Christmas stories and uploaded them to Heartwood's Facebook page.


Children meet with authors annually (in person or virtually) to promote reading and reading for pleasure.

This World Book Day we welcomed the author Nigel Lungenmuss-Ward. Take a look at our Reading Ambassadors with Nigel in our school library.



We asked our children what their favourite part of World Book Day was:

"My favourite part was editing my writing with Nigel."

"I liked hearing 'Freddie's impossible dream' and thinking of my dream."

"I liked being creative."

"I liked writing a story."

"My favourite part was sitting next to Nigel at lunch."


Take a look at what Nigel Lungenmuss-Ward thought about his day at Heartwood:



If a school trip is based in Norwich, the class may also visit ‘Bookbugs and Dragon Tales’ for time to look at books and a book activity. Classes visit our local library to explore and borrow books.


Southbank Centre

Each year, our Year 4 children work collaboratively with the Southbank Centre in London to write a chapter of a published book with well known authors and illustrators. In 2022 they wrote 'Mayhem at the Museum' and in 2023 they wrote 'Rewilding Dream'. This year our Year 4 have started to write their part for 'Snorehampton goes SPLAT!'




Making a Difference

Through teaching the children to be readers we are equipping them with the knowledge, skills and vocabulary to be lifelong learners who can read to acquire knowledge, evaluate and reflect, and communicate to others.

Through the endless world of reading texts, journals, evidence and reports for example, children can learn about their impact as citizens locally and globally and how they can make a difference through social advocacy. 

An excitement for reading promotes the love to find out more, learn more about specific causes and also how to read aa hobby for wellbeing whilst absorbing progressive and adventurous vocabulary!

There is a vast amount of research which supports our view to promote reading for pleasure and a true love for reading:

Sullivan and Brown (2013) found that Reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.

Billington (2015) found that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. 


EYFS and National Curriculum

Reading Progression Map

Spirituality in Reading at Heartwood

Reading Ambassadors


The Reading Ambassadors at Heartwood are advocates for Reading for Pleasure. They have come to Bookbugs and Dragontales book shop in Norwich to help choose books for our school library. Our reading ambassadors recommend books in the school library, and help children in their own classes to select books to read. They also help to organise the school libraries and keep them tidy.



Two of our Reading Ambassadors chatting about which books to recommend this month, with a hot chocolate and a biscuit.



World Book Day 2024 - Read your Way!



We love Reading!

At Heartwood we believe every child will love reading. If they don't love reading yet, they just haven't found they right book. Staff at Heartwood will always take the time to recommend books to children to help them on their reading for pleasure journey.


The Heart of Heartwood- the library

We have strong partnerships with the Wensum English Hub- look at our beautiful school featured in their newsletter!

Online Links

CBeebies Bedtime Stories

Audiobooks (free)

Picture books read to children

Nursery Rhymes


Some of the books from our reading spine read aloud (as these are from YouTube please watch with your child and be aware that there are adverts at the beginning):


Dear Zoo

We're Going on a Bear Hunt



Owl Babies

The Gruffalo


Year 1

The Tiger who came to Tea

The Family Book


Year 2

Traction Man is Here

Fantastic Mr Fox


Year 3

The Proudest Blue

Malala's Magic Pencil


Year 4

Charlotte's Web

Voices in the Park


Year 5

Last Stop on Market Street

The Pebble in my Pocket


Year 6

Julian is a Mermaid

Street Child