At Ark St Alban’s Academy, every teacher is a teacher of reading.  

Our approach recognises that guiding all pupils to be increasingly confident and fluent readers will lead to their ever greater success across the curriculum.  


Pupil progress in reading is measured at the start and at the end of each academic year using a standardised and adaptive assessment. These assessments provide insight into the progress made by pupils as well as suggested teaching and learning strategies.  

The reading ages produced by these assessments are used to place pupils into one of two cohorts, each with its own goal: 

  • Keep-Up Cohort: our aim for pupils reading at their chronological age is that they at least maintain this by making twelve months progress each year  
  • Catch-Up Cohort: our aim for all children reading below their chronological age is that they reach their chronological age as quickly as possible by making at least fifteen months progress each year   

Our combination of universal approaches and targeted approaches outlined below, also recognises that our pupils join the school at different stages of their reading development.  

As a result, our strategy includes approaches that address a range of  needs including phonics & fluency, vocabulary development and verbal & written comprehension.

Universal Approaches  

There are three universal approaches which our reading strategy is built around: 

  • Academic Reading: providing frequent opportunities for pupils to read challenging texts in lessons across the curriculum 
  • Signature Strategies: explicitly teaching all pupils common approaches to successfully reading challenging texts 
  • Accelerated Reader: all pupils have access to the Accelerated Reader platform, as well as class libraries and MyOn 

Targeted Approaches 

All pupils currently reading two-years or more below their chronological age, take part in reading intervention. 

Many other pupils reading below their chronological age also take part in reading intervention which usually involves one or more of the following: 

  • Lexia: alongside in-person tuition, Lexia provides an online, adaptive platform which guides pupils in progressing through the building blocks of reading 
  • Fresh-start Phonics: this small group, and often one-to-one intervention, guides pupils in making rapid progress in a number of areas, and especially in decoding 
  • SRA Reading Labs: similarly to Fresh-start Phonics, SRA Reading Labs provides a personalised reading curriculum which guides pupils to making progress in reading from a range of starting points